Whether you are in love with the retro trolls from the 60s or the zany trolls from the recent movie, these peg trolls are sure to win you over, too!
Yesterday Michelle and I were talking about a new project for Wee Folk Art. I had a couple of thoughts when Michelle said, “Hey, how come we’ve never made peg trolls? The colored roving would be perfect.” Well, duh! Why indeed had I never made them? I know my collection of retro trolls often pays a visit to the gnomes in The Thicket, but why not make some peg trolls to join in the merriment? Well, it was a very short conversation before I was off and running! And oh… what fun I had! As a matter of fact I got quite carried away. Big shocker, right? After making 10 peg trolls I thought I had better stop… for now! Well, when Pixie saw them, I knew it was worth the effort. She literally squealed! She fell in love with them, and as always, she preferred the faceless trolls to ones with faces. A Pixie after my own heart!
Of course, these are very simple peg trolls, but then again the retro trolls were simple, too, If you would like, just use these as a starting point. You can make them as simple or as fussy as you like. Trust me when I tell you this is just the beginning of my relationship with peg trolls. I see a village in my future!
BTW… I made these using the Large Wooden Peg People because they more closely matched the size of “real trolls” and because I wanted them to be larger than the gnomes in The Thicket. If you would like to use smaller pegs, simply reduce the pattern to fit your dolls.
NOTE: Not for children under 3 years old. Also, this is the first time I’ve made these. I don’t know how well the roving will hold up to “hard” play. Although you can rebrush the trolls’ hair, you lose hair with each brushing. This are meant for “gentle” play!
Materials for Peg Trolls
- Large Wooden Peg People – 3 9/16″ x 1 1/8″
- acrylic paint – Check out this glitter paint
- crafting glue
- wool roving
- 100% wool felt or wool blend felt
Directions for Peg Trolls
Important Note: Wooden peg people are not all created equal! Even pegs bought from the same company can be slightly different. I highly suggest you make a copy of the pattern, cut it out of paper, and “try it on” your wooden pegs. Make adjusts to the paper pattern before cutting out your felt.
Choose your roving colors for the hair. Then mix up some paint a few shades lighter. I started with colors that matched the roving then added white to tone them down. I also added some water to thin the paint. I wanted the paint to be more of a wash than a heavy coat of paint.
After the paint dried, I went over the pegs with a clear glitter paint to give them extra glitz! It seems they no longer make the paint I used, but DecoArt makes a similar paint which can be found HERE.
Using a pencil, lightly mark where the hair will go.
Optional Faces: In our household, we normally do not put faces on our pegs dolls. If you leave the face blank, children can assign the emotions they want their doll to have. However, some children may feel unsettled with faceless dolls. If that is the case, certainly add a face. If you want to add a face I suggest you do so now before you add the hair. In the unlikely event you “mess up”, you can sand off the face, repaint and begin again. That is much harder to do if you already added the hair.
If you feel unskilled in drawing, keep it simple. Even the simplest of lines denotes a face. Probably the biggest mistake people make when adding a face is to misplace the facial features. Just follow this simple trick and you should be fine. Think of a face as a round circle. Now, draw 2 intersecting lines through the circle creating 4 equal quarters.
Most people tend to place the eyes too high on the face. Draw your eyes directly on the horizontal line. It may seem like this is too low, but it will give you perfect placement every time. Add a nose and mouth. Although you are going for symmetry, remember this… human faces are not completely symmetric, so your dolls’ face can be off a bit, too!
Practice drawing some peg troll faces on a piece of paper first. Here are a few I drew:
Using a pencil, lightly mark a horizontal and vertical line on the front of the doll’s face then draw in facial features. You can simply erase if you are not happy with the results. Using a fine tipped black permanent marker, trace the lines and fill in with paint or colored permanent markers or pens.
To add hair, begin by cutting the roving into 8″ pieces.
Separate the roving into thinner 8″ sections. The pieces should be thick enough that you can maintain the full 8″ length. If you make the strips too thin, they will fall apart.
Fold one strip in half creating a loop.
Place glue along the hair line. Starting at the top of the head, take a folded piece of roving and stick it to the glue. Important: when adding the pieces, make sure the fold is on the glue line. If you positioned the roving correctly, the two sections of the roving strip should be directly on top of one another like this. (This will give the hair a smooth look when it dries.) *See NOTE at the bottom of the page.
Keep adding roving pieces until the whole glue line is covered. Allow this to set up for a couple of minutes. If you are careful you do not have to wait until it is completely dried before you continue.
Carefully turn the doll over, making sure not to disturb the roving you just glued to the doll. Add another line of glue to the back of the head and add more of the roving pieces that have been folded in half.
Continue adding glue and roving until the entire back of the head is covered. Make sure when you are adding the final row of roving at the base of the head that the fold is on the glue line. Again, this will give a smooth appearance to the hair. ASIDE… gluey fingers and roving can result in Hobbit Hands 😉 I had to clean my fingers a few times to make sure I didn’t get glue in places it shouldn’t be!
Allow the glue to set up for about 15 minutes before continuing.
From the felt cut out the dress or skirt from the pattern. You can place the glue directly on the peg or on the piece of clothing. Glue in place.
When the glue in the hair is thoroughly dried, you can align the wool fibers and shape the hair by lightly brushing it. Make sure you do this gently. A fair amount of roving will come out in the brush. You can also shorten the length of the hair by holding the hair tightly in one hand (preventing you from pulling on the area where the roving is glued to the head) and plucking the top of the hair until you are satisfied with the shape.
Here are our final peg trolls ready for play. If you would like you can add additional clothing or hair bling! Pixie loved them just the way they are and didn’t want anything else added to them, but with your peg trolls… your choice!
And here are our peg trolls with faces!
*NOTE: When I made the first peg troll, I didn’t pay attention to how I added the hair and some of the roving strip folds turned sideways. Although this might have been a neat look if I had turned them all sideways, I think they look more like traditional trolls without the “curl”.