Fall into the world of Dakpaper dolls in Bukchon Hanok Village!!

Dakpaper is Korean traditional paper made from Korean Mulberry trees named Dak-namu (namu means tree.) Since the texture of the dakpaper is soft yet strong, people have used the paper to make handicrafts. One of them is dakpaper doll. Dakpaper dolls usually give a warm feeling due to its texture. Jaebin H went to Cho Kyung-Wha workshop and made a pretty doll out of dakpaper. Let’s hear how much she enjoyed this activity!

Cho Kyung-wha Dakpaper Doll Workshop

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I had an experience of making paper art using Hanji, traditional Korean paper made from mulberry trees, at Cho Kyung-Wha Dakpaper Doll Workshop! To get there, you have to get off at Anguk station (Line 3) and go to exit 3.

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After you take exit 3, go straight. Very soon, you can see a corner.

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Turn left at the first corner. You have to go straight for a while until you see a school in front of you. Below are what you will see on your way to the place. The street was so lively with lovers, tourists, students, and businessmen. The street felt so unique because I could see both modern and traditional parts of Korea at the same time. In fact, it is a part of the Bukchon Hanok village. You can see some traditional Korean houses, Hanok. They were so beautiful that I stopped walking and took a bunch of pictures! There were also many good cafes, restaurants and shops selling souvenirs, so even though I had to walk for a while, I really enjoyed it.

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When you see this high school, turn right. Then walk up a hill.

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And soon, you will see these signs on your right side. Be careful not to miss these signs. You have to turn right at here again, and walk through the alley.

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Go straight and turn right again then you will see this place!!

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When I got there, a group of people were already in the middle of making the paper doll. So I had to wait a little until they were done. I looked around the place and took some pictures. The place was quite small, yet it was really beautiful.

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As I waited, my turn had come finally. Since I was there alone, the teacher gave me a one on one instruction. The instructor who was assumed to be Cho-kyung wha was really kind and friendly. When you go into the room to start making paper art, you can see some of her art works like these. They were really amazing! When I saw her works, I began to wonder what’s inside of those art works, so I asked her.

Her answer was astonishing. There’s only tiny thin wire inside and she wrapped it with hundreds sheets of paper (Hanji) over and over again which took her about 7 to 8 months. What’s more astonishing was that she didn’t use any scissors or box cutters, and every art work was done only by tearing paper. I liked the way she was proud of Hanji and her works.

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What I did was dressing up a female doll in Hanbok (Tradition Korean clothes.) Before you start, you have to choose the color of the clothes. The color of the skirt is all the same (red), and what you have to choose is the color of the jacket. I chose the yellow one!

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This is the flour paste she made by herself. She said that it’s very eco-friendly.

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This red paper here will be the skirt. You have to put it down on a white board and glue the edges of the paper with a brush. Then you have to dress up the doll with the skirt. You have to paste the skirt while folding it little by little to express the creases of the skirt.

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After this, you have to fold the paper of the color you choose for the jacket. She told me very kindly how to fold the paper and where to tear it. As I already mentioned above, you have to do it without scissors. Hanji was stronger than I thought, so you may need to use some strength to tear it. After that, you have to do some detail works, such as pasting a collar, tie, hair, hairband and sleeves.

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You can choose the way you glue the hair, either on the back of the doll’s head or little bit more to the side so that you can see from the front as well. I chose the latter one. Lastly, you have to paste a flower accessory on the hairband. You can place it wherever you want as long as it is on the band.

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When you finish everything, she will give you time to take pictures with the doll you completed. There are some of her other works outside the room as well. I placed mine on the front and took a picture.

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When you tell her that you are done, she will put your doll in a box like this, and you can carry it home safely.

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I had so much fun through this paper art experience!!!! You can truly find out how beautiful Korean traditional paper “Hanji” is. When you do all the works only by tearing and not using scissors, the doll will look so real and natural.

Especially pay attention to the hair part if you have a chance. It looked so real that I was very impressed!!! I think it would be also very nice to give this doll as a present to someone important to you with a letter written on the box. I’m very sure the person will be very touched.

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