Folding a matryoshka, with added die cuts

Chapter: DIY + tips and tricks   Series: Paper dolls

This project was meant to be shared probably more than a year ago but I never found the right moment/mood to start documenting the steps. But finally I found it and have prepared the how-tos on this post. Hope you’ll enjoy making and sharing matryoshka. The die cuts were added recently now that I own a die cutting machine and dies that fit the doll’s dressing perfectly.

On these dolls I used a 1.65″ circle die cut for their heads, and an assortment of small die cuts to decorate the dolls’ body, and also roped in a piece of doily too!


  1. Prepare a rectangle piece of paper. I use half a piece of A4.
  2. Pinch (and not fold to avoid a prominent crease line) it in half.
  3. Unfold.
  4. Fold the edge up to the middle.
  5. Repeat with opposite side.
  6. Fold it half breath-wise.
  7. Unfold.
  8. Fold one edge to the half crease.
  9. Unfold to reveal the quarter crease.
  10. Turn over.
  11. Bring quarter crease to meet the middle crease.
  12. Rotate 90° clockwise. The head is taking shape now.
  13. Then turn over.
  14. From the bottom edge, fold up about 1.5″.
  15. Unfold to reveal crease.
  16. Fold up the bottom edge again to meet the 1.5″ crease. Unfold.
  17. Rotate 90° anti-clockwise. Identify points A and B.

  18. Line a ruler at points A and point B. Take note of how it’s aligned.
  19. With the ruler as a guide, fold up the edge along the ruler. Flatten a triangular flap that opens upward along the way.
    TIP — The wider the width of the ruler the smaller the fold will be, that means the plumper the doll will look.
  20. Repeat on other side.
  21. Turn over. Rotate as shown
  22. On each corner of the head, make a fold behind. You can also snip it off. This completes the head.
  23. Turn over. From the bottom edge fold up to the 1-1/2″ crease.
  24. Fold up two triangles from each opposite end.
  25. Turn over. This essentially completes the doll. The next few steps are optional for they are just an alternative for step 24.
  26. Unfold the triangular folds from step 24.
  27. Lift and hold on to the whole flap.
  28. Then fold it down and carefully align with the middle “spine” of the matryoshka, then flatten.
  29. Repeat on other side.


As you may have noticed, not a die cutting project goes pass without me die cutting from polypropylene (cut down from shopping bags). I used it for the hearts, ribbon bow, then used the interior pieces of the bow as well to form a leaf-like pattern. Before die cutting with this material I always stick a piece of double-side adhesive to make adhering later easier. On some of the die cut flowers (seen previously) I had used a hole puncher on the leftover polypropylene and then adhered the tiny circle onto the centre of the flower.

After colouring each head, I used a white gel pen to add a faint hairline parting, then trimmed part of the head away so that they don’t look overly round and adhered with a tape runner. All the bitsy paper flower and heart die cuts were adhered down with a glue pen. For that piece of doily (a happy buy from a grocery store), it was slipped under the head with a tape runner. And the lilac heart you see ia a die cut foam sticker.

There’s much room to decorate on these dolls with hand drawings and/or other embellishments.

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