The first year I did this, with the help of a volunteer we traced and cut out each child. This took days upon days to complete. (That volunteer is now a credentialed teacher at my school, for the record...but pink slipped.)
So now we start with these. They are intensely lightweight, but lining them with tagboard is more work than I can generally do at the end of the year. Instead I demand the kids carry them carefully and provide tape surgery as needed.
Anyway. The kids brainstorm, draft and edit an "autobiography" that covers several key issues (name, future career, something you like, something you can do, etc.). I publish these by typing them up and printing them in the child's favorite color. Then I paste them to the paper person's torso.
Other than the autobiography, the paper person is colored and given hair meant to match the child's own (although not with the detail of the Colors of Us project; that would take too long and too much paint). I have doll hair, yarn and chenille stems for the hair and multicultural crayons and colored pencils for the bodies...oh, and giant googly eyes for the eyes.
Then the kids get to dress their simulacra. I have a variety of tracing shapes for bottoms and jackets. The jackets are tricky because the kids trace it, then flip it over and trace it the other way (to get a left and right side). I have various cloth and felt remnants for the clothes and also some cardstock. The bottoms are pasted on, but we attach the jackets at the shoulder with brads so that it can be "opened" to read the autobiography.
After that, I let the kids loose with buttons and jewels and similar geegaws to decorate their clothes as they like. And then I hang the paper people in the cafeteria for the Promograduation.
These look great and the kids love making them and are always hot to take them home until they get forgotten in the Promograduation insanity. I take photos of the kids holding their person so that their eventual destruction doesn't bum me out (this is one of maybe two projects I get really attached to and feel bad about finding destroyed).