This wooden peg doll project worked wonderfully for a group of 7-10 year olds, heck- any age, myself and my other kids (ages 4, 11, 12) were just as into it as the younger party goers.
I found these pre-cut wooden peg dolls at Michaels craft store, you can find them at just about any craft store. We made tables and chairs from different sized wooden spools and flat round wooden disks (all can be purchased in bags of 10 or so at the craft store). We pre-glued the tables and chairs together, then pre-painted the people and the furniture with acrylic craft paint. Pre-painting made things run much more smoothly at the party and entirely avoided the issue of paint messes.
We got a little crazy painting the hair and little faces. Two-toned hair added a some dimension (and silliness). I put a clear coat of glossy Modge Podge over the people to set the paint, they looked very chalky without the top coat. The tables and chairs also got a top coat, with some glitter mixed in.
Luckily, I have loads of craft supplies stashed, I have this habit of saving every single scrap of rick rack, lace and fabric no matter how tiny… and it finally paid off. I didn’t even have to pull out my main totes of all of these supplies, only the bags full of the tiny scraps and they worked perfectly.
The bed is made from 1″ thick foam, the pillows from smaller piece of foam, I just used what I already had laying around. The foam could really be any thickness under an inch or so. The girls chose the bedding from flannel fabric scraps (once again, leftovers from previous projects made over the years) and hot glued the fabric over the foam to finish the beds and pillows.
We used hot glue to attach all the accessories to the peg dolls. The girls chose all of the flair, and came up with some great ideas, like the flowers in the hair made from a sheet of gem stickers (scrapbooks supply?) I’d bought originally to be used to decorate the inside of the “dollhouse”.
I found the cocktail umbrellas amid my party supplies and threw them in, they ended up being the perfect size for the tiny house. We painted the extra spools and they glued in tiny silk flowers then used the ‘flower pot’ as an umbrella stand.
We left out a stack of scrapbook paper and stickers to make flooring, and occasionally wallpaper to the dollhouses. They used the stickers to cover the words “Recipes” on the outside of the boxes and decorate the walls inside.
I searched many craft stores trying to find affordable “dollhouses”. Originally, I wanted to use the thick cardboard tiny suitcases that open up flat and make a perfect dolly space. They were way too expensive ($6.99 each), I found a round metal lunch box for $3 each at Hobby Lobby– still too expensive and when the door was left open it didn’t sit flat on the table anyway. Finally I found these recipe boxes at Michael’s in the dollar section, (they actually ended up being 50 cents each at the register) not perfect (a bit too short/narrow- the recipe box would work better if the bed foam was thinner, like 1/2″ thick)- but the perfect price for buying a dozen or so.
The party guests and my own kids worked so hard making their dollhouse and had so much fun. After the party was over my kids played with the dollhouses they had just made for hours more, making sofas (with foam and fabric) and laptops and deck chairs with various sized square wood pieces we had used for some of the tables (and could have also been painted, drawn on or covered with magazine pictures etc. to hang on the walls).
This is what a shamrock cake looks like when you have just 20 minutes before the party starts to decorate it. Not my finest work for sure, but I should be happy she asked for the shamrock and not a leprechaun or a model of the Eiffel Tower. I got off easy.