They already have stuffed Mario and Luigi dolls and the only one I'd seen besides them that was on the list was Fire Mario. It was either make the dolls or make a dress-up set for their stuffed Mario and Luigi's. Seeing that I had to start working on this with only 2 weeks before Christmas, I opted to make the dolls.
Last summer, I bought these wooden peg dolls from this etsy shop, gemmielou. I was going to use them to paint knights when we studied castles in the spring. However, recently, I saw a post on Filth Wizardry where she painted Star Wars characters for her daughter's birthday (hers are so awesome, it really will make you realize how little artistic talent I have- I only hope to be as good as my brother or sister someday). I went to the the sound of design flickr page she got inspired by for the design and there was a set of "cartooned" Mario characters. I used that for most of them, but had to make up a few, namely the superhero and rockstar ones.
From left to right, for the Luigis (right to left for the Marios), cat, fire, ice, propeller, rockstar, superhero, and regular. I didn't do the Mega.
To paint the dolls, I used my kids washable crayola poster paint. I lightly sketched some of the stuff on with pencil. Everything was done with one of the paintbrushes that came with a Crayola watercolor set. I invested in an 8 pack of colored sharpies this summer, so I used those for some very fine details, like the streaks in the rockstars hair, tattoos on their sidearms, and chesthair. Once the paint was dry, I brushed each with a hefty coating of ModPodge (holy awesomeness!!!). It goes on kind of cloudy white, but when it dries, they are nice and glossy and keeps the paint from chipping. WOW! I've been afraid to open mine for months, not knowing what to expect. Be prepared for me to be using a lot of this stuff now. The only thing is since I used washable paint, the more I brushed, the more I risked dissolving the paint on the characters (see the bottom right of rockstar Luigi).
It took me about four hours to do in total, but it was well worth it. I hope my kids have many hours of creative, imaginative Mario play with these dolls!