By Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Like a paper chain
made of every single
we link up
to level up
and aspire to go
higher and higher
pulling each other up
so that she can be
a powerful link in our paper chain
encouraging each other to be
gentle yet strong
loving and kind
each one reaching out
until our link crosses this world
like the change
we long to see
We can’t do it until everyone joins
until all are invited
Won’t you be a link in our paper chain for change?
Peg dolls of various sizes “Man” size 2 -3/8 in. H “Angel” size 2 in. H “Small/child” 1-11/16 in. H
Watercolor paints - This tutorial used our Stockmar watercolor set
Paper, wool felt and other fabric, bits of yarn, and glue
STEP ONE: MIXING COLORS
If a paint set does not come with brown tones, we will need to start by mixing these. Younger children may have difficulty with this, and so a parent or teacher can pre-mix skin toned paint.
However older children can be instructed in color theory and mix the colors on their own. If you look at a color wheel, you will notice that, blue is directly across the wheel from orange, yellow is across from purple, and red is across from green. These pairs of primary and secondary colors are called complementary colors, and when you mix complementary colors the result will be rich brown tones.
Before painting your peg dolls, I highly recommend practicing and playing with these tonal mixtures. If your mixture of blue and orange is looking too blue, add a little orange to warm up the tone, and if your mixture of yellow and purple is looking too yellow, add a dot of purple until you find a balance. Another way to deepen the tone is to add a dot of black, and always be sure to test your colors on a piece of scrap paper before painting your dolls.
STEP TWO: PAINTING SKIN TONES
Once you are comfortable mixing brown tones, paint the heads of your dolls.
STEP THREE: PAINTING HAIR
Lightly sketching the outline of how you would like to paint hair can help as a guide. Be sure to leave enough space to paint the faces on your dolls!
STEP FOUR: PAINTING FACES
I’ve painted the faces on my dolls with quiet expressions; you can paint your faces any way you like! Are your dolls feeling happy? Sad? Excited? Do they have brown eyes? Blue? Or green?
STEP FIVE: CLOTHING AND OTHER DECORATIONS
Are you making a doll to look like yourself, a family member, or a friend? What colors do you like to wear? What colors do they like to wear? If you wish, you can add yarn for hair, or other items to personalize your dolls. Add hats! Add fairy wings! Let your imagination fly!
Thank you to Margaret Bloom, author of Making Peg Dolls, for this stunning tutorial. We'd also like to thank Vanessa Brantley-Newton for letting us use her poem Paper Chains.
What other paint do you recommend using?
I’d also like to know the answer to the above & if there is a printable version of this tutorial.
Thak you so much.
Do you have a suggestion on a way to seal the peg dolls? My youngest still puts toys in her mouth, and I’d love to make some peg dolls for her too, but don’t want her eating paint – I have thought of staining the dolls with food coloring, but still they need sealed so it doesn’t transfer color when wet. I appreciate any suggestions you may have!
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