Saint Peg Dolls For Catholic Kids- How To Have An Exchange

Find all of my peg doll resources here!

I recently took part in a Catholic Saint peg doll exchange, and it was awesome! We all painted 36 of the same Saint, then exchanged so we ended up with 36 different Saints.

saint peg doll exchange small

I am so excited about these little guys! Here’s the complete set I ended up with:

catholic saint peg dolls

From left to right, top to bottom:

St. Joan of Arc, St. Patrick, Blessed Imelda, St. Sebastian, St. Rita, Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, St. Dominic Savio, St. Gianna Molla, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Lucy (Lucia), St. Juan Diego, St. Michael (NEXT ROW) St. Kateri, St. Rose of Lima, St. Paul the Apostle, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Nicholas, Blessed Mother Teresa, St. Augustine, St. Zita, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis, St. Padre Pio, St. Bernadette (NEXT ROW) St. John Bosco, little one– St. Dominic Savio, St. Martin de Porres, St. Faustina, St. Joseph, St. Maria Goretti, St. Clare, St. Ambrose, St. Cecilia, Pope Saint John Paul II, St. Therese, St. Veronica, St. Maximilian.

I loved how different these all were- they ended up with their own personality! Showing up and seeing the “reveal” of each Saint was so much more fun than painting them all myself.

How The Swap Works:

  • Find some ladies who want to participate in a Saint swap. Those who live in town can trade in person, and those who don’t can ship them. (And before you throw yourself a pity party and tell me you don’t have any awesome Catholic friends who will want to do this, there are several facebook groups that specialize in Saint swaps, and they both ship, so you can participate wherever you are!)
  • Decide on a number for the swap, and stick to it!
  • Set a date that the swap happens. Out-of-towners will need to mail them in enough time. Make this farther out than you think you need to- these things are time consuming, and you want this to be fun, not stressful! Some of these are set 6 months out or farther.
  • Decide on a standard size for your pegs. I will say that the Catholic standard seems to be the 3 1/2 inch pegs. Not sure how that happened, but even if you’re painting your own, I’d say it’s best to do the standard size so that if you participate in trades in the future, they fit. Plus, it’s nice to have the bigger pegs- you can paint them more detailed and the bigger ones are harder to lose and more fun to play with.  Order the pegs you need here for just $1 each and Prime shipping! 
  • On the day of the swap, everyone brings a snack or drink to share, and whatever folding tables they have laying around at home. Everyone sets up their Saints, and ooh and aah for awhile. Then you take your box, go around, and get one of each Saint. Extra volunteer stay to pack up the ones that are being shipped so that no one gets stuck with all the work.

exchanging peg dolls

Why The Swap Is Better Than Flying Solo:

  • I had painting peg Saints on my to-do list for YEARS but never picked up the first paint brush until I had the encouragement (and deadline) of a swap.
  • It takes a lot of research and planning to design a Saint. Once you figure it out, it’s a lot easier to just keep making the same one assembly line style. You only have to decide on the shape of the hair once, the kind of eyes once, etc.
  • The different styles are really beautiful, and it’s exciting to see what you get- like opening a present on Christmas morning!
  • The fact that it’s a swap keeps you from being ridiculously anal. You can’t torture yourself over each brush stroke, you have to move on. That’s fine because it’s not perfectionism that makes them beautiful, in fact, quite the opposite… it’s the imperfect human touch that make these so unique.
  • You don’t have to wait for paint to dry before you move on. By the time you’re finished with one color on all your pegs, the first one is ready for whatever is next.
  • Working together brings a since of community, and isn’t that amazing? Look at me with all of these amazing Catholic moms standing with our peg Saints! This was a great time. 🙂

group shot with catholic peg dolls

Reasons Why Flying Solo Can Be Better Than A Swap:

  • If you’re a super good artist, you might be trading for dolls that aren’t as nice as the ones you painted.
  • You can paint exactly the Saints that you want.
  • You can do them on your own time with no deadlines.
  • You can really put a lot of time and detail in, then enjoy your work for years to come!
  • It could be special to your kids that you’re actually the one who painted them.

You can find my tips for painting peg dolls here.

For anyone looking for ideas on how to paint their own, or for anyone who loves Catholic eye candy, I’d like to share the close-ups of each of them with you. 😉

Blessed Imelda Peg Doll

This one is absolutely adorable! You could also use a small peg to indicate that she is child.

blessed imelda catholic saint peg doll

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen Peg Doll

fulton sheen catholic saint peg doll

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta Peg Doll

I like her little rosaries. Notice how you only need to give the impression of the rosary- it doesn’t have the “right” number of beads. Hey, it doesn’t even have a string! Just put some dots on with a toothpick, add a cross, and you’re good to go. Notice how they’re all different.

mother teresa catholic saint peg doll

St. Padre Pio Peg Doll

This little guy has to have hands so you can show his stigmata, but the rest of him is fairly simple. When you choose what Saint you’re doing, think about the aspect that you need to be able to show off, and focus on that.

padre pio catholic saint peg doll

Saint Pope John Paul II Peg Doll

This little guy is too cute! Love the shines in his eyes, and his little hat. I also love the simple but effective design of his clothes. It’s so great to be able to paint these assembly line style- just figure out what works, and then make them all the same. That’s what makes this doable!

pope saint john paul II catholic saint peg doll

St. Augustine Peg Doll

saint augustine catholic saint peg doll

St. Ambrose Peg Doll

st. ambrose catholic saint peg doll

Of all of the Bishop peg dolls I have seen, I really liked the design of St. Ambroses’ miter (hat). So much so that he gets a second picture so that you can see how this mom painted these. This kind of miter would work on any bishop- St. Patrick, St. Nicholas, etc.

catholic peg doll bishop hat

St. Bernadette Peg Doll

st. bernadette catholic saint peg doll

St. Juan Diego Peg Doll

juan diego catholic saint peg doll

Juan Diego is the one I painted. He was easy to do because I decoupaged on Our Lady of Guadalupe. I will be posting full directions on how I made him (check bottom of the post for links to come). My favorite part about him is that the stars on Our Lady’s mantle glow in the dark!

glow in the dark juan diego peg doll

St. Cecilia Peg Doll

This doll is so precious! She’s the only one that included a halo on her Saint, which I love, and I was so charmed by the colorful music notes across her dress. The rosy cheeks and little dots on her dress are a great touch, and the prayerful hands are so simple and elegant. I loved the way her hair came down in the back so much that I just had to turn one of them around for you!

st. cecilia catholic saint peg doll

St. Clare of Assisi Peg Doll

st. clair catholic saint peg doll

St. Dominic Peg Doll

st. dominic catholic saint peg doll

St. Faustina Peg Doll

I really like how this one has the Divine Mercy image decoupaged on, but then the rays were painted over the top. This really gives it more of the feeling that it’s painted- wish I would have thought of that for Juan Diego!

st. faustina catholic saint peg doll

St. Francis of Assisi Peg Doll

st. francis catholic saint peg doll

St. Gianna Molla Peg Doll

st. gianna molla catholic saint peg doll

St. Joan of Arc Peg Doll

I really like this one having the girly lips and eye lashes since she’s wearing armor- that was a great judgement call.

st. joan of arc catholic saint peg doll

St. John Bosco with little St. Dominic Savio Peg Dolls

This mom just really wanted St. John Bosco to have Dominic Savio with his- isn’t that adorable?! I can’t believe she made 2 sets.

st. john bosco and dominic savio catholic saint peg doll

St. Joseph Peg Doll

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I love how he’s holding Baby Jesus, and Jesus is a little different in each one. I turned one sideways so you can see what’s going on.

st. joseph catholic saint peg doll

St. Kateri Peg Doll

So much detail in this one. Notice how she has several different choices for eyes- all simple, all beautiful. I especially like the skin color down the hair to indicate a part.

st. kateri catholic saint peg doll

St. Lucy (Santa Lucia) Peg Doll

I like how some of the eyes of these are looking in different directions. Also, the little dot details, rosy cheeks, and wrinkles in the clothes make such a great touch! Notice how her hands are far from perfect, but she’s absolutely beautiful. Remember to go easy on yourself as you paint yours!

st. lucy lucia catholic saint peg doll

St. Maria Goretti Peg Doll

This lady is a true artist. So beautiful! I especially love her big green eyes and the detail around her clothing.

st. maria goretti catholic saint peg doll

St. Martin de Porres Peg Doll

I love this little guy! Check out the detail of his broom and mouse.

st. martin de porres catholic saint peg doll

St. Mary Magdalene Peg Doll

I really like this one- note her bottle of perfume and her long hair.

st. mary magdalene catholic saint peg doll

St. Maximilian Kolbe Peg Doll

Wow- this one has a lot of detail! I turned one a little sideways for you so you can see what’s going on.

st. maximilian kolbe catholic saint peg doll

St. Michael the Archangel Peg Doll

st. michael catholic saint peg doll

St. Nicholas Peg Doll

st. nicholas catholic saint peg doll

St. Patrick Peg Doll

This one really demonstrates what a wide range of faces you could paint! He just has two very simple, very tiny eyes, and it works just fine.

st. patrick catholic saint peg doll

St. Paul the Apostle Peg Doll

st. paul catholic saint peg doll

St. Rita Peg Doll

This one is so beautiful! Her eyes, her cheeks, her roses- what’s not to love?

st. rita catholic saint peg doll

St. Rose of Lima Peg Doll

Simple, and still absolutely adorable. I think just about anyone could accomplish this no-fuss design.

st. rose of lima catholic saint peg doll

St. Sebastian Peg Doll

st. sebastian catholic saint peg doll

St. Teresa of Availa Peg Doll

Loads of detail in this one. My favorite parts are the style of mouth, eyes, and her book with the heart.

st. teresa of avila catholic saint peg doll

St. Therese Peg Doll

Look at the impression of the crucifix- simple and totally works.

st. therese the little flower catholic saint peg doll

St. Thomas Aquinas Peg Doll

st. thomas aquinas catholic saint peg doll

St. Veronica Peg Doll

This one could have been a great candidate for decoupaging Jesus’ face on, but this mom totally painted all of them! She did a beautiful job. There’s no other detail on her, no arms, fabric folds, etc, and she doesn’t need it. The face is the “wow factor” of this one.

st. veronica catholic saint peg doll

St. Zita Peg Doll

Simple and adorable. I like the way her arms are painted on, and the hands are just little balls. Seriously, don’t be overwhelmed to paint these- look how effective and simple this is. So cute.

st. zita catholic saint peg doll

At our Peg Doll Exchange, we were all asked to bring a 4×6 card stock print out about our Saint for each person as well. I punched holes in all of mine and made them into a book. I made a simple cover and laminated it for the front of the books. You can download this cover here.

my little book of saints

When I brought them out to show Mark, my husband, he instantly noticed St. Martin de Porres, picked him up, and told me that he was always his favorite because he loved this book when he was a kid. I want my kids to have this kind of love and nostalgia for the Saints so much! Hopefully, these little guys will help with those kind of feelings and connections.

These are so special, and I ended up with so many Saints that are near and dear to my heart. My confirmations Saint- St. Cecilia, my birthday Saint- St. Veronica, and my closest-to-my-name-Saint- St. Lucy, were all represented! I also had a miscarriage between Lydia and Julian, and named the baby Samantha Gianna. St. Therese is Violet’s patroness (middle name) and we got St. Michael, patron of police for Mark. 🙂

Oddly enough, there were absolutely no Marys included in the trade at all. I want to add at least Our Lady of Guadalupe (to go with Juan Diego) and Our Lady of Lourdes (to go with Bernadette). I would also like to paint a Divine Mercy to go with St. Faustina, and definitely all the kids’ name Saints. Another I was surprised I didn’t see was St. Elizabeth Ann Seton since practically everyone involved was a homeschooler, so I’ll be adding her as well.

Every year, I’m going to add whoever the patron of our family is for the new year as well. I look forward to collecting them over the years!

Find all of my peg doll resources here!


  1. Arlene@Nanaland says

    Lacy, where do you find those pegs? I have never seen any before.

  2. I will be attending a saint peg doll swap this Thursday!
    I also participating in one in May that will be 27 different Mary dolls. I did one last year with the Nativity scene. I have some friends who are doing the mysteries of the rosary.
    I love these ideas and my children especially love playing with the various saint dolls:-)

    • I saw one on the facebook group that was for all the different Marys, and I really wanted to participate, but it was already full. What a great idea! Ours was a little ambitious. I don’t think I’d want to do another exchange that was more than 30, and I think 20 would be better. My kids seriously love these dolls- they get played with here every day.

      • There may be a spot in the Marian swap I am participating in if you are interested:-) There are 30 dolls in this one and I think they are due in April.

  3. This is so incredibly neat! I noticed that a friend of mine posted on Facebook recently about participating in one of these. Thank you for sharing! I would love to be a part of one at some point!

  4. I love the Saint peg doll exchanges – it is so much fun to make the dolls and then to get such wonderful Saints and variey in return! We had our first one last month and are preparing for another one during Lent (we’ll be doing a Holy Week theme for all the peg dolls). I’m keeping these ideas for the future, though – we have every intention of continuing to have these exchanges. I love the dolls you made and got; plus, I love the other ideas in the comments section here! We’ve been doing the smaller dolls, though. One of my friends followed an idea to turn an unfinished wood castle into a cathedral and the smaller dolls are the perfect size for that! (I plan to follow her lead and make one, too.)

    I have a quesiton for you: My email from you said, “You can download the cover I made for mine here.” (when talking about the book you made to go with your collection) but I cannot find where to click to get it. The word “here” is not clickable in my email and I see that that sentence is not on the page of your website; I also checked in the subscriber bonus pages section, but I don’t see it there either. Sorry – it’s probably obvious, but I just cannot find it. Where can I find the cover to download? Thanks! Love all your ideas here and appreciate all that you do!

  5. Alicia Hart says

    Hi Lacy! I haven’t been to your blog for a while because my kids are too old for this stuff now but I just had a new baby boy So I am back! Love this idea and am hoping to make some of these for him when he gets older.

    • Congratulations! And fyi, I post a lot of stuff for older kids as well now that mine are older. 🙂

  6. Amazing and Beautiful! Thank you for the inspiration AND the directions.

  7. Jen Freeman says

    Just wanted to thank you, I am organizing one of these at my church and it came together pretty quickly! I am so excited. I have made these for my kiddos before, but this should be a lot of FUN!! Great Lenten project for Mom!

  8. Hi Lacy!

    A quick question – probably my browsers are not updated or something – but none of the pictures of the saints are loading (no matter what browser I am using). Is anyone else having this problem?

    Thanks and God bless!

  9. Printable Saint peg dolls for decoupaging . When do these come out for purchase. I don’t facebook so I wondered where we can get them.
    This is awesome

    • Either this week or next. If you subscribe by email (top right corner of my sidebar) you’ll get an email each time I post, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t facebook. 🙂

  10. Debbie Gonzalez says

    Hi there Lacy!
    I too am wondering about St. Juan Diego. Is there anyway to get directions and how to make him this week? We are participating in a silent auction and have prepared 19 saints and a beautiful church for the occasion. We just need our beloved St. Juan Diego completed by this Friday, if at all possible. 🙂

    P.S. ~ Your dolls are soooo beautiful.

    • I know, I know! I’m SO behind on everything I want to post right now! You wouldn’t believe how my computer is bursting with photos that are all backed up for blogging about. It’s unreal. I even still haven’t posted a lot of stuff from Lydia’s First Communion LAST YEAR! lol. Ok, I will try to finish the peg doll series next, but no promises on a timeline. That will just stress me out and make me yell at my kids. But I’ll try. 🙂

    • Ok, I just pulled up my partially-completed post about how to paint him and emailed it to you along with the file you need for decoupaging. Hope your painting goes well! 🙂

      • Any chance I can get that file, too? I’m doing a swap here in South Texas, and one of the moms is counting on following your Juan Diego directions. She’s all kinds of nervous, so I came hunting to calm her nerves. LOL! By the way, seeing my dear friend painting her St. Martins for your swap (when I visited her before Christmas) was my inspiration to organize a swap. 😉 What fun!

        • Just emailed them to you. For anyone else wishing for them, I will post them Wednesday Jan 28. 🙂

  11. They did turn out beautifully! I did Maria Goretti and was so excited to be a part of this group – even from several states away. I highly recommend doing this with a group – otherwise I would never have been ambitious enough to paint so many saints at once. Of course now I want to get some others done…. Our patron school saints need doing, and a few name saints for our family as well. Thanks for all your advice Lacy, and all the pictures! I was able to show these to family members that live further away and couldn’t see them at my house all finished. Do you store yours in a box? Currently mine are all out on two windowsills in my living room. My youngest plays with them constantly so I can’t decide if I want them put away, or just to leave them out for her curious little fingers.

    • Ours are piled in a basket, and have been in our living room. I don’t usually allow toys to be kept in the living room, so this is a big deal for us! They just bring such a smile to my face every time I see the kids playing with them (which is practically every day) so I like them to be easily accessible. I definitely don’t just want them collecting dust on a shelf somewhere- they’re meant to be played with. 🙂

  12. This is so cute! I love all the saints.

    My friends and I are going to do a swap. Do you know when you’ll post again on this topic? We are all newbies and would love more tips!

  13. Thank you for sharing this idea. It motivated me to get a group of Moms together to have an exchange. I look forward to the rest of the posts from the series. May God bless your efforts!

  14. This post inspired us to do an exchange- a friend from our homeschool group is organizing it- 50!!!! saints will be painted! We just got our pegs and the ‘deadline’ is June- wish us luck!

  15. Can you send me the information on the saints that was put on the index cards, please?

    • Everyone wrote their own, and I don’t have a digital copy of them. Also, I’m pretty sure most people plagiarized from the internet, so I couldn’t post the cards anyway. lol. Each person who painted a Saint just wrote their own little bio.

  16. These are amazing!!!! Is there any exchanges in the Los Angeles area? I would love to be part of one!

  17. Hi! I am doing the St. Patrick peg dolls; Are St. Patrick’s crosses on his front and head gold or red? it almost looks red in the picture.

    • It’s a metallic gold. Be sure to check out St. Ambrose’s miter- it’s my favorite! 🙂

  18. Margaret K says

    Hi. I am just wondering if anyone has converted your set to a 2 3/4″ wooden peg and how did they do it? Thanks! Happy Holy Week Everyone!!! 🙂

    • People have converted to all different pegs by printing at different percentages. I think I was told for that size to print at 70%. It might take a little bit of experimentation. Monica at Equipping Catholic Families posted some specific directions, so you can check over there. 🙂

  19. These are all so amazing! I was wondering if you have a printable St. Rose of Lima that I may purchase?

  20. Hi Lacy, we are going to be hosting an exchange soon. We tried the link for where you purchased the pegs but it is inactive. Do you have an updated link?

  21. Courtney Estudillo says

    Hi Lacy!
    I am participating in a peg doll exchange in January. Can I purchase 15-20 printables for the same saint! Thank you!!!

  22. Barbara Cogdill says

    Is there a printable for the Saints peg dolls?

    • Hi Barbara –
      If you go to the peg doll resource page, you’ll be able to follow links to the four sets of printables that Lacy currently has available – a saints set, Nativity set, Passion set, and Resurrection set.

      Peg Doll Resource Page:

      Angie, Catholic Icing Project Manager