What’s day 12 in the 12 Days of Christmas? 12 Shoppers Mauling? 12 Santas Boozing? 12 Ladies Laying? I never make it past FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE GOLLLLLDENNNNNNNNNNNN RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINGS.
But welcome to day 12 of our 12 Days of Strange Ornament Extravaganza! We are going to make personalized family trees. With a tree branch. Very literal.
Cute right? Mmmhmm! Let’s get it on!
- Peg dolls (you can find these at Michael’s or other big box craft stores.. I order mine in bulk from this awesome site.
- Acrylic paint
- Jute twine
- Tiny eye bolts
- Tree branch
- White gel pen
The first and most important thing to do when working with these little wooden people (or any raw wood you’re trying to paint) is gesso. Trust me. Make your life 100x easier and gesso.
While you’re gessoing, think about how you’d like to design your people. If you check etsy/flickr/google, there are a million ways you can do peg people. You can do them super simple, dots for eyes, plain colors for clothes, or you can do them super complicated using animal sacrifice, magic, and sculpture. It’s all up to you!
I decided I’d let my peg people reflect their real-life counterparts as much as possible. I am holding a glass of wine and a cup of coffee, the only things that keep me sane most days, and I have a key around my neck. The Manflesh always wears a funny and slightly mean-spirited t-shirt, so I gave him one, along with a pool cue and a cigarette. My oldest son always has headphones around his neck and usually is wearing a t-shirt about video games or dubstep. My youngest son has too many Minecraft shirts and loves his X-box. My daughter is crazy for pink and Hello Kitty.
I went for a simple paint job and threw in some shadows with watered-down Van Dyke Brown. I used a Micron to outline eyes and other details. I kept the pencil lines in. I liked the sketchy and kind of sloppy look. It’s how our family rolls most days, anyway.
I also wrote sweet and loving endearments on the back of each peg, something that truly reflected the essence of each person. Bwahahahahhahaha.
Since this was the Year of Manic Panic, I decided that the only color would be hair color. Poor Manflesh.
NOW. Get your coat. And your boots. And your other coat. And your hat and your mittens and… Well. Dress yourself like that kid in A Christmas Story, go outside, and find a branch. You want it to be big enough to support them but not ridiculously huge since Yule Logs don’t typically get hung on a tree. I ended up cutting a piece from the tree out front since there was no way I was digging through a foot of snow to find a branch!
Lay out your dudes and make sure they fit. If not, sorry, you have to go back outside. Or have some heavily-spiked eggnog and throw your guys at the tree and hope they’ll stick.
Now you’ll have to do something so that you can attach your pegs to your branch. You can drill holes in their heads and screw in some tiny eye bolts, which is what I did (oddly cathartic, I might add). You could tie little nooses and attach them that way if you want – that’s a little creepy, but who am I to judge? I just got catharsis from drilling holes in my family’s heads. I’m sure there are other ways to do this, but I can’t think of any.
Using your twine, tie them onto the branch in whatever familial order makes you happy. Make some strings longer, some shorter, whatever toots your Picasso.
Finally, cut a long piece of twine and tie it to your branch so that you can hang it. I wrote the year on the end of my little branch with white gel pen so that I would remember what year I was extra crazy when I’m 64.
admire your handiwork and then put it on your tree!
MERRY FREAKIN’ CHRISTMAS!
Thanks for hanging in with us for this crazy ride! I hope your holidays are fantastic, you get everything you want, and your brother waits until after pie to come out of the closet.
<3 <3 <3!