When I lived in Japan I was introduced to a lovely tradition: the Sayonara Doll. A beautiful wood peg doll, similar to kokeshi dolls, was wrapped in a kimono made of paper and silk fabric. As a military spouse, these dolls were presented to people who were leaving the island. Friends would inscribe farewell (sayonara) messages on the paper scroll, and the person moving left with a lot of memories and a beautiful memento.
I have several of these lovely peg dolls, and they mean so much to me. One from the spouses in our dental unit, one from my karatekas at the dojo I trained at, and one that I purchased later for my daughter’s first birthday party.
I thought it would be a fun idea to give this project an American twist, and use it for graduates. This graduation peg doll would make a cute addition to graduation party decor, and is a decorative alternative to a guest book. This easy to make project can be customized to resemble your graduate.
Supplies needed to make your own graduation sayonara peg doll:
- 7/8″ Dowel Rod
- 2.5″ Wood Ball
- Wood Glue
- Craft Paint
- Krylon Clear Glaze Spray
- Glue Gun
- 1/8″ Ribbon
Step one. Glue the wood ball to the top of the dowel rod and let it dry.
Step three. You will need two pieces of felt. Cut one piece so you have a 3×3 inch square, a half inch strip for the hat, a 1 inch strip for the collar, and a 3 inch strip for the body. Leave the second piece of felt uncut.
To display the peg doll, begin rolling it it up, paper first, then the felt “robe”. Use a bit of ribbon to hold the graduation gown in place. Simply unroll the doll so friends can sign the paper, then wrap it back up to display it.