Fairies are delicate creatures, right? Not this time. Our peg doll fairies are made from hardwood so that they can withstand rough toddler’s play!
We like wooden toys. When our kids were in their toy-gnawing stage, wood seemed a better bet than painted or plastic toys. Once they became toddlers, it was gratifying that those toys could survive falling and banging. But my favourite thing about wooden toys has always been that with a few tools we could add more to our collection. We’ve made quite a few wooden toys over the years! A fairy tree house among them. We built it during the first year of this blog and during the second year of our son’s life. That was four years ago! I painted a couple of peg dolls into fairies for that one, but the idea of making a wooden fairy to complement our wooden house stuck in my head. Back then, I imagined using a thin sheet of plywood or basswood to make the wings.
About a year ago, we started experimenting with different kinds of hardwood. It was amazing to see what a striking contrast maple and walnut could make, especially when oiled! Then the idea of fairies came up again, and we decided to make them completely from wood, wing designs and everything. It was a fun challenge and didn’t prove to be very difficult.
So, if you strive to create a Waldorf environment for your kids or if you plainly like wooden toys, the wooden fairies would make a nice addition to any wooden block sets.
Materials for Making Peg Doll Fairies
The post includes Amazon affiliate links to the products we used.
- Peg dolls. We’ve used both the ones nicknamed “men dolls” and thesones nicknamed “girl dolls” – and slightly prefer the latter.
- Different kinds of hardwood. Our favourites are maple (light yellow colour), cherry (light brown colour and beautiful wavy pattern), walnut (dark brown) and aromatic cedar (dark pink). We started with 1″ thick boards, though thinner boards can also be used. Using thinner board (around 1/4″ thickness) will allow you to skip certain steps.
- Dowels. You can also make your own by using plug cutters, like we did.
- Wood glue.
- Pure tung oil. Optional.
Tutorial for Making Peg Doll Fairies
1 — Make a wing pattern out of cardboard and trace it on the pieces of wood you’re planning to use. From left to right: walnut, aromatic cedar, and maple.
2 — Cut cylinders to use as contrasting inserts. Use dowels, or cut hardwood cylinders using plug cutters in a drill press.
3 — Drill holes for inserting the plugs. It is a good idea to compare the sizing of your plugs/dowels and the corresponding drill bits on scrap wood first, to make sure they are a good size match. Just enough clearance between plug and hole for a layer of glue is best. Generously slather the holes and plugs with glue and assemble, then leave them until the glue has thoroughly set.
4 — Once the glue is dry, cut out the wing shapes with a scroll saw or fret saw.
5 — Cut the 1″ thick wing pieces into 3 slices each. If you used thinner wood, you can skip this step. Since thinner wood wasn’t available to us, we used a bandsaw fence and push sticks on our bandsaw to make this step safe, but it could also been done with a hand saw. After the slices are cut, sand them smooth to bring out the beauty of the grain.
6 –Sand a flat spot on the body of the peg dolls that is big enough to glue the wings to. Don’t be shy – removing more will make a stronger joint and actually make the fairy balance better. Placing the bottoms of the wings at the same level as the foot of the peg doll will also help the fairy to stand stably. Glue the wings on.
7 — After this, you can brush tung oil over the fairies. Pure tung oil is food-safe, and it seals the wood while making the colours more vibrant, but you don’t have to use it if you prefer the feel of unfinished wood. I do, for some projects. Follow the instructions that come with tung oil for applying it. I usually apply it with a silicone brush, then wipe the excess of oil off with a microfiber cloth after it has soaked in for a few minutes. This particular type of cloth is absorbent, but has minimum lint.
Here is another design, based around a different type of peg doll. From left to right: cherry wood, aromatic cedar, and walnut.
And here the fairies are occupying a fairy tree house, built from the fairy tree house block set we made for our kids!
More Fairy Crafts!
Make a fairy door to go into the corner of the kids’ playroom .
Make a fairy meadow play mat from felt!