Wooden Animals For Peg Dolls (That Peg Dolls Can Actually “Ride”)

As I’m sure you know, my kids and I are totally obsessed with Peg dolls. I wanted to get some horses and other animals that the peg dolls could actually ride in, but couldn’t find any etsy shops that make them big enough for the size of pegs that we use. So we made our own. πŸ™‚

pattern for peg doll animals- horse, donkey, camel

I drew out a pattern for a horse, a camel, and a donkey. My dad is a carpenter, so he cut them out for me, then drilled holes in the top so the peg dolls can go inside. I’m lucky to have him- I know.

making peg doll animals

My husband is reallyΒ  handy, too, but my dad is the one with the ridiculously awesome workshop. πŸ˜‰

how to make horses for peg dolls

making peg doll horse

You can download my patterns here

*Warning* The back legs of our camels have been breaking. The rest of these patterns seem pretty sturdy, and are holding up to my 4 kiddos. I did make the pattern a big thicker on the camel’s back leg than ours is, but it might be a good idea to forgo the camel’s little tail to avoid the leg snapping off.

The kids started playing with them right away, waaaaaay before I actually got around to painting them. (Although we did sand them before giving them to the kids.)

peg doll animals

Eventually I did paint them, then sealed them with 3 coats of Mod Podge each. I didn’t seal the inside of the drilled hole, just sanded and painted. Glossy things have a tendency to stick to other glossy things when left for extended periods, so I didn’t want them to pull the finish off of each other if left overnight. Here are the results:

Horses for peg dolls

horses for big peg dolls

peg doll horses

peg doll horses for saint peg dolls

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St. Paul on his horse

st. paul peg doll on horse

Sometimes St. Nicholas rides a white horse, sometimes a donkey… we didn’t make any reindeer.

st. nicholas peg doll with white horse

Donkey for peg dolls

peg doll donkey

trip to bethlehem peg dolls

Camels for peg dolls

wooden camels for peg dolls

When you look at these next pictures, I want you to guess what my next post is going to be… πŸ˜‰

wise men on camels peg dolls from nativity set

wooden camels for peg dolls- 3 wise men

no room at the inn peg doll inn keeper nativity

That’s right- a printable peg doll nativity set is right around the corner! It will be ready and posted by the end of the week. Very excited!

Find all of my peg doll resources here


  1. Have you tried Minwax polyurethane furniture spray instead of mod podge? We have had long term luck with Minwax it doesn’t crack or peel or stick to things once it’s dry and it won’t absorb your toddlers spit. But I am not sure how it works on unpainted surfaces. I know it doesn’t cooperate with Sharpies- it makes them run. But if you are just using paint or paint markers it works fine.

    • Just be careful with white paint, it will turn the white yellowish! I bought a non-yellowing clear coat from deco-art from Amazon for my white robed angels.

      • Good point- Mod Podge will not yellow the white. πŸ™‚

      • In my experience, the oil-based polyeurathane creates a yellowish cast when painted over white, but the water-based version does not. (I had to re-refinish my first child’s dresser when it turned out yellow once I put the oil-based polyeurathane on…not the look I wanted for the baby’s room, and quite frustrating since I was several months pregnant. Switching to water-based worked fine.)

  2. These are so awesome! I can’t wait for the nativity set! yay!!

  3. These look great! One more question for you about peg dolls… What sort of paint do you use? I’ve just been using regular acrylic craft paint, and it works great, but I wondered if that was the best choice for durability/safety for kids?
    Love your blog! Wish we knew each other in real life… πŸ™‚

    • Yes, acrylics is what you want. Any wooden toy that gets a lot of wear and tear is going to get a little banged up around the edges eventually, but the sealing really helps with that. As far as safety… I don’t see any problem with acrylic paint, but I don’t know about eating it. Peg dolls aren’t for the chewing toddler- that will chew the paint off anyway. And ya, I wish we knew each other in real life, too. πŸ™‚

      • Thanks!! I guess I’ll have to just keep a close eye on my little one. He is super attached to the Chris Kratt (from Wild Kratts) figure I made, haha.

  4. Love your peg dolls! We’ve made them all (several sets for gifts) and anticipate the next sets! How large is the hole drilled into the wooden animals? Thank you

  5. My dad plans to make these for me too after I showed him your post. πŸ™‚ What is the thickness of the wood?

    • It’s 1 1/2 inch thick. My kids just love these and it’s so special that they were made by “Grandaddy”. Glad your dad is handy, too. πŸ™‚

  6. So cute Lacy! Looks great amd fun! My 7 year old is enjoying the saint peg dolls I jist received at my first exchange. Lots of fun and work! Painting 13 St. Kateris and St. Lukes took alot of time. Heres my post about the beautiful dolls I got! http://www.asliceofsmithlife.com/2015/11/my-first-saint-peg-doll-exchange-what.html?m=1

    • I have already seen your post! You got a lot of good ones- that’s a talented bunch of ladies! πŸ™‚

  7. Hi,

    Are you saling decoupages of Three Kings, Mary, Jesus and Joseph ?

  8. I just said to my husband last night while I was working on my sons saint dolls that I wish there was a nativity set; you just made my day!!! You have no idea how much easier you make it to teach my children the Catholic faith since I am not creative at all Thank you from the bottom of my heart

  9. ElizabethClare says

    Those are so great! I am super late to the party and have only just completely my first two peg dolls. My two year old hasn’t put St. Lucia down since I gave it to her. I think more will be in the works for Christmas. I think you just started a new trend!

  10. Am I the only one wishing the wooden animals had a “buy” button?


    These look great! Love the Spirit working through you….

    • I know- I asked my dad if he wanted to sell the cut-outs and he said no. I’m with him- I didn’t want to paint them all either. πŸ˜‰

      • Would he sell them just cut….not painted or anything! I don’t mind doing that?

      • I had the same thought as Lauren; what about pay in advance for the unfinished product? I don’t mind painting or paying in advance and waiting in line.

        • I might be opening an Etsy shop of very detailed peg doll Saints and have been dabbling in woodworking to possibly include some finished and/or unfinished peg doll animals. I altered the design a little from Lacy’s and free-handed it (so as to not just copy her work!) and my test animals turned out ok! Look for Avila Artistry on Etsy in January or February πŸ™‚

  11. What is the size of the hole drilled into the horse figure?
    Thanks Don

  12. Can we buy them from your dad????? I would LOVE them!!

  13. Phyllis McIntyre says

    We sell all kinds of unfinished wooden vehicles and critters for peg dolls if that is what you are looking for. I have been having so much fun creating things for peg dolls to ride on! We have horses, unicorns, donkeys and camels to name a few. Look for Clickity Clack Collectibles on Etsy.

    • Amazing! I actually have one of your peg doll buses. My kids love it! I am loving your new stuff! And actually affordable stuff too. πŸ™‚