How to Make Custom Clothing for Barbie With Wallpaper (Pattern Included!)
How to Make Barbie Clothes From Wallpaper
Let's bring Barbie back to the basics!
Originally, Ruth Handler designed the Barbie doll after seeing her daughter and her friends spend hours playing with paper dolls. Now, Barbie has changed over the years, but she is still a clotheshorse. And those outfits can cost an arm and a leg. Save money and fill up her closet with glamorous clothing made for practically nothing by using wallpaper!
Wallpaper is not fabric. It doesn’t behave like fabric, fall or drape like fabric, fold or pleat like fabric, or catch the breeze and show movement. So you have to think accordingly. My favorite tv show, Project Runway, would call this an “unconventional challenge.” Let’s get to it and show them what we can do!
You may be thinking to yourself, “What is the purpose of paper clothing versus fabric clothing?” Well, this project is especially friendly for those of us without sewing skills or a lot of money to throw on doll clothes. It’s also perfect for kids. Also, does that fancy wedding gown allow your doll to balance on her tiny feet without a specialized doll stand? I didn’t think so. Now, let's get started!
What You'll Need
- Wallpaper (various colors and designs)
- Cardstock (to print the pattern)
- Velcro Strips
- Masking Tape
- Printer (to print the pattern)
- Glue Gun
Barbie Paper Clothing Patterns
- Choose one or more sheets from your wallpaper book. Mix and match patterns for stylish looks. You can often find the same pattern in several colors as well as complementary-colored papers by section.
- For stronger “material,” line the back or edges of the paper with masking tape before you trace the pattern. It will help give better body and grip to the paper, allowing it to wrap nicely without ripping. Alternatively, choose a heavier fabric-backed vinyl wallpaper sample instead of plain paper.
- Print the patterns. Glue or otherwise attach the patterns to the cardstock. Cut through both layers (an adult should do this step). For the skirt, poke holes through the pattern so you can see where to draw the points on the wallpaper. You are now ready to trace, mark your points, and use it!
- Trace the chosen pattern on the back of the wallpaper and cut it out.
- With the back of the material facing you, un-stick your Velcro and affix it at the waist close to its edge (with the top and bottom pieces of Velcro still stuck together). Then, wrap the article of clothing around the doll and press the other side of the closure onto it. Otherwise, you can fit the doll first and then affix your closures. The basic strapless top and the mini- and mid-thigh length skirts will only require one piece of Velcro, while longer skirts will require two or three small pieces down the back.
- Add whatever type of trim your heart desires, or none at all.
- Dress your Barbie, and have a blast!
About the Paper Patterns
These patterns will fit the original Barbies with a Twist 'n' Turn waist. With their 100 poses and multiple points of articulation, the Barbie Fashionista dolls are well-done. However, their long torsos and thrust-able chest pieces will require you to cut a slightly different pattern to make it fit optimally.
How to Make Your Barbie Clothes Fancy
There are many ways to make your one-of-a-kind Barbie clothes even more special:
- Employ patterned craft scissors for special edging on the hemline.
- Glue ribbons down the back for a romantic look.
- Add some lace peeking out underneath the skirt for an old-fashioned look.
- Any shiny paper is ideal for mod styling.
- Go space-age with metallic paper.
- Use curling ribbon or curl thin pieces of wallpaper to make a cute belt or trailing train.
- Cut around a pattern on the paper for a creative bodice or hem.
- Feathers on the bodice or edging the skirt provide a samba-style party look.
- Cut tulle, crinkle it, and glue it to the skirt for a fuller, fluffy bottom.
- Cut a headband or hairpiece, clutch purse (cut and fold a small piece of wallpaper, glue in place), "boots" (wrap Barbie's legs), belt, or bracelet for the perfect accessory.
- Cut the waistline of the bodice higher for a bikini top.
- Add straps made of wallpaper or ribbon (spaghetti or wider, single shoulder, criss-cross, or halter style) for a different look.
Glue thin ribbons to the top corners of the skirt, cut a small slit in the paper, and slide one ribbon through and tie it in order to form a wrap skirt.
How to Choose Your Supplies
- Wallpaper: Befriend your local paint store owners or designers for outdated books. Don’t be shy—just ask if they have any books they’re getting rid of. Choose a wallpaper with backing or “webbing” on the back since you don’t want your “material” to rip.
- Masking Tape: If your wallpaper tends to rip, line the back with masking tape. Masking tape will give a little “stretch” to your wallpaper, especially if you plan to cut darts in your design.
- Clear Tape or Velcro: Choose tape if you plan to use the outfits one or two times. Use peel-and-stick Velcro if you want to keep the outfit for a while or use them as inspiration. Velcro comes in many forms: squares, strips, rolls, or dots. Small dots are ideal for this project, but they tend to be expensive. Try buying it in a different form (whatever is on sale) and cut it to the right size. For example, snip squares horizontally and vertically to get four or more pieces of Velcro out of one piece.
- Pencil: Use this for marking.
- Scissors: Get two pairs of scissors, a large one for long cuts and a small one for cutting darts and trims. Choose sharp scissors if possible—safety scissors will not do the job as well.
- Trims: Ribbon; fringe; fur, leather, or feathers (faux or real); or rhinestones and small buttons.
- Glue Gun: Use glue to add your trims to the wallpaper or to add straps to the top.
- Imagination: These outfits don’t have to wearable in real life, so be sure to think outside the box!