April 8, 2013

Star Wars Peg People

Our children have seen the original three Star Wars movies and really enjoyed them (as much as a four and six year old can).  Prior to viewing them, the children learned a bit of background by reading the Star Wars Phonics books.  It helped them to know characters and even the plot.  The children would sometimes pretend-play Star Wars, and my son would hum the theme much of the time.  They have also looked at this incredible pop-up book with my husband to familiarize themselves.  (It is my husband's...and it is kept out of their reach.)

When I saw a Star Wars peg dolls on Pinterest, I decided to search out other Star Wars crafts.  I really thought the felt figures/puppets would be easiest for me, but I thought the wooden figures would be played with much more.  (You can see these ideas, and more, on my Star Wars Pinterest board.)  I found another set of Star Wars peg dolls.  One set was rather plain, while the other was more detailed than I preferred, though very helpful.  I combined them and came up with the set you see below for my children.  The bottom line is that they were a lot of work, but I had fun planning and painting them.  

To make these Star Wars peg dolls, I bought a handful of wooden "people" at Michaels.  (You can also purchase in bulk.)  I also consulted Ticia on tips for painting little wooden people.  (I did not use painters tape to cover the hands...I just attempted to paint around them.)

First I drew my plans on paper, examining the peg dolls that had already been created and actual photographs of the Star Wars characters.  Next I drew on the little wooden people using pencil.  Later I went over the pencil with my Sharpie pen so lines could be seen through a layer of paint.  (Eventually I gave up on this and just "winged it" at the end drawing in the details with pencil on top of the paint, and then using the Sharpie pen.)

I began painting by creating two different flesh tones (using white, yellow, red, and green paints).  I painted the face, neck, and hands of the Luke, Leia, and Han prior to anything else.  In addition to acrylic paints (which are permanent), I also used silver and gold paint markers and Sharpie markers (also permanent).  After painting them, I added details using a Sharpie pen (not marker).  They are sealed in glossy Mod Podge.
Click on any image to view it larger.
The pegs in progress.
For Princess Leia's hair I used small, painted buttons, attached with Super Glue.  Her belt just has three silver circles in the front.  My daughter told me she really likes Leia's hair.  (Score!)  I'm guessing Leia and Luke both have about 4-5 coats of white paint.
 
Luke Skywalker may be the hardest to identify, but I am pleased with him.  His hair is also brown, but has much more yellow in it than Han and Leia's.  I used a marker to make his belt.
I used three different shades of black or black/brown combinations for Han Solo's dark clothing.  I tried to part his hair in the middle, but my husband vetoed it, saying it looked feminine.  It did.
My husband helped to make R2D2 by taking a peg person and sawing the head about in half and also cutting the body down to a tiny size.  Put together with wood glue, they make a nice little robot.  I used a silver paint marker for the top and a Sharpie maker to add the blue colors.  (Ignore the fuzzies on him from Darth's cape.)
An appropriate green felt was not available, so I used a green fabric I had on hand from my daughter's Statue of Liberty costume to make Yoda's ears.  To keep the edges from fraying (which is why I wanted felt), I dipped all of the edges in Elmer's glue prior to super gluing them on to his head.  My husband also cut Yoda down to size.  Originally, I had Yoda's skin with a bit more brown in it, but I changed it to match his ears.  Too bad I couldn't attach wispy strands of hair on top of his head, huh?
After painting all of Darth Vader in black, I drew the details again on his body using pencil and then the silver paint marker.  I made a cape template with paper.  The cape is a trapezoid shape, being more narrow at the top.  The cape is made from black felt and Super Glued to his neck.  The blue and red "lights" were added with a Sharpie marker.
C3PO is my absolute least favorite.  I probably shouldn't have even have included a detailed picture here.  But I did.  I used gold spray paint for his body and a gold paint marker for some detail work, along with a black Sharpie.  I know I should redo him, but I just haven't yet.

Materials:
wooden peg people
acrylic paint
gold spray paint
glossy Mod Podge
silver and gold paint markers
Black Sharpie Pen (I actually prefer these for all of my writing.)
green fabric/felt
black fabric/felt
Super Glue
paint brush
surface to mix paint colors (plastic lid, cardboard) 
wood glue
Optional Materials:
Various permanent markers (Black, red, brown, blue)
White paint marker for "clean up" on white paint.
White glue if using fabric to keep edges from fraying.
Wax paper 

Tips
~ I used an open cereal box for my work surface.  It is important to protect your surface from the permanent acrylic paints.
~ I used one flat paint brush about 1 cm wide for all my painting.
~ Wash your brush very well after each paint color.  Before dipping in another color, dry it on a paper towel.
~ Use as many coats of paint as needed.  When spray painting gold, be sure to do several light coats instead of a heavy coat.
~ Mix your own brown and flesh colors.  You'll likely be more satisfied with the variety you make than what comes from the bottle.  I added a bit of black to bottled brown to make Han and Leia's hair dark brown...and added extra yellow for Luke's hair.  To make flesh tones, begin with white and add bits of red and yellow.  Then add green (or blue) to turn it to brownish.  Add more red and green to make it darker.
~ The Sharpie pen does dry quickly, but not immediately, as you can tell by looking at Yoda's face.  The Mod Podge did smear it a bit.
~ Paint markers do take a long time to dry.  Do not handle the people until completely dry.
~ When the Mod Podge is drying, set the Star Wars peg people on wax paper to dry.  Otherwise you will have cardboard/newspaper stuck to your peg dolls.
~ Do not store the peg people in one container until they are seal with Mod Podge.  I would suggest storing them in separate containers/baggies until sealed.  Unsealed, the paint comes off and on to the others very easily.  Once sealed, they can bang against each other without the paint coming off.

I had everything on hand except the wooden peg people, silver paint marker, and the spray paint.  I borrowed the gold paint from my dad.  It was a rather affordable project!

Many, many hours was spent on this project, but it was worth it.  The kids like them, as do I.

A note: If you know our family, you may be surprised we allowed our children to watch the original three Star Wars movies, as we are rather conservative with such things.  We felt that the movies are basically clean, other than the violence.  The violence is unique in itself, being light sabers and guns without bullets.  So we deemed them okay.  We are rather cautious with PG (and some G) movies.

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}

15 comments:

  1. I LOVE your peg people, and you have lots of great tips to add in. I haven't covered my guys in mod podge, and haven't had the problem with paint coming off, but mine aren't as detailed as yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ticia!!

      I noticed the white had smudges of black and the black seemed to have some discoloration, too, from the white. But the other colors were fine. :)

      Delete
  2. These turned out so cute! I am feeling very inspired. My kids are in love with Levi people, so I know they would love these. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love, love, love these...but where is Chewie???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The kids haven't asked for Chewie yet, but I do think he may come later!

      Delete
  4. This is just awesome. You did a really great job! I can think of handfuls of children who would love these to play with!

    Very creative, you are. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. These are amazing! i would love to make them for my brother, uh, brother's kids. I will put them on my long list of someday projects.

    ReplyDelete
  6. They turned out so great!!! I think I need to make a set for my dad for Father's Day. I'm sure he will LOVE them!

    ReplyDelete
  7. These are so cute and if I had little ones I would definitely have to make a set .... love them....

    ReplyDelete
  8. These are great! A friend of mine recently did Disney Princess peg people, too. Love the idea!

    ReplyDelete
  9. These are great. I love how they turned out

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!