Making Peg Dolls & More – a very satisfying craft book for families

posted in: Margaret Bloom | 6

Making Peg Dolls & More: Toys that spin, fly and bring sweet dreams is a second book by Margaret Bloom full of ideas about how to make the most delightful peg dolls.

pegdolls

Like many families, now we’re in the run up to Christmas, we’re spending time getting crafty together, making presents and decorations, and this book has given us hours of delight. Full of ideas about how to customise wooden peg dolls into adorable characters, Bloom also provides lots of tutorials for how to use your peg dolls in innovative ways, such as in mobiles, wands, wall hangings and pincushion embellishments.

Super clear and friendly instructions, made beautiful and even easier to follow by the inclusion of simple but beautiful watercolour illustrations along with many photos of all sorts of children making and playing with peg dolls made sure this book really appealed to my kids as soon as they set eyes on it.

That the instructions are easy to follow and result in items which the kids are really proud of was clearly demonstrated by the way my 9 year old, M, took the book off by herself and created her first ever felt toys:

pegdolls3

Although M was totally absorbed by herself in her sewing, as a parent I especially enjoyed Bloom’s emphasis in her instructions on how the whole family can take part in making their own peg dolls; she clearly indicates which parts even the youngest children can get involved with, and encourages us grown-ups to be involved, but also to let our kids do their own things with the dolls. This book isn’t about parents turning out coffee-table-book-worthy gorgeous ornaments (although we’re definitely encouraged to play, sew and create along side the kids); it really is about facilitating children’s exploratory play and creativity.

The book includes a list of suppliers of peg dolls, felt and one or two other items that are especially nice to use (such as artificial/millinery flower stamens) and I would heartily encourage you to gift a bundle of supplies, including some watercolours, with this book so that the recipient can dive in straight away. I’ve personally used Craftshapes for my blank wooden peg dolls in the past and they’ve always be lovely to deal with.

What we started with
What we started with

Here are some of the characters we created:

pegdolls1

pegdolls2

Whilst painting, sewing, sticking and playing we listened to:

  • Wedding of the Painted Doll, one of the hit songs from the musical “The Broadway Melody” – indeed, it reach #1 in the charts in 1929! Another version with more lyrics can be heard here.
  • The doll dance from Delibe’s ballet Coppélia
  • Come Over To My Dollhouse by Lunch Money. Whilst in some ways this is a world away from the lovely peg dolls made by Bloom (which are the antithesis to Barbie, who does feature in this song), the video is enormous fun and might inspire you and your kids to make your own video for your favourite music.


  • If you want ideas about how to take things a step further with your peg dolls take a look at:

  • Using corks instead of wooden peg doll blanks. Especially good if you drink a lot of champagne…
  • Using acorns instead of wooden peg doll blanks – I really love these!
  • Turning pinecones and wooden beads into dolls – a priceless idea from Margaret Bloom herself. In fact there are lots of lovely free tutorials on Bloom’s website – I encourage you to take a look! I particularly like the bat tutorial.

  • We’ve thoroughly enjoyed Making Peg Dolls & More: Toys that spin, fly and bring sweet dreams: It is beautiful to look at and filled with enticing projects, which are both achievable and give results to delight in. It is also a book which is very proud to be just a starting point; it’s really about giving you ideas which will bloom in you and your kids’ imaginations.

    What family craft books would you recommend?

    Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.

    6 Responses

    1. SIMONE FRASER

      Love-love-love this post! Thanks again, Zoe! I love the ballet Coppelia. It was the first live ballet I saw as a child’ sigh.

    2. This post has brought back so many wonderful childhood memories. My sister and I often made peg dolls as children and my daughter would love to make these. One to add to my Christmas wishlist 🙂
      Catherine recently posted..Happy Hooves Oh! Oh! Oh! by A. Bogie & Rebecca Elliott

    3. Catherine, if you bundle the book up with some of the things you need (felt, blanks,etc) this will make a gorgeous present that will give hours of delight 🙂
      Zoe recently posted..Making Peg Dolls & More – a very satisfying craft book for families

    4. We have the first book and have had so much fun with it–I was wondering if the second would be more of the same, but it sounds like there are lots of new ideas, too! Thanks for sharing your creations!
      Ana recently posted..Top Ten Arts Books of 2014 from Booklist Online

    5. Hi Anamaria, we have the 1st book too. There is a slight overlap eg on best paints to use, how to get kids involved in a general sense, but the projects are quite different. So it works both ways – either book works well on its own, but they are also different enough to make it worthwhile getting them both.

    6. That’s good to know, Zoe–thanks! I agree that book + supplies would make a great gift for just about any kid, too.
      Anamaria recently posted..Top Ten Arts Books of 2014 from Booklist Online

    Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.