Easy Peg Doll Ideas – Dress them & make playtime more fun!
There’s something extraordinary about peg dolls – they can become whoever you want them to be. Our first peg dolls were the 12 Friends from Grimm’s, and my son loved them. But after a while, my children did not play with them as much, and I thought we had to spruce them up a bit so they would get my children’s attention. So I decided to dress them up, and they loved it. Since then, we’ve had more peg dolls (Grapat, natural, and of different shapes and sizes) that we’ve had fun playing with. So here are some easy dress-up peg doll ideas to make the most of your tiny dolls.
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What are peg dolls?
Peg dolls are wooden figurines representing people and characters and are fantastic for small world play. Originally they were wooden dolls that had their arms and legs attached with pegs, but now you hear people referring to these types of dolls in the picture as peg dolls (and these are the ones I am referring to).
Our peg dolls
Without even realizing it, we now have a little collection of dolls after some years. We usually have them in their natural state (without dressing up or decorating), but occasionally we decide to do things differently. The truth is that when I dress them up, they get played with more (at least for the day).
Here are the peg dolls that we have at home:
Grimm’s Rainbow Friends
The Grimm’s Rainbow friends come in a set of 12 peg dolls that match the colors of the Grimm’s large rainbow. They have their bodies and their hair painted. (I imagine it is their hair, although some people might say it is a hat).
The Grapat Tomtems are lovely and come in a set of 6 with the three primary and secondary colors. They have a pointy hat that makes me think they look like elves or fairies.
We love our Lolas. They are straighter and come in three different sizes. We only dress up the large and the medium. The small Lola is simply to small to even bother trying to.
The Lubulona people are the smallest of the bunch. We don’t dress them up usually, as they are smaller and usually played with when fitting them into their cars, but you could dress them up as easily as the rest.
Natural unfinished peg dolls
These wooden peg dolls are the perfect starting point to create tiny characters. Then, paint them, decorate them, dress them up – the sky is the limit. I usually buy them on Amazon and have some in our Arts & Crafts cart, as they are great for projects and activities.
These clothespins are the classical pegs with which people hung clothes to dry. When I was eight years old, I was asked at school to dress a peg doll in traditional clothing from my homeland. I had never seen one or done one before. Now, over 25 years later, I am doing it again with my children (much more straightforward), but just as fun.
Peg Doll ideas to dress them up
I love using crepe paper rolls to dress up the rolls and create whimsical creations. The easiest way to dress them with paper is by using small elastic hair bands. They are ideal for peg dolls, as you don’t have to twist a second time. In addition, they are small enough to hold tight around their waist or head.
My all-time favorite is creating ballerina skirts. They are just so lovely! (And honestly, so easy – I’ll show you in just a second). You need around 30cm of crepe paper streamer, scissors, and a small elastic band to make them.
- I cut approximately the length of an A4 paper (the wide part).
- I start cutting tiny slits that go from the border to the center of the streamer. Cut approximately 1cm apart.
- Repeat on the other side of the streamer, making sure you don’t coincide two cuts from each side as you cut the paper in half.
- Once done, wrap the doll’s body with the streamer and place a tiny rubber band on the center.
- Time to fluff the skirt! Bring to top flaps down to the center, and the bottom flaps up to the center. Fluff it and style it as you like.
And voilà, you have your ballerina doll!
Although you can create variations combining colors like this one, the single colour ballerina skirt is my favorite skirt. It does work better on straighter dolls than those that are a bit more cone-like (as the elastic band might shift upwards).
You can also create capes with a crepe paper streamer and an elastic hairband. For example, you can make a superhero cape or a Dracula cape, depending on how long you want the paper above the little peg doll’s neck. You can also make fairy wings for an extra touch of magic.
Tape is another accessible resource for dressing up dolls. I love color washi tapes or tapes with patterns and decorative designs on them. The straighter the doll, the easier it is with tape. But there are multiple ways you can dress them up with tape. You can tape around them, or you can place the tape vertically. The thinner the tape, the fewer wrinkles it will have. But in my experience, children enjoy it just the same.
You can also make a hat for them if you have a wider tape.
Using strings and yarn
If you know how to crochet, you could do these beautiful hats that Grimms suggested for Easter that are simply too cute. (Link here). But unfortunately, crochet is not a skill I have, and I’ve found other ways to dress dolls up that my children enjoy.
I find that string, embroidery thread, or yarn are great options. Whatever you might have lying around at home. The first one is just tying bows on them. My daughter is also practicing learning to tie laces, but it is harder on the dolls than on the shoes. A good challenge for her to practice and gain this much-needed skill 😉
The second one is just wrapping the doll in yarn. Again, you can do this with one color or go creative and cover with a few shades.
Using play doughs
Dressing up dolls with play doughs has been a favorite at our house. Not just with wooden peg dolls but with little princess dolls as well. The dough allows you to add more details to the outfit, which might be more difficult with other materials.
Here you have my daughter’s playdough dress-up evolution.
My son loves creating superheroes with his natural peg dolls. First, he adds blue and red, and he has superman. Then, he covers it with green and purple at the bottom, and he has Hulk. What is fantastic is that he takes the dough away after he is done playing, and he can create a new character from scratch.
It is also a fantastic way to use mixed dough before discarding them. It’s very creative, and dressing up dolls with dough helps to work on fine motor skills and concentration which is fantastic to work on at an early age.
Using tin foil
Tinfoil is a fun resource to use to dress your little friends. You can wrap them all over and leave their head uncovered. Make scarfs, make wings, capes, or make whimsical hats. They can paint on the foil to add color or leave them silver.
Using pipe cleaners
Would you like a very fancy and cozy scarf? Use pipe cleaners! There are different types of pipe cleaners:
- Slim and have the same thickness throughout.
- May vary in thickness.
- With sparkly strands.
Whatever you have at home will work.
We’ve tried them with Grimm’s friends and even with Grapat Lolas, and they hold up nicely. Make tops, scarves, or even hats! You can even thread beads with them and wrap them on the dolls for an extra fine-motor skill activity 😉
Using elastic hair bands
Yes, this one seems odd, but it is easy and fun. It is also a good exercise for little ones to dress the dolls with hair bands or undress them. It takes patience, concentration, and eye-hand coordination—a fun way to improve fine motor skills.
Using little cloth scraps
I have not done so lately – and unfortunately, I do not have any pictures, but similar to what we did with paper, you can create with bits of cloth. Make capes, dresses, hats, aprons, and anything they can imagine with little bits of cloth that you might have around.
Easy Peg Doll Ideas to have more fun
So, if your peg dolls are not being played with, try dressing them up in any of these ways, and it will undoubtedly grasp your children’s attention. In addition, it will spark other ways to play with them; they will probably want to join you and decorate their own and create their favorite characters.
Dressing up peg dolls is a great activity to improve fine motor skills and get creative. You’ll be surprised, and they will surprise themselves. If you create some and share them on Instagram, please tag me! I’d love to see what you’ve made!
P.S. Oh! And if you would like other peg doll ideas involving some paint, here are some easy peg doll designs you can make!