'C' for Crafts Crafty (& Handy) Parenting

Handpainted Wooden Clothespin Dolls

I made this motley crew. Not to be confused with the Crüe, though that would be rad.

Eleanor is old enough now to be interested in arts and crafts (YAY!), so we’ve been doing a lot of little projects lately. Beaded bracelets, pom pom critters, painted birdhouses, braided pipe cleaner things, and now, clothespin people. Most of the time, I let her do her thing with a little supervision and a little guidance, but I couldn’t resist making a bunch of these myself.

I’ve missed making pretty little things for the fun of it.

Eleanor plays with them all, the ones I’ve made mixed with the ones she did and the ones from daddy, too. Here, they are exploring the icy landscape of a Star Wars toy that was Brandon’s as a kid. Hoth, maybe? I have no idea.

Reunited, and it feels so good.

Brandon made his first, and he used a sharpie (markers bleed and feather on the wood). He says he would have made his better had he known I would be photographing them. Eleanor used paint for a few, but markers are better for a toddler (no drying time), so I encouraged her to use them as much as I could. I used craft paint for mine, because you know I am hardcore like that. Also, Brandon says all of mine are hunchbacks. I say it’s better to see the arms from the front so they don’t look limbless. Tom-ay-to/tom-ah-to.

I put together a roundup of all my favorite clothespin and peg dolls, but I did it after I made mine. Now that I’ve seen how many good ones are out there, I might have to get my hands on some different shapes to expand our set.

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  • Alexandra
    April 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Cuties!!! These are precious! And what a perfect little set of toys too.

  • Kelsey
    April 30, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    These are so cute!!

  • tracy
    April 30, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    love that long legged man with the red tie! he’s my fave.

  • Tiffany
    May 1, 2012 at 12:26 am

    What a fun project.Hhave you heard of Kiwi Crate? Its a monthly craft delivery for kids ages 3-7. It maybe fun for you and Eleanor.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      Yes, thanks for the reminder! I should look into it.

  • Lucy
    May 1, 2012 at 2:04 am

    They are so lovely, Eleanor will have hours and hours of fun with them all. My sister made me some when I was about Eleanors age with traditional clothes pegs and then made clothes for them so they all looked like victorian ladies, I still have them in my box of childhood things now as I loved them dearly. (BTW she is 14 years older than me which is why she was able to do such intricate work and not 5!)

  • Kate
    May 1, 2012 at 4:19 am

    BAH! So cute!

  • Kathryn Humphreys
    May 1, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Those really are fantastic!

  • Lesley
    May 1, 2012 at 7:16 am

    So glad you and Eleanor are enjoying some special moments making these! You can also use paint pens on them as it’s a bit more controlled than craft paint. For Eleanor, I’d also suggesting picking up a set of wood markers; they won’t feather or run. My son and I really enjoy making peg people and he has a special peg person for every milestone of his life. Cheers!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      I didn’t know there were special wood markers! I had thought about paint pens, more for the added control in drawing fine lines, but in the end I figured paint and paintbrushes were just fine.

  • Sandra
    May 1, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Good idea to look at how others made them “after”, eh? I know for me that if I look before I might be too intimidated to take the plunge and do the craft!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      Yep. I also didn’t want to copy any others, subconsciously or otherwise. Better to go in with a blank slate and nothing to compare to, for me anyway.

  • Jennifer
    May 1, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Those are too adorable! What a great idea and you would never run out of different characters to create! Would you mind telling me where you found that style of clothespins? I would love to make some but usually only find the ones that clip. Thanks!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      I found mine at Michael’s. Any craft store ought to have a good variety to choose from.

  • Christina W.
    May 1, 2012 at 10:42 am

    the first image kind of looks like the credits to a wes anderson movie or something, but with clothespin dolls standing in for actors haha. this is a really cute idea!

    • Emma Assin
      May 2, 2012 at 10:38 am

      wes anderson YES! now i want to make sets of all the characters from all the awesome wes anderson movies!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      Brandon said it looked very Wes Anderson too!

  • Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet
    May 1, 2012 at 11:04 am

    When I was about 8, my mom gave me a doll making kit for my birthday; yarn dolls, patchwork dolls, paper dolls, and clothespin dolls. This just totally brought me back 20 years. Adorable!

  • Kristín
    May 1, 2012 at 11:33 am

    hahaha loved this post, and I have to say that I do see Brandon’s point but I’m more on your site, poor things need hands.. ;)

  • AnnW
    May 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    You made these? I saw them briefly on Pinterest. I am really impressed. I think you should sell some. They are terrific. You could also personalize them to look like members of the family. Also, wouldn’t it be fun to have a set that looks like your bridal party? You could also make some to look like the entire family for big anniversaries. You could cut some down to make dogs and cats. You are the best. I think about you often, hope that the job search is going okay. Still dying to see any pictures of your basement. Ann

    • Making it Lovely
      May 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      Yes, I made them. No plans to sell them though — no time! I’d much rather other people see them and try to make their own.

      And yes, I still need to get to work on the basement! Thanks for your patience.

  • Danielle
    May 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    HA HA HA! That cracked me up about Brandon saying yours looked like hunchbacks!! I had to scroll back up to see what he was talking about. Either way, they are super cute and a great pretend toy! Remember paper dolls? I used to play with them for hours and would even make my own clothing for them to wear.

  • Tara Jane
    May 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Super Cute, love to see you creating!

  • Carla
    May 1, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    So freakin adorable! I can’t wait to try some with my little one!

  • Emma Assin
    May 2, 2012 at 10:40 am

    i love these so much. where can you buy wooden clothes pins from? i really want to try making some with my son. also, did you varnish them or apply a sealant at all to prevent the paint from chipping?

    • Making it Lovely
      May 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      I didn’t seal them, but that’s a good idea. The clothespins can be found at any craft store — I got mine from Michael’s.

      • Emma Assin
        May 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm

        placed an amazon order for some to split with a mommy friend. yay!

  • kate
    May 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    OMG I just love those!

  • Pippen Lane
    May 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

    These are adorable! Such a fun activity for both mom and child!

  • A Look Back at 2012 | Making it Lovely
    December 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    […] be a good model to follow. I had been wanting to bring more craft content to the blog (like my handpainted clothespin dolls or my colorblock Christmas trees), and I felt like it was a good time to bring on a contributor to […]

  • Jess
    August 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Love these!