Thursday, April 28, 2016

Passion and Resurrection Peg Doll Ideas

Catholic peg dolls may become my new obsession :).  After making gifts for several kiddos this Christmas, my mind has continued to plan and think about how these simple toys can be used to teach truths of the faith. So far, I've made lots of little peg saints, a church and Mass set, and a Nativity.   This Holy Week, my mind turned to the Passion of Jesus, and I thought it would be great to have a set that would help kids act out the stories of Good Friday through Easter Sunday.

Then, Rigger Art offered to send me one of their painting palettes to review, and I knew that this would be the perfect project to try it out on.  Considering I usually paint using an old plastic lid for a palette, this was a big step up in the world.  I mean seriously, look at how pretty and organized it is!  My Type-A-self, combined with my right-brain-creativeness, is so happy.

This palette has 33 mixing wells, its 10"x 5" size is huge without taking up a lot of space, and while I don't often paint while standing, it does have a thumb hole that allows you to comfortably and securely hold with one hand.  It lays flat but also folds closed.  I took advantage of that feature while painting so that I could get up and do adult things like laundry.  When I came back to it, I was able to resume working without wasting all of my acrylic paint.  Also, when I was done I was pretty impressed with how well it cleaned up, leaving it ready for my next project.  Click here to see more details and reviews:
Large Watercolor Folding Palette -  Rigger Art Acrylic & Oil Palettes. 
(Note that this and other links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase through the link, I receive a small percentage at no cost to you.  I'll probably just use it to buy supplies for my classroom, so thanks!)

So, because there are a lot of pictures in this post, I'm going to list what I did out in steps.  You could take any part of the idea and make it your own :)

1. Paint Good Friday background.  This was done on a lightweight 8x10 piece of basswood.  I just painted a simple gray sky, tan hill, and the two crosses to the left and right for the two thieves crucified with Christ.
Artist Panel Unprimed Basswood 7/8 Inch 8X10

2. I already had a peg doll Jesus, but I knew I wanted to create a way for kids to reenact the Crucifixion.  I painted a thick wooden cross that is about 8" tall, and then also painted a smaller cross that is about 4" tall (the same height as the peg dolls).
Unfinished Wooden Wall Cross
Wooden Unfinished 4-1/4 Inch High Cross 

3.  I then drilled holes in the left, right, and bottom of the smaller cross.  I think my holes were about 5/16." They just need to be big enough for the head of a small nail to pass all the way through.

4. Next I put the small cross on top of the larger one and hammered in three nails until they were flush with the small cross.
You can see that the small cross can be taken on and off the nails on the large cross:

5. This is because the small cross is going to become the background for the Crucified Christ.  If you are not super confident painting people, I took pictures of my simple steps:

Paint an oval head and basic stick figure with arms outstretched and hands where the nail holes are.  Then legs seem a little trickier, but are just bent slightly at the knee with the feet where the nail hole is:
Then fill in the shape of the body:

6. Next up, paint Jesus' face, hair, beard, crown of thorns, and garment.  I also added red paint at all his wounds, including a little inside the nail holes.

So here you can see the Corpus on the larger cross, being held by the nails:

So here is the cross standing up in front of the Good Friday scene:

And here is Jesus attached to it:

Here I've gathered the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and John at the food of the cross.

These are the same Peg Doll Bodies I have ordered a couple of times.  They have always been uniform and high quality, and I haven't found a better price:
Wood Doll Bodies - Woman 3-1/2 inch - Bag of 10
Wood Doll Bodies - Man 3-9/16 inch - Bag of 10

7. Ok, on to Easter Sunday.  On the back of the basswood piece with the Good Friday scene, I painted a garden scene.  Bluish sky, tomb, flowers:

8. Next I painted a 4" circle plaque a matching gray for the stone to roll in front of the tomb.
Walnut Hollow Pine Circle Plaque, 4 x 4 x 0.63-Inch
So the body of Christ can be "laid" in the tomb and covered with the stone:

And Mary and John and Mary Magdalene can wait in the garden:

And then on Easter morning, Mary Magdalene visits the tomb, and finds angels and then the Risen Christ!

And a little side note, it worked out well that the 8x10" basswood background fits right in the lid of the wood box I have ready to store all the peg dolls:

I really loved how this set turned out, and I can't wait to keep making peg dolls and scenes for telling the story of the faith to kiddos.  And I really loved experimenting with my new paint palette. :)

Click on this pic to see the Peg Doll Church and Mass set, along with ten peg Saints:
(Includes some links to supplies and resources, including Q&A in the comments)

Click on this pic to see the Peg Doll Nativity Set:
(Includes some links to supplies and resources, including Q&A in the comments)

So, what kind of scene or set of peg saints should I start planning next? :)


  1. The Last Supper? Jesus walking on the water? Feeding of the 5,000? All those would be great. I really like this, very creative.

    1. Love your ideas, Joyce! I think that a set of the 12 Apostles will be on my up-next list, and then many of those stories would be easy to play act!