An Alphabet of Saints :: Painted Wooden Peg Dolls

by | Sep 25, 2012 | Alphabet Path, Alphabet Path (2009-2010), Alphabet Path (2012-2013), Wooden Dolls, Wooden Saints | 34 comments

Just over four years ago (in 2008) I started painting An Alphabet of Saints to go along with our first journey Along the Alphabet Path, inspired by the illustrations in An Alphabet of Catholic Saints…  I started out with a handful of saints and then continued adding to our collection as the girls completed each letter of the Alphabet.  I only made it half way through painting the very last doll, St. Zita, during Z week- before setting her aside as we began our major kitchen remodel and home addition in June of 2010.

Poor St. Zita has been sitting on that shelf ever since, constantly reminding me that I still haven’t posted about Z Week patiently waiting for her lovely hair, face, veil, cross necklace and broom to be completed.

I carefully cropped her out of that picture I posted the other day, but had a feeling it would trigger a few questions!

The cubbies… yes, those lovely tiny cubbies…   

In addition to the Highlights from “Z” Week, I also haven’t posted about my awesome saint display…

Is it bad that I am displaying our sweet little collection of saints in a… ummmm…. Shot Glass Display?!?

I searched and searched for the perfect thing, before settling on an inexpensive “Black Shot Glass Curio which holds up to 36 Jiggers Saints!”

Despite it’s intended purpose, it really does work perfectly for our painted saint dolls!  I found ours on ebay, and was able to find a few more that are currently available. (Though I think they are a little more expensive… I remember paying $20.00 including shipping for ours, but that was a couple years ago.)

So yesterday afternoon I finally dusted off St. Zita, pulled out my painting supplies, and finished painting her in less than 10 minutes while on the phone with my mom.

It makes me so happy to see our Alphabet of Catholic Saints finally completed!  
*However, looking at the picture above, I should have given St. Zita a hand to hold that broom… Hmmmmm… I wonder how long that will take me! 😉 

And just incase anyone would like to get started on their own 4 year project set of saints, here’s the link to my favorite source for the wooden peg dolls.   Happy Painting!


  1. Grace Hincapie

    I love it! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Anonymous

    You did a great job on those saints. I really like them. I do not think I could paint all the details though. Maybe one day. See, it would take me 4 years also 🙂

  3. Jessica Gordon

    I didn't think I could do it either, and was so pleased with the results!

    Since I started painting these saints all sorts of Etsy shops have popped up selling similar little saints (originally it was just Catholic Folk Toys, and she only paints the larger size) – – mine don't have nearly the detail that some of the others now have, but I love the simplicity of them and the fact that we made them ourselves.

    You might be surprised if you give it a try! 🙂

  4. Sara

    St. Zita looks like a Veggie Tales character—-they don't have limbs, either!

    I'd love to paint these, but I don't know where to start. A little tutoria would be lovely! What size brushes do you use? Do you have a method, like starting with skin and then tunic? I'd love to know!

  5. Jessica Gordon

    LOL! Yes, quite a few of our saints have their limbs tucked into their vestments or clothing! 😉

    And, yes, I do seem to have a method that works for me… Skin, then clothes, then hair, then veil, etc… When I started I had no idea what I was doing.. I've learned some by trial and error. I will see if I can pull together a tutorial, and include all the supplies that I use!

  6. Sue

    Did you hear me squealing all the way over here in Japan?! I love these. You did such a beautiful job. I found myself scheming in my head about how I could get my artist daughter to make these for me… but I fear the job would end up falling on me. Hmmmm…

  7. Roseanne

    i love the picture of your organized bookcases and shelves. where did you get the bookcases? we need some new ones and are overwhelmed by the search.

  8. Tm

    I agree with Roseanne. I love how everything is organized. I'm in my first year of homeschooling and can use all the tips and creative ideas for organization and schooling that you have! The shelves look great. And I like the alter bells…the chime for devotions?

  9. Pamela

    What size peg dolls did you buy?

  10. Kelly

    Love them, Jessica! You know, I still haven't finished all my saints yet. I think it's been two or three years for me. Every day I see them in the school room on the shelf by my desk and think I really need to finish those. They're so much fun to do and really don't take that much time to do, but I always seem to have something else more pressing to do. You've inspired me though. I'm going to try and finish them up in the next month. I think I have about 6 more to go. It will be nice to have one to go with each letter as we make our way through the alphabet path this year.

    Btw, I was so happy to hear about your good test results! TbtG! 🙂

  11. Melissa T

    Those are adorable! Well done Jessica!

  12. Jessica Gordon

    I actually purchased the bookcases (all but the little one next to the door, which was given to us) from my parents old neighbors – along with the two white desks that my boys use. They were selling all the furniture in their home since they buy all new furniture each time they move! (crazy!!) and gave us an amazing deal on it all ($150 for everything). It was such a blessing!

    Recently I finally found a few additional bookcases (they are black & espresso) for my boys room, my room, and a corner of the hallway at Target. I love them!! Here's the link to the Espresso Colored Bookcase I purchased them on sale, with additional coupons and cash rebates, bringing them down to only $60 a bookcase. It would be worth keeping your eye on them for another great sale!

  13. Jessica Gordon

    You noticed those! I need to fix them, since the chain for ringing them has been pulled off, but yes, that was what we were using them for! 🙂

  14. Jessica Gordon

    I've purchased most of the sizes, but the one used for our Alphabet of Saints are the "2-3/8" Dad – Little People" – the black cubbies are 2 1/2" tall, so they just fit. 🙂

  15. Pamela


  16. Anonymous

    These are great! Thanks for posting the pictures. My son is going to do some for my little girls and your saints gave him some great ideas. God bless!

  17. Lena

    your creations are absolutely darling!

    thanks for sharing your resource for the peg dolls. i have attempted these numerous times but always got discouraged when i couldn't find affordable supplies at my local craft stores.

  18. Maggie

    Love them!!

  19. Bamboo

    They are so beautiful and so inspiring!

  20. Becky

    I am surprised to see St. Zita for Z instead of Blessed Zelie Martin.

  21. Jessica Gordon

    I have plans to paint a Blessed Zelie for my kids, but our "Alphabet of Saints" is based on the picture book Alphabet of Saints, and St. Zita is pictured. 🙂

  22. Melissa

    Lovely and inspiring! May I ask where you buy the paints? God bless you!

  23. Jessica Gordon

    My paints are a mix from either Michaels, Walmart or JoAnn's. God bless you too! 🙂

  24. Unknown

    I'm a new reader to your blog, loving your ideas! As a recent convert, I'm not very good at identifying the saints by picture (or symbols). Could you post a list of the saints and additional 11 figures you've painted? I think I also see Mother Angelica and maybe the Virgin of Guadalupe, right? Beautiful work! Thank you

  25. Amy

    These are wonderful! What a lovely idea. I have just been referred to your blog and I love it. Thanks for all you share 🙂

  26. Anonymous

    Dear Jessica, these Saints look stunning, you are clearly very talented! I would like to paint some with the children for a little nativity set, and was wondering whether you can recommend suitable paint and paintbrushes? I gather the dolls are quite small for little hands, so I'd like to use the appropriate material 🙂 God bless and keep up the beautiful work, it is very inspirational to the rest of us! Annelies xxx

  27. Smileyblueyes

    love this idea, researched your link for the wooden pegs and the shelf. It appears as if you kept a uniform look by using the same wooden pegs for both male and female saints and just painted them (male or female). Which size Pegs did you purchase? thanks for your inspiration.

  28. Smileyblueyes

    Thank you for your project. I love this! I researched your wonderful links for the wooden pegs, and the shelf. I like the uniform look of the Saints, and see that you use the "male" peg and just painted the Saints (male or female). What size did you purchase ? please advise.
    Thank you for your inspiration !

  29. Jessica Gordon

    I made these using the 2-3/8" wooden pegs. Hope that helps! 🙂

  30. Catalyst Pioneer

    Would you consider doing a 'Post' on Catholic Saint Statues. You have so many fabulous ideas and I've noticed many a Saints statue in the backgrounds of your household. I don't know where you find them. But, I also know you can be quite creative with using them appropriately!

  31. Leah Turner

    I love these saints dolls and a friend directed me here, so thanks. Question: Do your kids ever play with or use the dolls in some way? Do they serve a purpose in your home, other than looking cool (not to be underestimated!)? Thanks.

  32. Pio

    I like your Alphabet of Saints peg doll idea, do you have any ideas for a St. Joan of Arc peg doll?


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