Birthday coming up this weekend, set of Four Season Spirits awaiting final gloss coats and a fabric bag to live in:
If you might like to make peg dolls yourself, here are my notes. :)
Supplies — the pegs: I ordered the pegs from Woodworks Ltd., which I saw recommended somewhere. I'm very happy with the quality and price and they shipped fast, too. Shipping is NOT free, and actually added about 30% to my total cost, given what I was ordering, so it makes the most sense to order a bunch at once. This is useful because once you make a few, you will think of a million more situations that would be well-served by peg dolls. Also, if you have kids, they will want to paint their own whenever they see you painting any. So you need extras.
Supplies — the paint: I'm using "Deco Art Americana" acrylic craft paints which I got at JoAnn Fabric a while ago.
Supplies — clear coat: I'm using Mod Podge, hard finish for furniture. I hear it's cheaper at the craft store, but I haven't found a craft store yet!
Supplies — brushes: I've used two kinds of brushes, a small (probably 1/4") flat one that came with something once, I think, and a set of three tiny round brushes that I got in the same aisle as the paints at JoAnn Fabric. The small flat one is nice and stiff and makes it pretty easy to cover larger areas smoothly. It's also the one I use for putting on the Mod Podge.
How To: You need some ideas, first of all. This is what the Internet is for. I've looked at quite a few photos online, gleaning inspiration as I go. I'm pretty sure I saw a four season set somewhere, for instance. You can find Pinterest boards devoted to peg dolls, graphics devoted solely to hairstyles for peg dolls, and a nice tutorial on making peg dolls (with good process pictures). Also, Etsy has over 5,000 peg doll listings as of this moment, so feel free to browse those (I find this one especially entrancing, I think it's the detail, the way it seems to be looking up, and the gorgeous photography).
Once you've got ideas, you can lightly outline the main features with a pencil and then start painting. Cover the larger areas first, as a general rule, and paint something like a shirt before painting things that should lie over it, like a collar or hair. Paint thin coats. You might want two coats of some colors, but I've mostly been fine with one.
Be conscious of the direction of your brush strokes. Outline big areas first, then pull the paint from the outline into the shape in a consistent direction so the brush strokes all go one way. (Except for something like hair — then the brush strokes are part of the effect.)
Let paint dry before painting near it with another color. This takes a matter of minutes, really, so don't stress about it.
Handling paint, especially for fine details, takes some practice. Just be patient and know you'll improve with time. Tiny details take a steady hand and a tiny amount of paint on the very tip of the littlest brush. I always hold the peg while I'm painting it, rather than trying to paint it while it sits on the table. You can steady your holding arm on the edge of the table and steady your painting hand (for placing tiny dots, for instance) by pressing a crooked pinky finger against the doll itself.
Put little puddles of paint on a paper plate so you can mix them a bit for more interesting hair or leaf details or what-have-you. Also to keep your kids from mixing the colors in the bottles.
Remember you can always paint over mistakes and try again!
I love that these are totally cool for boys in various themes. Boys do important play with dolls, afterall, as long as we don't call them "dolls". :)