Making wooden dolls, has been a favourite craft in our house since we started making them last year. Since then, my kids and I have created lots of little characters. Some are just for decoration and others get played with everyday, but all had the same humble beginnings – a little doll blank and a pile of fabric scraps!
This week, we were planning to make some new characters for our advent spiral. After all, Christmas is sneaking up ever so fast. We didn’t have any doll blanks left, but I stopped myself from ordering more, because I was sure that I could just whittle some blanks from wood, from our garden.
Fortunately, I was right (otherwise we would have had a very boring Wednesday craft session!) and they were so easy to make, that next time my kids will be making their own.
I have been cutting our many willows, back into shape this year, as the land at the back of our house was completely overgrown when we moved in. We have been using the trimmings for bonfires etc, but these little pieces of willow branch, had a much more glamorous end.
It took very little time to strip off the bark and shape a little head and shoulders. I honestly can’t think why we haven’t done this before. Not only did it save us money, but it is so nice to have dolls which are all slightly different and a little bit knobbly.
My kids were delighted with them and each picked out the one that they wanted.
I haven’t made a “How To” post, because the joy of peg dolls is that each one is different and can be made with whatever scraps you have. In fact if you don’t have fabric scraps, you could make clothes from paper, dried flowers, old plastic containers, holey socks – the list goes on and on!
We always have scraps of fabric, felt and wool around, because we’re always making something and with a big family, we can’t afford to waste anything.
So at this point, I just let the kids create. Even my two (nearly three year old) loves to make these, but I help with hers. If your making peg dolls with under fives, I would recommend wrapping the head in some tape, if you are going to apply paint to the body. I always do this, because then Wren can just get stuck in and we still have a face at the end of it!
Faces can be drawn on with permanent pen, although sometimes it bleeds into the wood, so I prefer to use watercolour pencils or paint and a fine brush.
We like to use wool roving for hair. It’s great, because you can make pretty much any style you like with it and even needlefelt little beards etc.
I really enjoy seeing what my kids come up with and their dolls always have a little bit of their own personality in them.
To me, they are the perfect example of being able to make something really special, from very little. I know that ours, will be treasured for years to come and will be perfect for our winter celebrations.
So, get some doll blanks and have a go, or do as I did and whittle your own. I guarantee that you’ll have a lot of fun!