Not Painted Peg Dolls – The magic behind my work

You might look at my peg dolls wondering why they’re a bit more expensive than others you are seeing online.

Every single peg doll that passes across my table goes through a labour-intensive process. Firstly, I draw the designs in pencil straight on to the doll. This can take a few hours on each one until the features and details are just right.

When I’m happy, it’s time for burning my drawings into the wood using the art of pyrography. This is the technique of using a red hot tool to permanently scorch the line work into the dolls. This can be lengthy depending on the complexity of detail.

When I first began in early 2015 I was the only peg doll artist in the UK (and as far as I’m aware in Europe) to use pyrography to create peg dolls.

making my peg dolls, pyrography, how to make peg dolls

Once this is done, I am ready to sand back the doll to tidy the burned lines and prep the wood for colouring.


This is the lengthiest part of making Doli Dwt peg dolls. It can take at least A WHOLE DAY to colour one 9cm (adult) peg doll, and about a week to colour a whole family. This is because they are not just painted peg dolls. My go-to medium is coloured pencils. Again when it comes to creating peg dolls this is an unusual technique, as most are painted.

If you can imagine sitting down with a colouring book, it takes much longer to colour a section of the image with pencil than if you were to lay down a wash of paint. It’s the same with peg dolls. It takes a lot longer to lay down colour on them with pencil than painting them. However, I just love the beautiful effect pencils create on wood grain and the fact that it makes my dolls unique and instantly recognisable.

That’s not to say that I never use paint in my work. My mission is always to create the best representation of your loved ones’ outfits, and if a combination of pencil with acrylic or watercolour paint is what will give the desired effect then that’s what I will of course use.

You might enjoy taking a peep of this hyper-lapse video of me colouring a part of a peg doll to see what it involves!

There are lots of other videos of my processes, including wood burning, on my YouTube channel.

This recent commission for a beautiful peg doll family portrait highlights how each order comes together.

I’d already worked for this lovely customer in the past, creating cake toppers for her wedding. I was absolutely delighted when she emailed asking for an updated set to represent their growing family!

painted peg dolls, family portrait, wooden peg dolls, personalised peg dolls, wedding cake topper, wooden cake topperUnique gift, peg doll family, personalised p,eg dolls, peg dolls uk

As always, the process starts by working from photos to draw the peg dolls. These ones have some really special details in the shape of the children’s favourite toys, so they took a while until I was happy that they were just right!

Then I burn the whole family with the pyrography tool – sounds painful doesn’t it?! But I can assure you nobody is hurt in the making of my peg dolls. Except maybe the odd burn to my own fingers!

The fun really begins when I start to colour the clothes! This commission had some really exciting/challenging details to add. First up was this tiny floral hedgehog. When scaled down to fit the doll, it is smaller than my thumbnail!

Here are the finished two children with their cuddly toys. Lots of detail is packed into the tiny 6cm peg dolls! Spot the tiny monkey-face socks!

Mum’s dress is exceptionally beautiful! As with most pretty dresses, it had to be created in stages, sealing bright colours as I go so that the high-pigmentation of the pencils aren’t carried across to other areas while I work.

Dad’s shirt is not short of detail either!

Together they make a fab peg doll couple!

painted peg dolls, family portrait, wooden peg dolls, personalised peg dolls, wedding cake topper, wooden cake topper

I hope you agree that they are an absolutely gorgeous family. They were a total pleasure to recreate in peg doll form!

painted peg dolls, family portrait, wooden peg dolls, personalised peg dolls, wedding cake topper, wooden cake topper

Hopefully, this has helped illustrate that my Doli Dwt dolls are so much more than painted peg dolls. They are beautiful, detailed heirlooms that will be displayed and treasured for years to come.

If you’d love some for yourself, or someone you love, pop to this page for more information and guide prices. Then drop me a line using the contact form and we can chat about your ideas!

doli dwt, peg dolls, personalised peg dolls, peg doll, peg doll family, cake topper, wedding cake topper, personalised wedding gift