Making Peg Dolls- The Ultimate Resource List (With 3 Insider Tips!)

Peg dolls are a timeless and classic toy. They are beautiful and unique and children appreciate that. They know that peg dolls are special because they are one of a kind. In this article I am going to walk you through the process of starting your own peg doll collection. We will cover how to collect them, how to store them, tips for making your own peg dolls, and links to other resources. Whatever you need to know about peg dolls, I think you’ll find it here!

It brings joy to my heart each and every time I see my children playing with our peg doll set. They are honestly my favorite toy that we own in this home. Ever since I participated in my first peg doll exchange, my kids have been peg obsessed! (and I am actually talking from years of experience at this point and I am on my 4th kid playing with the same sets of peg dolls now!) They play with these little guys all the time! I want to share my joy of peg dolls with you.

Note: Links may be affiliates, meaning I earn a small commission if you order at no extra cost to you. 

Materials Needed For Painting Peg Dolls:

  1. Wooden pegs. You can find links to all my favorite pegs here. (My printable peg doll wraps are for the 3 and 9/16 inch size MAN shaped pegs)
  2. Cheap acrylic craft paints (obtained at Wal-Mart or any craft store or here also on Amazon)
  3. A sealer of some kind. You can use Mod Podge or an acrylic spray sealer. More about this below.
  4. Paint brushes (medium sized to small, and perhaps even a toothpick for small details.)
  5. Optional: A Sharpie marker or even better, a black paint pen.

Choosing A Wooden Peg For Your Peg Dolls

You want to go ahead and choose a standard size, and we love the big ones that I recommended above!

Why we love big pegs for peg dolls:

  • small pegs are a choking hazard for younger kids
  • bigger peg dolls are easier to find (less likely to disappear behind the piano or into a couch cushion)
  • Details are easier to paint on a bigger peg
  • They fit perfectly into Melissa and Doug castles and other doll houses, etc
  • Basically, they are a great size for a toy!

First insider tip… We now buy ALL of our pegs in the “man” shape and just paint them as men or women. You can also get the pegs shaped like girl dresses, but I don’t for 3 reasons:

  1. The “bell shaped” pegs don’t fit in places like peg doll cars, they don’t line up straight in boxes, etc.
  2. The girl shaped peg dolls don’t work for printable peg dolls
  3. The girl shaped peg dolls are more expensive.

But we do have several from our peg doll exchange (pictured below). My daughters do not seem to favor the pegs that are “doll” or “bell” shaped, but rather they favor the dolls that are painted nicely and have the cutest faces and details. They also favor them based on what color their clothes are lol. I can always hear them negotiating and trading when they’re playing.

catholic saint peg dolls

Catholic Saint Peg Dolls from the Peg Doll Exchange We Participated In

Ways To Collect Peg Dolls

  1. Buy them. There are tons of Etsy shops that sell them, but because they are hand painted that can be really pricy.
  2. Paint them yourself. You don’t have to be an artist to do this- I can show you how to paint your own peg dolls!
  3. Split the difference! The printable peg doll downloads that I offer have you paint only the heads, then decopage on the rest. It ends up with a painted feel completely because it all has the same finish over it and the origional images are hand painted, so they still have brush strokes and everything! This is a great compromise and makes collecting peg dolls super affordable and easy! My ebook download creates step by step directions for painting the heads of each peg doll with pictures from the front, side, and back. Then you just decopage on the body!

Printable Peg Doll Sets Available:

Printable Peg Dolls- The Passion Set

Printable Peg Dolls: The Resurrection Set

Printable Peg Dolls: The Advent Set

Printable Peg Dolls: The Nativity Set

Saints That Go Together

Post continues after this brief information about the Catholic Icing Monthly Membership

Monthly Liturgical Membership

Catholic Liturgical Monthly Membership

Perfect for families! Each month you gain access to printable activity pages, crafts, home altar pieces, and more.
Never has living the liturgical year been so easy and affordable!

Painting Peg Dolls

I have a very detailed post here about how to paint peg dolls- what works, what doesn’t, and how you can be successful with this whether or not you are an artist! But I will share a few more of my insider tips here.

Second insider tip… draw the faces on with a sharpie or black painter’s pen!!! This makes putting the faces on sooooo much easier than trying to do it with a paintbrush!

Also, be sure to seal your pegs when you’re finished painting them. If you don’t, the paint will start chipping off and getting scuffed just as soon as the kids start to play with them. If you seal them properly, they will last for years! So yeah, it’s worth the time investment to seal it after you have spent your time painting it in the first place.

Sprayers beware!!!

Third (and VERY important) insider tip: If you use a sharpie marker to draw on the face do NOT use an Acrylic spray sealer to seal the peg dolls! It will cause the face to run. If you have used a sharpie, instead just seal your pegs with Mod Podge.


The Best Things About Peg Dolls

They’re charming and adoarble. When I walk into my living room and see peg dolls everywhere, it makes my heart happy! I have never felt such an emotion when I see my kids playing with plastic junk.

You can get whatever characters you want! You are not limited to Disney Princesses or LEGO Men… you can have whatever dolls you want! Historical sets, Literature sets, your own personal family… the sky and your imagination are your only limits here!

Kids love them. They have been my kids favorite toys for years. The squinkies, silly bands, squishies, and the fidget spinners come and go, but these things stand the test of time!

More Peg Doll Resources:

Peg Dolls With Felt Clothes

As always, thank you for taking the time to share my resources that you find useful! God bless!


  1. Can I just buy the printables for the nativity set?
    I don’t see a link for that.

  2. Hi there, where can you buy the dolls? 🙂

  3. Wanda Van Ortwick says

    My granddaughter is making these for our faith formation program, but the ink smears even after several coats of Fixatif, we are using Krylon Workable Fixatif, is there something that would work better, she is ending up having to paint over the smeared areas after she has covered with mod podge

  4. Do you happen to have a Noah printable??

  5. Bethany Hutchinson says

    Is it ok to print with a laser printer or do you need to use an inkjet? We’re excited to put together our nativity peg doll set!!

    • laser printer is actually the best, although you can make either work. Everything you would want to know about that is included in the download. 🙂

  6. Do you recommend waiting for the acrylic paint to dry before starting on the next step? Also, is it ok to work on the body before the head?

    • If you are painting, I would definitely wait until the paint is dry before continuing your work.

      Sure – you can paint the peg dolls in whatever order you prefer.

      Angie, Catholic Icing Project Manager

  7. What size peg doll should we buy for these? Thanks!

  8. Hello, I’m very excited to make these for my kids. I’m a bit confused though. The link to the pegs is for angel/mom pegs. But later you say you only use the man-shaped pegs. Now I’m not sure which ones your templates work on. Do they only work on the mom/angel ones linked above, or only on the man-shaped?

  9. Susan K Swanson says

    what type/weight of paper do you suggest?

    • For Lacy’s printable peg doll wraps, we recommend using regular printer paper. You don’t want to use cardstock or thicker paper, as that won’t wrap around the peg and adhere as well.

      Angie, Catholic Icing Project Manager

  10. Can I ask about modge podge as a sealant? From what I understand this isn’t considered ‘food safe’, though is non-toxic. Is that right? Therefore, for toddlers who may play, but still be inclined occasionally to shove in their mouths- is modge podge still okay for this age range?

  11. Could you please make peg dolls cut outs of the 12 disciples? I need them by end of January.
    Thank you so much.

    • Thanks for the request, Caroline! We’ve definitely had a lot of people requesting this set over the years. Hopefully someday that will be one that Lacy makes, but it definitely won’t be by the end of January.


      Angie, Catholic Icing Business Manager