Even though I am a Thanksgiving cynic, I wanted to make something for our seasonal table to differentiate November from the rest of autumn. I’ve been wanting to craft with wood more and peg dolls are an easy and cheap way to do that. I thought these dolls came out nicely, so wanted to share my DIY tutorial for Thanksgiving peg dolls.
DIY Tutorial - Thanksgiving Peg Dolls | From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells
I spent a lot of time on Pinterest trying to come up with peg doll designs that were within my capabilities (seriously, how some people manage to get so much fine detail on to tiny peg dolls, is beyond me!). This wood burning tutorial has been the only post that I’ve read that has helped me learn to physically control a wood burning pen. Before reading this post, I kept trying to find the skinniest tips possible and then the tips would melt or warp when I tried to burn designs into my peg dolls.

Step 1 – I drew the designs on two unfinished peg dolls with a pencil first after getting a vague idea of how I wanted my dolls to look. This was a revealing process in itself. Ideas I had in my mind weren’t necessarily doable. You really have to think in positive/negative space mode, as each part of the doll has to connect to rest of the doll, 360 degrees away.DIY Tutorial - Thanksgiving Peg Dolls | From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells
Step 2 – Once I had my design done, I used my wood burning pen to burn over the pencil marks. At times, the wood grain forced the woo burning pen to move in ways other than my original design called for. I finally decided that is what pencil erasers are for!DIY Tutorial - Thanksgiving Peg Dolls | From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells
Step 3 – I painted the dolls with our Stockmar opaque paints starting with the lightest colors of paint first. I did this because I seemed to faintly recall someone saying that was the way things should be done. It did work well, as it is easier to paint over lighter color mistakes than darker ones.DIY Tutorial - Thanksgiving Peg Dolls | From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells
Step 4 – I polished and buffed the dolls with a rag and beeswax polishDIY Tutorial - Thanksgiving Peg Dolls | From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells
Step 5 – I used a fine tip pen to draw some basic facial features. In the past, I have used colored pencils and I think those actually look better, but I wanted to experiment.

Have you tried your hand at making peg dolls? They seem to be a bit of the rage on Pinterest right now. I’m now working on some Christmas peg dolls. I find the biggest challenge is getting the heads right if I don’t want to have to put a hat on the doll (like try making Santa Lucia without making a seperate candle ring to place on her head, it looks really funky!).