Monday, February 22, 2016

Kokeshi Peg Dolls

I made about 40 of these pretty little dolls as favors for the Valentine's banquet the men at church put on each year for the women.

The inspiration was Japanese kokeshi dolls, a traditional doll made since the 1800's in the rural areas of Japan. Husband brought me two modern kokeshi dolls when he was in Japan last year for business.

I have been enjoying making random "peg dolls," so it was a nice blending of the two things. I spent many happy hours drawing and coloring in their little eyes, hair and clothes with permanent markers.
I recommend a light coat of Modge Podge on the wooden pegs before starting. This reduces bleeding of the markers into the wood. The majority of these designs were made with permanent markers-there are so many colors available now. A few of the flower designs (mostly the dotted designs) are added on top of the markers with acrylic paint. I planned to seal them again with Modge Podge, but that caused some color smearing, so I gave them a light coat of clear acrylic spray (in the spray paint section) to finish them.
The older, larger doll, above, is a traditional, antique kokeshi doll from Japan that I found on Etsy.
I really like their little expressive faces.


  1. So cool, cheers from New Zealand.

  2. Salley Mavor put these up on Facebook, so I had to come see them! These are so beautiful! My two children are adopted from China, which I know is different from Japan!, but I have always loved kokeshi dolls. These are wonderful!

  3. Correction, I think it might have been "We Bloom Here" who put up the post on Facebook!

  4. What do you use as the base and body? I would love to make some of these!

    1. Peg doll blanks, ordered from Amazon. There are various sizes. These were the 2" lady/angel pegs.