Paint Your Own Peg Dolls for Homemade Children’s Toys

There is just something about homemade toys that makes them that much more special. Recently, my family went on a trip and I needed something to keep my little one occupied in the car.  She has lately developed a fascination with little people and figurines. After a trip to my local Target and seeing the outrageous prices for the many different “little people”, I decided to make my own little people. Using peg dolls from the craft store (I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby – eight dolls for $2.99) and paint from my growing collection, I painted a timeless treasure for my daughter that means a lot more than a little plastic toy from Target.

Another great thing about this craft is it takes mere minutes to create! If you have older children that can handle a paint brush, this is a great summer time craft for them as well!

Gather your supplies

1. Paint and Varnish.

2. Wooden peg dolls. You should be able to get these at any craft store. I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby. They also make smaller sizes (if you wanted to make a full family) and girls with “dresses” on.

3. Various size paint brushes, pencils, and a permanent marker.


Step One

Draw your design on your doll in pencil. This gives you an outline to follow instead of painting free hand. The doll on the left is going to be a ninja (which is probably the simplest doll to draw and paint) and the doll on the right is wearing a fun dress and has piggy-tales.


Step Two

Paint your doll. For this sparkly pink ninja, I painted the doll a solid color (pink) and dusted her in glitter. Fun little touch.

Step Three

Allow your paint to dry. It should dry fairly quick – go change the laundry out or dish yourself a cup of ice cream.

When the paint is completely dry, outline your main lines and draw your eyes on in permanent marker.  NOT SHOWN – on the bottom of each doll, I wrote a tiny message. If you have a child going off to camp, this could be a fun surprise to stash in his/her bag with a tiny “I love you” message on the bottom.


Step Four

Varnish your doll. This simply sets the paint so hours of playtime will not rub your hard work off the doll.

In less than thirty minutes, you have created a timeless treasure for your little one to enjoy. These are great for car rides, a distraction in a busy restaurant, or a fun surprise tucked away in a suitcase or lunch pail.

What do you think?



  1. 2
    Avatar Carol De'Ath says

    So good I am in the process of making my own

  2. 3

    love them! what type of varnish did you use? i am worried to smudge the sharpie!