View Full Version : “WOODEN KOKESHI DOLLS”, Due May 22

03-09-2019, 02:40 PM
Due date: May 22 (sign up or withdraw by May 16)
Number of Items: 3 for 3
Number of Players: 15

Kokeshis are traditional Japanese dolls made of wood. They have a simple body and an enlarged head, with a few painted curves or lines for features. Many are just irresistibly cute!

Craft stores often carry little unfinished wood figures called “peg people “. I thought it would be fun to paint them to represent Japanese Kokeshi dolls. Using these little peg people is the easiest choice, perhaps add a wood bead or two for hair buns, then simply paint with acrylics and give it a glossy finish.

However,....you could also get creative and use other wooden objects, glue together with wood glue, and then paint those. Some examples are wood eggs, wooden balls, large wood beads, spools, dowel caps, or upside-down candle cups. Examples are pictured below.

Let’s stick with the traditional Japanese style of simple features, black hair, and colorful kimonos. Please make them between 2 1/2” - 4 1/2” tall, anywhere in that range. I would also like to stipulate “wood only”, no fabric embellishments. A bead or pearl as part of a “hair” ornament is fine though. Go simple or get creative and make 3 little Kokeshis for 3 in return.

MAILING - Be sure all sealants or varnishes are completely dry, and not still tacky. Please mail in a bubble envelope or a padded envelope, and I will send returns in the same one. Place each doll in a small baggie and write your username and real name on a tag to accompany each doll.

Please include a large label with your address clearly printed on it. Include the same amount of postage that it takes for you to mail to me. Postage may be around $3-$4, probably $9 for Canada and $12 for Internationals, just estimates. And when your returns arrive, remember to leave iTrader and rep points.


1. Bluesky
2. Notinkansas- RECEIVED
3. Nanner - RECEIVED
4. Kynara
5. JEBeck
7. An. M. Sudyka

03-09-2019, 04:32 PM
Examples with green, red, and yellow kimonos were made of "Peg People" with some wood bits added (3" - 3 1/2"). Examples with black, tan, and blue kimonos were made by gluing wood balls and eggs together, along with other shapes (2 3/4" - 3"). I got on a real roll with these, they are fun! Credit must go to Notinkansas for the cutie in tan with aqua flowers, who inspired this swap!

03-09-2019, 04:50 PM
I'm in!!!!!!

03-09-2019, 04:51 PM
Yay, signing you right up!

03-10-2019, 04:22 AM
They are absolutely gorgeous, CiCiCreates. I love them but I don't think I'll get the chance to make some.

03-10-2019, 07:19 AM
You are welcome to follow along and chat anytime.

03-10-2019, 05:20 PM
Sign me up!

03-10-2019, 05:31 PM
With pleasure, NIK!

03-11-2019, 07:58 PM
CiCi, how do you feel about players ordering the actual blanks? I might be interested but still need to give it more thought.

03-11-2019, 08:01 PM
You mean there are real Kokeshi blanks? That aren't peg people? That would probably be fine, if they didn't go over 4 1/2" tall. Where do you get them?

03-11-2019, 10:14 PM
How adorable! I'm lurking for now. Such a great idea.

03-11-2019, 10:27 PM
You are so welcome to lurk and chat, nanner! Hope you can eventually play.

03-11-2019, 10:37 PM
Etsy has kokeshi blanks. I went for peg dolls from eBay. I liked the pricing better.

03-11-2019, 10:41 PM
I think I got my peg dolls from Michaels, maybe Hobby Lobby as well. I know Hobby Lobby has unfinished wood candle cups which I thought would be cute for bodies, turned upside-down. Next time I go, maybe I'll get a couple.

03-12-2019, 02:53 PM
I found kokeshi blanks on amazon but, you have to order 40 and they are very tiny. Less than 2" high. I am still lurking and searching ideas.

03-12-2019, 02:59 PM
Too, stinking Cute! Lurking

03-12-2019, 03:08 PM
Oh, thanks for that information. You could always make your own with egg shapes and ball shapes. I had my son drill a toothpick size hole in the narrow part of the egg, and in one side of the ball. Then I inserted a broken toothpick, with about a half inch sticking out, into the egg hole, spread some glue around the toothpick base, and pressed the ball head over the toothpick part. This way, the glue can have a little “prop” while drying, otherwise it can get frustrating. But I find it fun to think up various wood items to use as bodies, etc. Patience always helps!

03-12-2019, 03:08 PM
Welcome to lurk, Cardgal!

03-13-2019, 06:01 AM
Gonna try to get to hobby lobby today and get some... totally lurking!

03-13-2019, 12:44 PM
Hope you get inspired at Hobby Lobby, Kynara! Would love to sign you up.

03-13-2019, 01:08 PM
Great idea on putting the shapes together and we have a wood hobby shop nearby. I might run over there and see what they have.

03-13-2019, 01:11 PM
Oh, that sounds like fun, wish I could go with you!

03-14-2019, 11:27 PM
You know, I was just thinking.....you wouldn't have to bother with the drilled holes and toothpick joining idea if you could sand the surfaces smooth and level so they wouldn't curve against each other. Just a little level area on the ball and another on the narrow part of the egg shape, and the ball could simply sit atop the egg with a dab of glue and that should work - and I am talking about an electric sander, not hand sanding, that takes forever! Going to check out Hobby Lobby for interesting wood bits this weekend.

03-16-2019, 05:12 PM
Sign me up, Cici...I finished my first little kokeshi and have more in the works:


03-16-2019, 05:18 PM
Darling Little Doll! Aren’t they fun?? I will sign you up.

03-16-2019, 09:19 PM
Paper clay "wigs"

03-16-2019, 10:36 PM
Lurking. Looks fun.

03-16-2019, 10:53 PM
Happy to see you here, Tandy! Hope you can eventually play.

Bluesky, those wigs look just like the real ones, where they carved hair dimensionally! When painted, you wouldn't know they aren't wood. Very well done, and cute!

03-17-2019, 05:36 PM
woot! found some dollies and have started painting! please sign me up!

03-17-2019, 06:03 PM
Welcome, Kynara!

03-19-2019, 05:29 PM
I can't stop making these! Here's some more examples of how you can glue parts together. Red is an egg, ball, bead, and rectangles for sleeves. Tall one is a ball glued onto 1" diameter dowel. Green one is a ball glued onto an upside-down candle cup. Most of these shapes were purchased at Hobby Lobby.

03-19-2019, 05:53 PM
Oh CiCi they are so cute!!!

03-19-2019, 09:47 PM
CiCi, those are precious. Here's another one from me. They had wee little peg dolls at Michaels, and I just couldn't resist making a little bay-bah in a cherry wrap! They turned out so sweet.


03-19-2019, 09:56 PM
The bay-bah is precious! And that purple kimono is gorgeous! Love that you added the baby.

03-19-2019, 10:34 PM
Awwww....love the little one nanner!

03-20-2019, 03:24 PM
OK You got me! Sign me up please!

03-20-2019, 04:11 PM
Welcome, JEBeck, happy to have you!

03-20-2019, 09:08 PM
I put a few dolls together but haven't stared painting yet. I want to see how they paint up before I commit. Are the finished dolls painted with a special paint? They look so shiny.

03-20-2019, 10:31 PM
I just used regular craft acrylic paints on mine, then gave them a coat or two of Liquitex Professional Gloss Medium & Varnish. That is what gives the shiny look.

03-21-2019, 12:37 PM
Mine are just basic acrylic paints with a couple coats of gloss varnish over the top, too. :D

Here is my completed collection of kokeshi's. I'm going to keep one, not sure which yet. And the little set of baby twins is CiCi's hostie gift.


03-21-2019, 12:47 PM
Super cute!

03-21-2019, 01:19 PM
Wonderful kokeshis, Nanner! I’m glad you made enough that you can keep one - decisions, decisions! And I sure do love the sweet gesture of gifting me the baby twins - a boy and a girl, how perfect!

03-21-2019, 01:53 PM
Thanks, Ladies. CiCi...bet you didn't even know you were expecting, ha! :laugh:

03-21-2019, 01:54 PM
No, that would truly be a miracle!

03-24-2019, 12:52 PM
Never tried this but did buy some parts just in case, so I'm lurking!!!

03-24-2019, 12:54 PM
Welcome to lurk and chat anytime! Hope you can play eventually.

03-26-2019, 07:22 PM
CiCi, my kokeshi's are on their way as of this morning. :D

03-26-2019, 08:42 PM
Exciting! Will let you know when they arrive. Hope they travel as quickly as my domino dolls did to you!

03-28-2019, 03:33 PM
Hi. I’m interested in participating but I would like to work in polymer clay, as I just did a series of dolls in polymer with great success. If you’re holding strictly to wood, I understand.

03-28-2019, 03:41 PM
I would sure love to have you join us, but we are doing wood only for the dolls in this swap. Some players have already completed their little dolls. Please feel free to lurk and follow along, and if you decide to play with wood pieces, there is still lots of time to sign up.

03-28-2019, 07:43 PM
Thrilled to report.....Nanner's Kokeshis have arrived! Thanks so much for the twinsies!

03-29-2019, 07:21 PM

Here are my first two.

03-29-2019, 07:29 PM
CUTE! Love the ornament through the bun on one, and the little pigtails on the other!

03-30-2019, 04:56 PM
WooHoo,,, I found wood pieces and can now make some dolls. SIGN Me UP! Yippee!

03-30-2019, 05:20 PM
Yay!! So glad to have you join us, cardgal!

03-30-2019, 05:28 PM
Lovely work, NIK!

04-05-2019, 11:43 AM
all finished!

04-05-2019, 12:22 PM
I see you got really creative with the hair ornaments and that cute parasol! Great ideas, and the painted kimonos are beautiful too!

04-05-2019, 12:28 PM
How is everyone else coming? If anyone feels a bit uncertain about mailing their little dolls in an envelope (even a large bubble envelope), feel free to use a small box instead and I will send returns in same. Nanner’s dolls came through just fine, but if you have a doll a little bigger, and I just finished a 4” one, you may want to use a little sturdy box.

04-05-2019, 10:39 PM
OK, here's the 4" one. The rectangles I use for sleeves were just in a bag at Michaels, various sizes, and I have no idea what they are for

04-05-2019, 11:33 PM
So cute CiCi!!!

04-06-2019, 10:54 PM
Agreed! She's darling.

04-12-2019, 09:42 PM
Just checking in! Hope everyone is having fun creating kokeshis! What did you use for that cute parasol, NIK? I have seen the real ones with a parasol close to their body like that (since they were always carved of one piece, that's how the parasol is portrayed, no visible handle). I am doing another 4" one, and I found some 1 1/2" diameter wood drawer pulls at Home Depot. It has a slightly domed (convex) shape, and my son sawed it off at that point so I could use that as a parasol. Anxious to get to it and see how it works.

04-12-2019, 11:28 PM
Just a wooden disk I hoped was painted to look like a parasol. Guess I succeeded!

04-12-2019, 11:30 PM
Yes you did! Pretty cute.

04-16-2019, 09:40 AM
Hello, sorry I need to tap out of this one. I'm not having fun painting these tiny things. As a matter of fact it's frustrating. Kudos to you guys, though.

04-16-2019, 11:48 AM
I’m so sorry, Cardgal! But I appreciate your honesty, and I have been frustrated myself with techniques that others find simple or fun. I think there may be kind of a knack (or maybe just practice) to painting tiny. I will sadly withdraw you, but hope you will follow along with us.

04-18-2019, 04:27 PM
So many adorable dolls in this swap! I'm buried in other projects or I would give this a go. :)

04-18-2019, 04:33 PM
Follow along and chat anytime, LindyLu! Hope you dig your way to the surface of your other projects and can join this swap eventually.

04-18-2019, 04:46 PM
Mailed today. Est. delivery date is Monday. :)

04-18-2019, 05:20 PM
Great, I will be watching for them!

04-19-2019, 08:38 PM
Anyone else want to make and receive some little Kokeshi dolls? Here is a TEASE - I am busy making some little player gifts now.....maybe posting a picture in a day or so.......please do join us!

04-19-2019, 11:35 PM
Gifties?! I might have to play all over again! :jiggy:

04-20-2019, 12:03 AM
Don’t worry, Nanner, you won’t be overlooked because you were an early bird!

04-20-2019, 10:27 PM
Here is a sampling of my little hostess gift for my players, 1" handmade kokeshi charms. I have about 10 of these made, to be included in everyone's returns. Talk about painting tiny!! You can put a chain through them, a cord, or whatever you like.

04-20-2019, 10:51 PM
Hmm, maybe I will keep trying and see if I get better at it. I hated my uncrisp lines I think my paint needed thinned with water and it may go on better and smoother. If I get them to my liking I will rejoin. Haha

04-20-2019, 11:11 PM
Oh, I sure hope you can! Uncrisp lines might just need some practice. And paint consistency is important too. Keep on trying, and hope you can join us. I read that someone who had to "paint tiny" used a toothpick to make the strokes instead of a brush. I actually used the tip of a pin for the little charm features. Good luck to you, keep following us.

04-20-2019, 11:38 PM
Those charms are so very cute CiCi!

04-21-2019, 02:18 PM
Cici have you seen the Japanese paper scroll kokeshi dolls? Also called sayonara dolls too I think. You would have use the male peg doll blank to make them. The dolls have a scroll wrapped around them that you "write/draw etc" and decorative scroll cover/kimono on top

04-21-2019, 02:19 PM
Some examples

04-21-2019, 02:21 PM
Kinda like a domino book in doll form. Would be cool with illustrated haiku inside

04-21-2019, 02:51 PM
Wow, I love that! And no, I never saw those. A new Mail Art Swap idea! Combination of Kokeshi doll and Moley, if you draw art images on the scroll part. That is pretty cool!

04-21-2019, 02:58 PM
I guess I’m thinking of a rotational Swap. I’m going to see if Pinterest has any examples.

04-21-2019, 04:48 PM
Decide that scroll is x inches long...each person arts up x amount of inches....starter decides if a special theme..and creates doll base and outside cover. It could ship in same padded envelope as a moley. Oh yeah,. Go ahead and sign me up!

04-21-2019, 04:52 PM
Oh wow, it sounded like you were going to sign ME up! But seriously, it really does sound like a great one....

04-21-2019, 05:10 PM
Boy, this has really got me going! I think it’s a fascinating idea (but I feel no monopoly on hosting!). I wonder if the scroll should be left unattached and left to the last person to do, just might be easier to work on, and save on excess handling. What do you think? Would the whole back of the scroll be decorated by the originator, to become the “cover” when attached and rolled up? And as much as I love kokeshis, the standard peg doll base that everyone uses could be any kind of character, maybe specific to the art they want done on the scroll.

04-21-2019, 05:31 PM
A agree ...scroll unattached...doll can be any character...the scroll kokeshi I saw had a separate wrapper..if arted scroll becomes the wrapper..you need to treat it after as art could bleed through.

04-21-2019, 05:32 PM
Ship scroll inside paper towel tube so no squishing

04-21-2019, 05:38 PM
Great ideas!

04-21-2019, 05:44 PM
But if leave base doll behind...post pics to inspire the other artists

An. M. Sudyka
04-22-2019, 05:39 PM
Wow! what a challenge! sign me up for this swap.

04-22-2019, 07:07 PM
You got it!

04-22-2019, 07:12 PM
An, I hope you didn’t get confused by my chat with Bluesky, be sure you read the swap description and understand what you are signing up for, ok? (Lol, sorry for that, we got on a roll there).

04-23-2019, 12:02 AM
NIK, your little beauties have arrived, I so appreciate the extra!

04-24-2019, 09:57 AM
My dolls are on the way!

04-24-2019, 12:04 PM
Great, I will watch for them!