• American Girl Doll Crafter

DIY Doll Tractor - Summer On The Farm 2019

Once the land has been prepared and the growing season arrives, the time comes to plant seeds. Farmers of the past had to sow their seeds by hand. However, thanks to advancement in technology as seen in the tractor, planting crops and clearing land has become much easier!

Believe it or not, tractors have been around for 127 years! While the first ever tractor was not actually called by that name, it did serve the same purpose— to plow fields faster and more efficiently. The very first tractor was built in 1892 by John Froelich, and was powered by gasoline and petrol (a type of fuel). This attempt to create a machine that would replace the hard toil of plowing was not very popular among the American agriculture community. After 20 years of experimentation, a successful tractor was finally designed in 1903 by the Hart-Parr Tractor Company. These tractors were steam powered and extremely heavy, weighing up to 60,000 pounds! Bulky, hard-to-repair machines were not ideal for the rough fields, so a new option was desperately needed. The problem was solved in 1917 when Henry Ford introduced his Fordson Tractor. Affordable, lightweight, and durable, the Fordson tractor was extremely popular. Within just a few years, tractors soon became widely accepted as a very important part of farm life.

As we’ve seen, the tractor has changed a lot over the years— and so has its uses! Originally, tractors were created to plow fields. Since then, new opportunities have been opened to farmers and their tractors. A tractor may be used to till and harrow the land; both are processes in which the tractor overturns and gently lifts the soil. Planters can be secured to the back of tractors so the farmer can plant seeds quickly in neat rows, while special harvesting equipment attached to the machine helps to gather and transport crops like hay.

If your doll is ready to get rolling on a tractor of her own, then grab your supplies for today's craft!


  • Foam board, thick and thin

  • Xacto knife or cutting tool

  • Tractor Side Template

  • Tractor Engine Printable

  • Hot glue gun

  • Glue stick

  • Popsicle sticks

  • Paint in the color of your choice

  • Scissors or wire cutters

  • Two paper bowls

  • Two empty soup cans

  • Cardstock in the color of your choice

  • Three large wooden beads

  • Inner part of a jar lid

Measurements List:

* / indicates fraction of an inch.

  • Back (Thick foam board): 7x 5 and 1/4

  • Base (Thick): 15 x 5

  • Seat (Thick): 5 and 1/4 x 2 and 1/4

  • Top (Thick): 8 and 1/4 x 5

  • Center (Thick): 8 x 7 and 1/4

  • Front (Thin foam board): 8 x 5 and 1/2

1. Using the measurements list as a guide, cut out all of the pieces needed to create your tractor.

2. Begin assembly by attaching the back seat piece to the base piece.

3. Attach the front piece to the other end of the base.

4. Attach the side pieces to the base and front piece as shown in the picture above.

5. Trace the center tractor piece on the Engine Printable, then carefully cut out. Glue to the side of the piece. You will need to repeat this step for the other side.

6. Glue the center piece in the middle of the base, attaching one side to the front.

7. Add hot glue to the center piece and the top edges of side piece, then side lowly slide the top piece in between the side pieces. This may be a bit tricky, but provides better support for the tractor.

8. Cut a 5 and 1/2 x 1 inch rectangle of foam board and glue horizontally to the front. Cut another 7 and 1/4 x 1 rectangle of foam board and glue vertically to the center of the front.

9. Now it's time to paint! Tractors come in many different colors. Most are blue, orange, red, and of course, there's the ever-popular John Deere green and yellow!

10. To create the grill of the tractor, cut popsicle sticks measuring 2 inches in length. Paint them the color of your choice.

Attach the popsicle sticks using hot glue, leaving a small amount of space in between.

11. Take your two empty soup cans and glue them to the base of the back end.

12. Glue the seat piece on top of the cans.

13. To create tires for your tractor, paint a paper bowl black. Add a pop of color by tracing a jar lid or other circular object on cardstock, then secure in the center of the wheel with glue

14. Attach the wheels to either side.

15. To add a cover for the back tires, cut a 2 x 8 inch rectangle of cardstock and glue to the edge of the back wheel.

16. For the front tire I was unable to find a jar lid in the proportionate size, so I traced a oatmeal canister lid onto foam to out instead. Cut a small circle of cardstock for the center of the wheel. Paint a large wooden bead black, then secure to the back of the tire with hot glue. Once you have repeated this process for the second tire, attach the wheels to the front end of the tractor.

17. We will need one more wheel to complete the tractor! For the steering wheel, paint a large wooden bead black and glue in the center of the front piece, about an inch from the edge. Paint the inner part of a jar lid black to match, then secure to the bead with hot glue,

18. A smokestack allows the tractor to rid of exhaust, and our doll's tractor will require one too! Cut a 3 x 4 and 1/2 inch rectangle of cardstock and roll into a cylinder secure the edges with hot glue, then attach to the center of the top piece.

The doll tractor is now complete— let's roll!

Down on Pleasant View Farm, the old tractor has been brought out of the shed to help clear the tall, grassy fields. The farm's reliable manager, Catarina, is going to demonstrate to the girls how she drives this special vehicle.

"Hey, Cat!" Blaire calls as she and Penney walk towards the bright green machine.

"What's up, Blaire and Penney!" Cat replies cheerfully. "Ready to see how we drive the tractor on the farm?"

"I'll show you how I work in the field on old Bessie, but first, we can't have any piggies for drivers. Nice try, Wilbur. I just don't think you're ready to take the wheel yet... he he!"

Ooooooink! (Ugh, you never let me drive!)

Cat starts up the reliable Doll Deere tractor. With a rumble and roar of the engine, she skillfully maneuvers the tractor to prepare the fields for planting.

"WOW!" Penney shouts in wonder. "Look at it go!"

"Good job, Cat!" Blaire calls after her.

Cat is on a roll, thanks to her Doll Deere tractor!

Welcome farmhand Cat to Summer On The Farm! She will be making her official appearance this week in Penney's Farm Journals, be on the lookout for more of our new character.

Farm Finds

  • Hay bales and greenery shrub - Hobby Lobby

  • Blaire's outfit - Kit's Gardening Outfit from American Girl

  • Penney's outfit - Top (Our Generation), Overalls (AG), and boots (Sophia's)

  • Cat's outfit - Top (American Girl), Overalls (Our Generation), boots (AG), and hat (Hobby Lobby)

Agriculture Alternatives

When crafting, improvise and create using what works best for YOU! At the end of each camp craft, we'll be sharing ideas for alternative materials.

  • Instead of cutting foam board pieces for the tractor, cut out the base using cardboard, then glue various sized boxes to create the front/engine and back seat.

  • Use a large straw or old clothespin for the smokestack

  • Use water bottle caps in the place of beads

Camp posts will be shared on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week.

If you complete a craft or want to share a photo of your doll at camp, snap a picture and send it in, OR share on Instagram using the hashtag #SummerOnTheFarm2019 to be featured in the Farm Flashback each Sunday!