As many of you would not know, I participated in a Saint Doll Exchange while on bed rest. You don’t know this because I have yet to blog about it at all. Anyway, it was awesome. Flannery loved getting them for Christmas. We’re still playing with them all day, every day. AND, Easter is right around the corner and I’m ready to do it again! Let me answer a few questions for you before I dive into the details.
What is a Saint Doll?
A Saint Doll is a small wooden peg doll painted to look like any number of the saints in order to help younger children (or anyone really) learn about the lives of the Saints that have gone before us. Usually painted with details that would hint to their life and what brought them to Sainthood.
What is a Saint Doll Exchange?
A Saint Doll Exchange is genius. It allows you to design and paint one doll multiple times while other exchange participants do the same so that you can pool your dolls together to make one full set of different saint dolls for everyone participating. Its great because you can hone in on one Saint and learn how to best paint him or her instead of feeling overwhelmed at trying to design and paint 25 different saints all on your own. Now, for the very artistic and crafty people out there, maybe you would prefer to paint all 25 on your own. As for myself, least crafty person around- I like doing one multiple times. Like I said before, I participated in one this fall/ winter. I had assumed that its only possible to do with people in your area and while its probably easier, we were able to pull of a nation wide Saint Doll exchange between a handful of wives in FOCUS. The U.S. Mail is a beautiful thing. The key was having one brave woman volunteer to be the disseminator/ collector.
The Saint Doll exchange I did with my fellow FOCUS wives piqued the interest of some of my friends and family and so I’ve decided to ‘host’ one before the Easter season so they (and you) can get in on the fun as well! The beauty of this is that I am not limiting this Saint Doll exchange to any certain demographic. This is not limited to mothers of toddlers! If you are a single college student who wants to give a set of Saint Dolls to a godchild or nieces and nephews, please join in! Expecting first time mothers, now might be the best time to take advantage of an opportunity like this while you still have two free hands at all times! Grandmas and Grandpas, your grandchildren would love a few Saint Dolls in their Easter baskets this year I’m sure of it!
Here’s how to participate in the exchange:
1. Email me before February 1st if you would like to participate in the Exchange. I’d like to keep the number of participants to approximately no more than 25 per group. If I get fifty responses I’ll separate you into two groups. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org be sure to put ‘Saint Doll Exchange Participant’ in the subject line. Expect a response from me within the first week of February that will include more specific details and to claim the Saint you would like to design and paint.
2. After getting confirmation from me, you will have until March 10th to paint (X) number of your one Saint (depending on the number of participants) and then mail them to my address with payment for return shipping of your full set.
3. I will then separate them out into full sets of dolls and have them sent back to you by March 28th (a week before Easter).
Here’s some specifics on creating the Saint Dolls themselves:
-Find some inspiration. Read up on your saint. Find out what makes them unique and how you can bring that out in a painted doll, whether its physical features, ‘props’, hints to their life or martyrdom, even ways to express a certain devotion they had. I found it very helpful to check out this blog for some how to’s and inspiration!
-Then using acrylic paints of your choice, paint and design your doll. Once all your dolls are painted, seal them with a non-toxic (kids put everything in their mouths) sealant such as Mod Podge or another clear coating finish. Label each doll with their name on the bottom.
-Email a short bio of your saint for me to compile and send to all the participants once the exchange is complete!
I had a ton of fun participating in the last exchange, and I am so excited to extend the opportunity to all of you! I hope you will consider joining in! If you are looking for an alternative to the usual store bought toys as birthday gifts, or simply want a way to integrate Catholic teaching into your children’s lives, this is a great way to do it! Spread the word!