Tips for non-toxic paint for peg dolls

Welcome to our ‘ non-toxic paint for peg dolls ‘ tips and guide

If you are looking for good quality, safe paints for wooden peg dolls, read on for our helpful tips for achieving a great non-toxic finish!

Peg dolls are great wooden toys that have entertained children for centuries. They are believed to have originated in Germany where they would be fashioned from pieces of turned wood and simply painted and clothed. They are also adapted from old wooden clothes pegs that can be painted and decorated to look like a doll. Fast-forwarding to today, sets of sweet peg dolls are being appreciated by a new generation who are experiencing the versatility of wooden toys for play.

Decorating peg dolls yourself is a satisfying pastime and they make great gifts. The only limit on the designs you can create is your imagination! From historical kings and queens to action hero’s, to armies, these simple blank wooden figurines can be customized any way you want, and if you are anything like us, painting lots of them is where all the fun is had.

If you are painting peg dolls with or for children, the type of paint you use may be a concern. As with most wood paints and finishes, substances may be present which can harm or irritate if ingested or rubbed off on the skin. In this article, we look at your options for non-toxic paint for peg dolls, the best types of paint, and how to achieve a brilliant, hard-wearing finish.

So, what are the options for safe non-toxic wood paint?

There are three main classes of child-safe paint on the market. Typically, the priority with these paints is that they are free of noxious Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as phenols, glycols, and formaldehyde as well as heavy metals such as lead. But of course, they still have to do the job of properly coating and detailing your little peg doll. Using one type or combining these types of non-toxic paint should produce a great result.

Acrylic paint

This is a workable and fast-drying type of paint that can achieve a variety of finishes, in particular, the type of bold and glossy look that will make your peg dolls really stand out. It is made from a pigment suspension in an acrylic polymer emulsion that is also water-soluble. It is very workable and can be used for washes too. It is important to remember that not all acrylic paint is child safe. Some of the pigments contain heavy metals such as cadmium, manganese, lead, chromium, and cobalt. These metals are poisonous if paint flakes are ingested or the dust from sanding is inhaled. Look for certified non-toxic acrylics rather than the professional-grade paints.

Natural paints like milk paint can be used with confidence as you are usually dealing with all-natural ingredients like plant-based dyes, water, and minerals. Pigments may be sourced from rocks and or plants and binders such as milk protein, clay, and linseed oil are used. If you have ever encountered the ‘shabby-chic’ crafting movement, you may be familiar with how well chalk or milk paint coats wood. It has good penetration of the grain and seals really well with an all-natural sealant like tung oil.

Liquid watercolor

Child safe watercolor paints are a great option for adding some non-toxic hue to wooden blocks or spinning tops. Liquid watercolor applied at varying dilutions can vary tones for a kaleidoscope of colors. However, caution is needed if the paint is not sealed and it ends up in mouths as it may come off.

Using water-based paint also raises and opens the grain of softer woods such as pine which can affect the application of sealant. In some cases, this can be prevented by dampening and sanding down the wood a few times. White watercolor or natural paint washes can also help if you are going to detail your peg dolls.

boy painting a wooden train with non-toxic paint for peg dolls

Some last-minute tips for getting great results when painting peg dolls.

  1. Work on two dolls or more at once. If you work on more than one doll at once you can be painting one doll while the other one dries, rather than waiting for each layer to dry on a single doll.
  2. Paint your dolls in layers. Start by painting the skin color layer of the doll and build up clothing layers and leaving the detail to last. Dealing with block color first will be easier to paint and should produce a more accurate finish.
  3. Sketch details onto the doll before painting. Lightly penciling in detail before painting also improves the accuracy of your work.
  4. Dry brushes in between coats of paint. This improves the application of your subsequent coat of paint and prevents streaks.
  5. Use quality paint and brushes. If you are looking for long-lasting results, your tools and materials should be good. Good brushes in particular, prevent uneven or streaky paint applications. Inferior quality brushes can also shed on your doll!
  6. Work from the lid. Painting peg dolls do not need very much paint per doll so you can afford to use decent paint. Make it last by pouring out a small amount in the lid and work from there to minimize waste.
  7. Long thin brushes are great for details. A thin application of paint is ideal for details like lashes and smiles.
  8. Mixing colors can use up your paint quickly. If you are using small quantities of paint it is probably cheaper overall to buy the exact color you need, especially if it is for a large area of the doll.
  9. Seal your dolls with spray-on or painted varnish. Oils or waxes may blur the minute details on your paintwork.

Final Thoughts: Paint for peg dolls

Superior quality non-toxic paint is ideal for making wooden peg dolls safe for play. Depending on your choice of design you have a range of options for painting and sealing your dolls without using harmful substances. Try experimenting with different paints, designs, and wood finishes before you settle on what will work for you. We are sure all of your dolls will find a good home.

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