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Korean han-ji dak paper dolls
Photo: Sandy Peters
Korean paper dolls made of a special handmade Korean paper called Han-Ji

Hyun-Joo Kim from Korea first explains how Han-Ji paper is made and how the dolls are made from this paper. Then she shows us photos of the beautiful Han-Ji paper dolls made by her friend's mom.

Korean Han-Ji Dak Paper Doll Craft

Hyun-Joo Kim from Korea


Hyun-Joo Kim shows Han-Ji doll craft
All photos: Sandy Peters
Han-Ji paper is extremely soft like cotton, but it's tough. Our ancestors used it for various things; many kinds of Han-Ji crafts, artwork, dolls and house wares are made of this paper.

Korean han-ji dak paper dolls
Here are three beautiful Dak paper dolls that my friend's mom made .

Korean han-ji dak paper dolls
It usually takes a month to finish making a doll completely. Bigger ones sometimes take three or four months.

 

In Korea, we have a special paper called Han-Ji that is made by hand and is dyed with natural materials. It requires a lot of time to make Han-Ji; it has to go through a ten-step process.

First, you have to boil material which is made mostly made from the Dak tree. Then, you have to wash it and expose it to the sun. Next you have to beat it and dissolve it in water.

After that, you need to strain it through a special net to take out the water. Then you dry it and trim it.

Han-Ji paper is extremely soft like cotton, but it's tough. Our ancestors used it for various things; many kinds of Han-Ji crafts, artwork, dolls and house wares are made of this paper.

The Dak paper doll craft is especially interesting. Han-Ji is made of the Dak tree, so we say Dak meaning Han-Ji when we describe this craft.

It is not difficult to make a Dak paper doll, but it requires much time and effort to make one. First, you have to make a frame for the doll's body; the frame is made of wire.

Next, the frame is bound with Han-Ji which is cut into tape. We have to paste the Han-Ji on the doll little by little, very carefully, thinking about the mass of the doll. Then the body is shaped with dyed Han-Ji to match with the skin. Finally, the doll is dressed in paper clothes.

Whenever I visit my friend, I see beautiful Dak paper dolls made by her mom. About two years ago, her mom and her mom's friends who also make these dolls held exhibitions. Most of the dolls they make express something about childhood in Korea.

It usually takes them a month to finish making a doll completely. Bigger ones sometimes take three or four months. After they have spent all that time making the dolls, they often get attached to them; they are like their children.

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