Wooden peg dolls vs paper peg dolls – a comparison

How to paint peg dolls tips

Peg dolls are great. They are a fun way to express one’s creativity. They can be painted into almost anything: people, animals, famous characters, monsters, princesses, elfs, fairies… They can be used as ornaments, decorations for the house, art pieces, chess pieces… And they are relatively inexpensive.

Peg dolls are most often made of wood. But other types of peg dolls do exist. Some are made of paper, plastic, resin…

In this quick study, you will learn how wooden peg dolls compare to paper peg dolls (also known as spun cotton peg dolls).

wooden peg doll cute fox
Paper peg doll fox (left) vs Wooden peg doll fox (right)


Winner: wooden peg doll.

Although paper peg dolls are surprisingly sturdy, they are not as sturdy as wood. There is little contest here between the two.

Paper peg dolls (also known as spun cotton peg dolls) are made with a soft type of paper that resembles tissue paper. This paper is rolled very tight into a doll shape and sealed.


wooden peg doll paper peg dollThere is no hole at the bottom of a wooden peg doll

Winner: paper peg doll.

I find that paper peg dolls are easier to paint. For two main reasons:

1-  Paper peg dolls have a hole in the bottom. Therefore they can be held with a wooden stick (a bamboo skewer works great). This makes painting paper peg dolls fast and easy. For example, I can paint an entire paper paper peg doll with one solid color in less than 30 seconds without having to touch it with my fingers.

2- Paint dries faster on paper than on wood. Painting peg dolls can be time consuming. There often is a need to wait for color to dry before applying the next one.


Winner: paper peg doll.

You may want to add miniature clothes made of felt or fabric to your peg dolls. You may also want to cut out animal ears in a piece of paper and glue them onto your peg doll. Or you may want to make a little scarf out of a piece of pipe cleaner and fold it around your peg doll. It’s nice to be able to accessorize.

peg doll fox woodland animals

I find that wooden peg dolls are a little more tricky to accessorize. For example, if you make a hat for your peg doll and the fit is a little too tight, you can still make it fit onto a paper peg doll. But you couldn’t make it fit onto a wooden peg doll.

Let’s use another example. Let’s imagine you want to add little animal ears to your peg doll (animal ears can be cut out in a piece of strong paper). With a wooden peg doll, your only solution would be to glue these ears to your doll. But with a paper peg doll, you can make a little incision into the doll with a blade and slide the ears in. The ears would be anchored much more solidly this way. You can then paint around the ears to hide the cut marks.


Winner: paper peg doll.

Did you know that it is possible to transfer an image to a peg doll? This is a great idea if for example you have little faith into your artistic capabilities :)

The technique is different for a wooden peg doll and for a paper peg doll.

For a wooden peg doll, the technique involves printing the image on a piece of wax paper (or a piece of label paper with the labels removed), and then pressing this piece of paper onto the wood.

For a paper peg doll, the technique involves printing the image on a tissue, and then mod podging the piece of tissue onto the paper peg doll.

The problem with the wood transfer technique is that it is designed to work on flat wood surfaces (cylindrical surfaces are ok too). Therefore, it would be very challenging to transfer a print to the head of a wooden peg doll.

On the other hand, the tissue transfer technique can work on flat and spherical surfaces. It can be used for facial features.

How to transfer prints on spun cotton


At the end of the day, peg dolls are wonderful products whatever they are made of. Which ever kind of peg doll you use, you are the real winner, because you will have a chance to work on your creativity skills, have fun, and end up with something beautiful.


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