DIY Rainbow Peg Dolls

Make a set of rainbow peg dolls for small world play with lots of open-ended possibilities.

rainbow peg people mi


Being a huge fan of wooden toys, I’d been eyeing up these Rainbow Peg Dolls from Grimm’s Toys
on Amazon. They’re gorgeous but a little on the pricey side so I decided to have a go at making our own but for a much cheaper price and I’m so glad I did! We’re now the proud owners of six little coloured peg dolls and they have already had so much play and fun in the short amount of time since making them.

I managed to source six wooden peg dolls on eBay for around £5 (I just typed in ‘wooden peg dolls’ and quite a few different results came up) and I used our trusty Wilton Food Colouring Gels
to dye them. At first I was a little dubious that the gels wouldn’t be pigmented enough to dye the wood properly but I needn’t have worried as they created a light but colourful effect.

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First of all I gently sanded the peg dolls to make sure they were smooth and safe for play. I then filled six glasses with water and mixed in the food gel to each one. I only used a small dot which was plenty to dye the dolls with.

rainbow peg people 2

In went the little people! They do bob back up to the surface which is easily remedied by weighing them down with a teaspoon to make sure they all get evenly coated.

rainbow peg people 3

I left the dolls to soak all afternoon and overnight (about 16 hours in total). I removed them and sat them on some kitchen paper to dry off for another hour or two and then they were done!

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I would recommend rubbing on some oil such as olive oil or beeswax to seal the colour and give them a shine but this is just optional.

rainbow peg people 5

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We’re over the moon with how they turned out!

4 Fun Ways with peg dolls

Here’s a few ways you could use your rainbow peg dolls…


S (2.4yrs) actually came up with this one during her independent play. She lined the dolls up and used her wooden ball to roll and knock them over.

Colour exploration:

We used our coloured stacking cups to sort the peg dolls as well as some glass pebbles into the right colours.

Small world scenes:

The peg dolls are perfect for adding into small world play scenes. Because they have no outfits or distinguishing features, they can be used in a much more open-ended way.

rainbow peg people 8

Loose Mathematics Parts:

They can simply be used as loose parts for counting and sorting.


If you make this craft do leave a comment or come over to the Wings and Roots Facebook page and share a picture of your finished rainbow dolls!


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