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DIY Wooden Peg Dolls – Mix & Match

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Get started crafting some DIY wooden peg dolls with a fun mix & match twist! Then go ahead and try some paper doll coloring pages too! This post contains affiliate links.


There’s nothing like a little crafting for self-expression, so when Woodpecker’s offered to send me a newly discovered combo for mix ‘n match DIY wooden peg dolls, I knew I had to give it a try!

And while these are designed for their separated body and face parts, to make a “dress-up doll” style craft, you can also use the tips, techniques, and ideas I share with standard pegs.

These DIY wooden peg dolls are made from smokestacks and dowel caps, for separate bodies and heads. To take it a step further, I made the hair mix & match-able too! If you want a tighter fit, go for the small size. If you want it looser (it won’t “hold” – it’ll be displayable rather than playable), go bigger.

Use code MOMSANDCRAFTERS for 5% off this and anything from Woodpeckers!

Make it normal or make it crazy – the choice is yours! Make a preppy private-schooler, a spiffed-up Jazz musician, or a sweet little girl…

I’m going to start by sharing it with you as an overview full of tips and information. Below it, you have a step-by-step tutorial and then you can scroll further for a printer-friendly version of the tutorial without images.

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What are peg dolls?

Peg dolls are, put simply, little figures made from wooden pegs. They’re typically one-piece, and painted to add detail and character.

They are a fun craft, and a cool DIY toy to make. Even more so, they’re a fabulous tool for when you need something more specific or themed. You can play these in a doll house, with any pretend play setup or toy, display them, use them in sensory bins and small world play, or just craft them for fun.

It can be quite a relaxing craft (hint: you DON’T need to load your paint palette up and start color mixing). But if you’re not up for it, or totally can’t draw – even cartoons – but you want some peg dolls, definitely hit up Etsy!

These peg dolls are made from unfinished smokestack wood turnings with dowel cap heads – Woodpecker’s Crafts brilliant innovation. You can get the kit here. The two-piece assembly means you can mix ‘n match, turning them into “dress up doll” peg dolls.

How to Make Wooden Peg Dolls

This tutorial uses the dress up doll kit to make DIY wooden peg dolls, however, you can follow the instructions for making peg dolls even with solid one-piece pegs.

How to Paint Peg Dolls

Of course, peg dolls can be painted with craft acrylics. However, why do that when you can get up close and personal and have much more control with paint markers?!

I highly recommend Uni Posca markers for this. This is a water based marker that lays down high-quality, rich, solid colors. The biggest drawback is that you can’t mix colors if you do need something more specific (such as skin tones).

So you can definitely have some acrylic paints handy for more specific colors, and for base coating your heads. I do, however, recommend mainly using paint markers. That’s what I used for my DIY dress up peg dolls.

Outlining your DIY wooden peg dolls with a black marker makes a huge difference! It allows your details to really show, and makes the whole thing cleaner. It also gives that cartoon-y vibe that’s just so playful!

How to Make Peg Doll Hair

While you can definitely simply draw on hair, why not make yarn hair?

While my hair is detachable, there’s no reason you can’t glue your hair right on!

My strategy for making peg doll hair is to treat it like pom pom making. Then, give each one a hair cut to suit the style you’re after. Tie it off in different places, make it thicker and thinner, cut bangs in the front. Some are tied horizontally, some are tied vertically.

By thinking of it as a “pom pom fail” – you know those pom poms that fall flat?! – you can really come up with some pretty cool peg doll wigs.

Mine are attached using hook and loop coins. You can simply glue it to the top (it’ll sit better that way – mine got a little wonky in places) or leave them interchangeable and be forgiving of imperfections.

You don’t even need to keep your peg doll hair realistic! Try it with blue or purple yarn too. Add accessories (such as buttons) if you’d like. Use embroidery floss for finer hair that’ll hang nicely, use textured yarn for kinky hair.

The possibilities are endless!

Peg Doll Faces

The peg doll faces were made from the dowel caps that came in the kit. Keep features simple, but don’t forget to add a few simple details, such as freckles or blush.

To paint different skin tones, you can use acrylic paints – just mix them to find your color. When using browns, keeping the tones warm will help you avoid “going gray”.

My faces were kept to two tones: the natural color of the wood and a lighter brown that came with the Uni Posca set that I had.

Uni Posca makes a “warm neutral” set with potential skin tones, however I’m not sure how much nuance and variety in skin tone it really has. Or, you can get an unknown brand and give it a go.

Brand DOES matter with paint markers. Cheap brands can have little ink, dry out quickly, have less opaque color, less color consistency – but you can also be surprised and get a good set. Read reviews thoroughly. Or just mix your own acrylics…

Peg Doll Clothing

Designing peg doll clothing is arguably the funnest part of making DIY wooden peg dolls! Here, I made a few different outfits. Again, add those cute little details, but don’t overdo it – your doll is small.

Here’s where outlining really showcases your artwork.

Don’t try too hard to give it whole outfits. Stick to details that matter. As you can see, I didn’t even bother with sleeves on most.

Add buttons, zipper flies, belt loops, and tiny drawings to give your peg doll clothing more dimension. And don’t you just adore that tux? I switched things up on this doll by using a silver marker to outline where I needed. And this is the only one where I painted the “neck”.

Some of the peg dolls were split top/bottom at the bend, and some above it. If I wanted to focus more on the top, I kept it on the bend.

Sealing your DIY wooden peg dolls

The final detail of making a DIY wooden peg doll is to seal in your gorgeous design. To do this, I used super gloss Mod Podge.

Be careful when sealing peg dolls with Mod podge! Overworking it can cause your gorgeous drawing to smudge (ask me how I know….)

Don’t worry if your first layer isn’t very thin or even – just give quick swipes.

Make sure it’s completely dry first. Even better – wait overnight after illustrating them before sealing.

And finally, you can try other type of sealer too. Spray varnishes can work. Look for something that’s officially kid-safe if you’d like.

DIY Wooden Peg Dolls: a step-by-step tutorial

What you need

How to make DIY wooden peg dolls

1. Start by penciling in your outfits. Make sure to mark off top and bottom. Sleeves are optional.

2. Now design a few faces. Keep details to a minimum, but make them dynamic!

3. Start by blocking out your main colors. Fill them in with paint markers. pencil A little showing through is ideal. Go over any “mistake” marks that you won’t be outlining in black twice with the paint marker so that they don’t show through.

4. Now, outline your details with a paint marker. Don’t worry about perfection. Imperfectionists are cool!

You can add details you hadn’t added earlier. Isn’t that cartoon-y vibe adorable?

5. Block out the main color for your face.

6. Add details and outline in black. Again, you can add “bonus” details you hadn’t planned on at this stage.

7. To make your hair, start by winding yarn around your fingers until you’re happy with the thickness.

8. Tie it off in the center (or through the center, depending on the hairstyle you’re going for.) You can make it off-center too if you’re planning on turning the front half into bangs.

9. Cut your loops.

10. Trim and style your peg doll’s hair.

11. Add hook and loop coins to each half of your hair.

Or you can glue it right on.

12. Seal your parts with Mod Podge only after allowing the details to thoroughly dry (overnight). Don’t overwork it or you hard work will smudge.

Your DIY wooden peg dolls are complete! Get creative with the details, make more wig types, and when you’re bored, add another few outfits to the wardrobe!

DIY Wooden Peg Dolls

DIY Wooden Peg Dolls

Materials

Tools

  • Small, flat paint brush
  • Scissors
  • If making permanent hair: hot glue gun or E6000

Instructions

    1. Start by penciling in your outfits. Make sure to mark off top and bottom. Sleeves are optional.

    2. Now design a few faces. Keep details to a minimum, but make them dynamic!

    3. Start by blocking out your main colors. Fill them in with paint markers. pencil A little showing through is ideal. Go over any "mistake" marks that you won't be outlining in black twice with the paint marker so that they don't show through.

    4. Now, outline your details with a paint marker. Don't worry about perfection. Imperfectionists are cool!

    You can add details you hadn't added earlier. Isn't that cartoon-y vibe adorable?

    5. Block out the main color for your face.

    6. Add details and outline in black. Again, you can add "bonus" details you hadn't planned on at this stage.

    7. To make your hair, start by winding yarn around your fingers until you're happy with the thickness.

    8. Tie it off in the center (or through the center, depending on the hairstyle you're going for.) You can make it off-center too if you're planning on turning the front half into bangs.

    9. Cut your loops.

    10. Trim and style your peg doll's hair.

    11. Add hook and loop coins to each half of your hair.

    Or you can glue it right on.

    12. Seal your parts with Mod Podge only after allowing the details to thoroughly dry (overnight). Don't overwork it or you hard work will smudge.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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