Welcome campers to the first day of Camp Doll Diaries!!  It is the start of many, many fun filled days with inspiration for doll play!  One of my favorite parts about Camp Doll Diaries is that the ideas for doll crafts and play are around a weekly theme.  Throughout the week there  will be a variety of doll inspiration and crafts around that theme.  You can pick a few that interest you or try them all!  Either way you’ll find something to add to your doll play!

To kick off camp this week we have Outdoor Explorers.  It is a week inspired by the American Girl Historical Characters Kirsten and Kaya.  I hope you and your dolls will enjoy exploring, creating, crafting and playing right along with us!


I have a soft spot for Kirsten Larson.  She was my daughter’s first American Girl Doll.  I was first drawn to American Girl Dolls because of the historical element of doll play.  What could be more fun than to explore different times, people, and places than with a doll!

Kirsten was a pioneer from the 1850’s.  In creating a doll scene for play I decided to make her a covered wagon.

Our Kirsten is moving west with her family.  They are taking with them food, water, clothing, bedding, dishes, and keepsakes from their homeland.

On the day they load the wagon they tie back the fabric cover to make it easier to load.

It is important to keep things organized, there is so much to fit it the wagon!

The food is kept easily accessible in the wagon, so at the end of each day they can set up camp and make their meal over a fire.

Come and join Kirsten to explore new places in a covered wagon!  The wagon is made out of things from around the house.  It is made sturdy for doll play.  The wheels are stationary to give it strength but you could add an axle to the wheels with a dowel if you want to be able to pull your wagon around.  It would also be fun to add a tongue and yoke to attach to your doll’s horses!  Either way the basic wagon is a fun prop in doll scenes and is sturdy enough to load up your doll pioneer’s belongings!


Let’s get started!

The Wagon Box

For the base of my covered wagon I am using a baby wipe box.  Any box that is a long rectangle will work!  If your box is not the right size you can make adjustments to it.  My box was too deep.  I decided how much I wanted to trim off, marked it, and cut it off.

Cover the box in wood printed scrapbook paper or brown paper.

I used Collage Pauge to glue the paper down.

After it dries, coat the outside with Collage Pauge.

Set it aside to dry.

The Wagon Wheels

These wheels may not turn but they are sturdy and strong.  I decided to go for the play value.  They are made out of cardboard and look the part.

Cut 8 circles out of cardboard.  Glue together pairs of cardboard circles.

To make this wagon more sturdy for play I am using the solid circles and decorating them to look like the wheels have spokes in the center.    To give this illusion I first put paper on the wheel that would match the background the wagon would be on.  You could use any color paper that would match the natural environment like greens and browns.  The portion of the wheel that overlaps the wagon is covered in the same paper as the wagon.

Cut 4 circles out of black paper using the wheel as a guide.  Cut the black paper into strips and 4 small circles.

To finish up the project,  cut out the inside of the large black paper circles.  They will be the rim of the wheel.  Add strips of paper for the spokes of the wheel.

To make a stronger wheel, each is made with 2 cardboard circles glued together.  This makes the edge of the wheel thicker and more noticeable.  To cover up the outside edge of the wheel, glue on thin strips of black paper.

Glue the small paper circle in the center where the spokes overlap.  Where the cardboard peeks through color it with a black sharpie or dab it with black paint.

The Bows

The bows on covered wagons hold up the fabric cover.  In real life they were made of wood.  Ours will be made out of cardboard and covered with wood paper to look like they are made of wood!

Cut 12 strips of cardboard.  Glue two strips end-to-end to make a very long strip of cardboard.  Gently bend it and hold it up to the wagon to see if it is large enough.  We are just doing rough estimates to make sure it is not way too small or way too large for the wagon box.  If you are happy with the size, glue all the strips in pairs the same way.  Now you have 6 super long strips.  Take those long strips two at a time and double them up, one on the other, so they are twice as thick.  Use Tacky glue to hold them together.

As the glue is setting up, gently bend and mold them to have a smooth curve in the middle.  Glue each end of the long strip to the inside of the wagon box.  Attach each one of the bows, placing one on each end and one in the middle.

Here is a close up of the details of the bows and their gentle curve.

If you want to add a touch of detail, cover the bows in strips of wood print scrapbook paper or brown paper.

The Wagon Cover

For the wagon cover drape a piece of white fabric over the bows.  The fabric should come past the bows on the front and back by 1-2 inches.  The fabric should also drape down on either side of the wagon by at least an inch.

Trim the fabric along the two openings using the bow as a guide.  Keep the 1-2 inch difference, following the curve.

On the bottom edge of both sides of the wagon cover add a strip of Phoomph (or you can glue on a strip of felt).   The Phoomph (or felt) encourages the fabric to stay straight and adds a little weight to the sides of the cover, helping it to lay nice.

Phoomph has adhesives on both sides.  Remove the paper backing, fold it up, and press it to the inside of the wagon cover.  The fraying edge is now on the inside and the wagon cover has nice smooth seams on the sides.

With a needle and thread stitch right next to the bow on both openings.  Slightly pull the thread, gathering the edge to pull the fabric closer to the bow.   With another piece of thread stitch along the edge of the fabric. Again slightly pull the thread to gather and draw it in.

My fabric is really prone to fray so I used a little of Aleene’s, Stop Fraying along the edge of the wagon cover openings.

Remove the wagon cover and add a strip of fabric glue or tape to the top of the bow.  I am using Aleene’s Fabric Fusion Tape and it has a strong hold.  By glueing or taping the fabric at the top of the bow, it will stay in place and not slip off easily.

Since we only attached it at the very top we can easily roll up one side…

or both sides.  I think having the sides roll up adds to the play value and makes it easier to load and unload the wagon!

If you want to be able to tie up the sides of the wagon cover, simply glue a ribbon to the inside of the front and back bows.  Place the ribbon at the height you will tie the cover.

Then try it in action, rolling up the sides of the cover and tying it in place with the ribbon.

Now this little wagon is finished!

Whether your dolls want to visit a pioneer camp or time travel to be a pioneer, fun awaits!

This sturdy little covered wagon will add fun to doll scenes and play!

Just in case you are interested, here is a little more about today’s post.

  • Doll-Kirsten is an archived AG doll.
  • Outfit-Kirsten’s Meet Outfit
  • Scene-Background is made with scrapbook paper.  Campfire tutorial is here.  Silver pail tutorial is here.  Barrel is made by Anna.  Silver bucket, wooden chair, and tea set are thrift store finds.  Extra shoes, wooden spoon and spoon bag are from Kirsten’s collection.

Time to explore new places with your dolls!!

We want to see your camp adventures! SHARE what you create. Email camp photos ONLY to team@dolldiaries.com (note, that is different from our normal address), post your photos on our Facebook wall, pin your photos and use #campdolldiaries on Pinterest, share photos on Instagram using #campdolldiaries, too. 

Stop back later today for a quick craft AND a huge giveaway!