Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Peg Doll Craftopia

When looking for a craft to bring to family camp each year, I want something with simple, easily accessible materials and lots of opportunity for open-ended crafting creativity. This year I brought peg dolls. Historically, peg dolls were made out of wooden clothes pegs during a time when people had little money to spend on toys.  All of the dolls in this post were made by kids between ages 8-12 years with very little supervision or instruction.  
I usually make an example or two at home and then when we get to camp set it all up, show a couple of kids what to do, and make a suggestion occasionally. Then I leave them alone, and they go at it. They drop by the cabin at random times and work as they wish.

I brought along two types of peg dolls. I bought an assortment of the "legless" ones on Amazon much cheaper than I could find them locally. They came in various sizes of peg dolls, and I thought our kids would like to have the option to make "families." The more traditional pegs I also ordered from Amazon. I wish I had also ordered peg doll stands.

Our peg dolls enjoyed cardboard tree houses (see corner of first picture) and cardboard animals to ride on. We made these before camp. I took cardboard along in case anyone wanted to try to make them, but they just used the ones we had. At the end of the weekend, whoever wanted to took a couple of cardboard animals home with them. The patterns for the cardboard animals and houses came from the Mr. Printables blog.

I brought along ribbons, felt scraps, tulle scraps, lace scraps, glue, tape, scissors and permanent markers. I also took along washi tape. I found some at Wal Mart and discovered that Duck brand makes washi tape.

Many peg dolls are painted with acrylic craft paint, but because I did not want to manage that mess we only brought along markers. Markers can bleed on some pegs, so I was not totally happy with this option until I read on one blog that they sealed their pegs with clear nail polish or ModgePodge before using markers on them. We tried it and it worked great, so my girls did a quick, light coat of Modge Podge on all 165 pegs we took along. By the end of the long weekend, the kids had used nearly all of them up! It was glorious.

I also took along our I-pad with some pictures of finished peg dolls loaded on it, so the kids could look at them for ideas. I think their finished dolls are all really great and appealing.


  1. Fantastic! What a perfect idea, love seeing all the kid's creations, and thanks for sharing on craft schooling Sunday!

  2. Maria so enjoyed it at Fam Camp! Thaaanks!