Updated November 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Best of the Best
Melissa & Doug Julia Magnetic Dress-up Wooden Doll Set
Melissa & Doug
Julia Magnetic Dress-up Wooden Doll Set
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Classic Appeal
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Melissa & Doug are ubiquitous with vintage toys, and this magnetic dress-up set is no exception.


These modern, heavy-duty wooden dolls maintain the vintage look you know. Eight outfits and 24 accessories to choose from. Comes in a handy, compact carrying case for trips and commutes. The durable design makes these a great first set for kids as young as 3.


The box has no lid.

Best Bang for the Buck
L.O.L. Surprise Stylin Studio Paper Dolls
Surprise Stylin Studio Paper Dolls
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Simple Yet Solid
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These popular paper dolls come with more than 250 accessories.


Surprise your child with this unpredictable set. Allows your kids to color their dolls with crayons, markers, and stickers. A great basic set of classic paper dolls with a modern look. It makes for a great stocking stuffer.


These are not as durable as other sets often are.

Story Magic Dress-Up Dolls Travel Playset
Story Magic
Dress-Up Dolls Travel Playset
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Tell a Story
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These vintage paper dolls have more than 80 outfits to try on.


This set is made for little storytellers to boost their creativity and act their ideas out. The set includes 3 magnetic sheets, a mini story maker, and a play scene case that holds 85 dress-up pieces. Magnetic sheets are durable and easy to apply.


Some buyers think the magnets are too weak.

Petit Collage Shine Bright Magnetic Dress Up At The Studio
Petit Collage
Shine Bright Magnetic Dress Up At The Studio
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Best for Beginners
Bottom Line

Great choice for on-the-go fun.


Features a fun art theme that encourages creativity. Comes with scenes for play and a wide variety of clothes and accessories. This set comes in a cute metal box that can double as a convenient storage place. A perfect item for travel and on-the-go play.


Can't really display the child's creations easily.

Disney Frozen Sparkling Paper Dolls
Disney Frozen
Sparkling Paper Dolls
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Customer Favorite
Bottom Line

Beloved characters and a lot of sparkling fun.


Box includes both Anna and Elsa dolls. This set includes some sparkly accessories. More than 25 clothing options are included. Great for children 3 years and older. Packaging can also serve as a storage box.


Some complaints of weak magnets.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best paper dolls

For centuries, paper dolls have been a favorite toy of children for their simplicity and customizability. Though many people think of the early twentieth century when they think of these toys, paper dolls remain popular and available in a variety of forms.

Originally made out of paper with folding tabs to stick pieces together, today’s paper dolls are also made of magnetic materials, vinyl, and stickers. Regardless of format, most dolls are designed to be reusable so you can dress them up again and again, mixing and matching the included clothing and accessories. As with traditional dolls, paper dolls come in a range of styles, sizes, poses, and characters, giving you or your child plenty of options.

Though paper dolls are almost always affordable, you should still consider your options carefully before buying a kit that will lead to hours of fun.

a woman supervising her children while they are playing
As with any toy, you should supervise young children playing with paper dolls, as they often include small parts that present a choking hazard.

How to buy the best paper dolls

Why paper dolls?

Compared with Barbie dolls or American Girl Dolls, paper dolls are affordable on almost any budget. They’re just as customizable, and it’s easier to create a set or background to display your creations against. In addition, many paper dolls are made with sustainable materials rather than plastic.

It’s easy to take paper dolls on the go by storing them in their original packaging or tucking them into a folder. Because of their naturally slim size, a large paper doll collection doesn’t take up that much space when put into storage.

Paper, magnets, stickers, or electrostatic vinyl?

In addition to the obvious choice, there are a few materials to choose from that come with advantages and disadvantages.

  • Paper is lightweight, affordable, and has a classic look. It’s easy to work with, and it’s fun to play with a toy that children and adults have enjoyed for centuries. Paper clothing and accessories have small tabs that fold back to attach to the doll’s body, so no glue or tape is required. In most cases, the paper dolls and accessories are pre-cut.
  • Magnetic dolls are one of the simplest options, with magnetic components that stick to one another and can easily be repositioned. The dolls themselves may be made of flexible rubber or sturdy wood with a magnetic layer. They can also stick to things like refrigerators or magnetic whiteboards. However, they’re slightly thicker and heavier than their paper counterparts.
  • Stickers are a familiar medium for little kids, and they can stick to almost any surface. Some stickers are reusable, though they may lose their adhesive quality over time. Other stickers are intended for one-time use.
  • Vinyl stickers, also called electrostatic vinyl stickers, use static electricity to cling to surfaces. However, they can have trouble sticking to one another, and they may curl or fold over time.
  • Printable paper dolls are the most affordable option (some are even free) if you have a home printer and allow you to choose which dolls and accessories you want to print. Some printable options include large selections of items and unique dolls. The quality and durability of the dolls depend on what type of paper you use.

Doll styles

Paper dolls come in a wide variety of styles, from modern characters to historical figures.

Realistic paper dolls usually have accurate proportions and clothing. Historic dolls can be a great way to educate children about specific time periods or regions of the world.

Dolls depicting popular characters or celebrities are a favorite of many children and have been a mainstay of paper dolls for decades. These are often more cartoonish and exaggerated in style, which can make them distinctive and charming. From Disney characters to classic stars, your child is likely to find a paper doll version of their favorite icons.

Animal paper dolls may depict classic animal characters and their wardrobes, or they may simply represent your child’s favorite animal with an adorable collection of clothes and accessories.

Number of dolls, clothing pieces, and accessories

As with any toy, the total number of components varies from set to set. Most important is the number of dolls, but also take note of the number and variety of clothing included. Most kits include around 30 to 80 pieces, but some may include as many as 600. The more clothing and accessories in a set, the more dress-up possibilities there are. Some dolls cannot be dressed up and come in a single outfit, though this is rare.

Doll size

Some paper dolls can be quite small, which may be difficult for tiny hands to work with. This is particularly true of paper options, due to their small folding tabs. If your child is very young or has difficulty with dexterity, look for larger dolls with sizable accessories.

Cutout vs. precut

Most kits come with dolls and accessories that are either precut or come on perforated paper so you can easily remove each item.

However, some kits come in a booklet and must be cut out. This can be time-consuming and there’s plenty of room for error, but if you’re up for the challenge, it can give you more ownership over your creations.

Unlike traditional dolls, paper dolls are less about playing and more about fashion. Because of their affordability, many kits come with a large number of clothing items.


Features of paper doll kits

Coloring paper dolls

If you or your child enjoy coloring, you can get a truly customizable experience with black-and-white paper dolls designed to be colored in. This can be time-consuming, but the result is a doll with a wardrobe that truly suits your taste and style.

Backgrounds and other accessories

The paper doll equivalent of dollhouses is backgrounds and settings, which allow you to put your costumed character into a variety of scenes. Paper doll versions of popular characters often include iconic settings to put the character against. For those who love to play pretend, this may be a must-have feature.

In addition to the variety of clothing in a set, make note of what accessories are included. Some kits include stickers for items like hats, bags, shoes, watches, and other items that add to the fun.

Stands and paper thickness

By the nature of their materials and two-dimensional designs, paper dolls are often a bit floppy and can’t stand up on their own. However, some sets feature dolls made of cardstock or chipboard that can be propped upright with a stand. This allows you to create three-dimensional scenes, or simply display your dolls on a shelf.

In addition, thicker paper or boards means a longer lifespan for your dolls if you will play with them often.


Because paper dolls can’t be repositioned like regular dolls, you’re stuck with whatever pose they come in. Many come in a simple upright pose with their hands by their sides, but others come in a variety of unique poses for an “in-action” look.

cut-out paper dolls
If your child likes paper dolls, consider making a paper doll version of them by having them pose for a photo and carefully cutting out the result.

How much do paper dolls cost?


The cheapest paper doll sets are those you can print, which start at around $2 and reach as high as $8. Some simple booklet paper dolls can also be found in this range, though they may not be precut. While these options require a bit more work, they’re a good budget option. If you opt for a printable set, bear in mind the cost of ink and paper in addition to the PDFs.


Most paper doll kits cost from $8 to $15 and include a variety of accessories and often multiple dolls. Many sets in this range also include backgrounds and may come in convenient carrying cases. Expect to find a variety of materials at this price point.


For $15 to $30 are vintage and collectible sets as well as robust sets including hundreds of items. For the paper doll enthusiast, the extra price is usually worth it, especially when you consider the cost per accessory in the kit.

Some paper dolls can be found in fashion and lifestyle magazines. While this used to be much more common, a few magazines still keep up the practice.



  • Support your dolls. Paper dolls can by floppy, especially their heads — simply gluing a craft stick to the back can prevent flopping and folding, though this only works with paper dolls.
  • Store dolls carefully. Use acid-free paper between dolls and accessories to avoid damaging the ink or paper. Store dolls out of sunlight.
  • Categorize your dolls if you have a large collection. Keep a document of what dolls you own and what accessories they came with. You can also make things easy on yourself by writing details of each piece on the back.
  • Display paper dolls in a frame. You can use your collection to decorate by framing them or hanging them in a shadow box. You can also laminate your dolls.
  • Use a utility knife to cut out dolls. If your dolls don’t come precut, a utility knife is a perfect tool to cut them out precisely.
paper dolls in different colors
Some classic paper dolls have become collectible items, and it’s possible that today’s dolls will too. Most of the time, collectible dolls are those portraying celebrities or popular characters.


Q. Can you glue clothing and accessories to paper dolls?

A. You can, but choose a glue that won’t cause the paper to wrinkle. Glue sticks usually work well and allow you to reposition items after they’re glued.

Q. Do paper dolls tear easily?

A. They do, but this is just a part of the hobby. You can avoid tears by handling dolls gently and by reinforcing them with craft sticks or by laminating them. They can be repaired by putting a bit of tape on the back side — just be sure to use acid-free tape.

Q. What scale do paper dolls come in?

A. Most paper dolls are on either a 1:6 or 1:12 scale. However, even when two sets have the same scale, clothing can rarely be mixed between the two due to the many different poses of dolls.


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