Hand-Painted Matryoshka Dolls Mini-Tutorial


 

 
For my last project on So You Think You're Crafty, I painted a set of Matryoshka Dolls.  Also known as Russian Nesting Dolls, these sets of dolls traditionally represent motherhood.

I started out with a plain wooden set of matryoshka dolls.  I spotted mine randomly in the clearance section of Urban Outfitters, but you can find sets online at Amazon.com or other online retailers (just do a google search).

First, paint two coats of your base color.  I chose vibrant colors because I made this set with my toddler in mind. 
 

Using round sponge brushes, paint a circle in a skin-toned color to make the face.  The sponge brush won't give you a very tidy face, so use a brush to smooth out the paint, especially around the edges.  Depending on the size of your sponge brush, you may need to enlarge your face circle, but it gives you a nice starting point.

 

 

Add a face, hair, clothing, and any other details.  I used a ball-head sewing pin to paint most of my details, such as the doll's eyes, rosy cheeks, jewelry, buttons, polka dot patterns, scalloped hem, etc.  For very tiny dots, like in the bow tie on the yellow doll, you can use the sharp tip of the pin.  Just dip the pin generously with paint and place your dots.  Very easy, and gives you a consistent dot.  I painted other details with a fine tipped paint brush.



When you've painted all your details and the dolls have dried, give them a few coats of clear polyurethane varnish to protect the paint and give it a little shine.

 

And there you have it ... a custom set! I painted mine to look loosely like our family.  The only real resemblance is the little Oscar (the green doll).  I'm pretty sure Jared has never worn a bow tie, and I don't have a cute red and white polka dot apron (hmm ... maybe I should make one?).  Oh yeah, and there are a few phantom children in there.  Room to grow, I guess.



The fun part about this project is that you can paint a plain set of nesting dolls anyway you want.  I choose to paint mine as a little family, but storybook characters, groups of animals, or a modern approach with only stripes or geometric designs would look great as well.  Or, can you imagine a set of GLITTER dolls?  ooh.

If you do this project, I'd really love to see pictures!

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33 comments:

Sonja, Queen of Crafts said...

These are just darling... so sweet! Thanks for the tutorial - the idea with the pinheads for "brushes" is great!

La Tempête said...

I love these. Great job! Gorgeous colours.

C-Joy said...

What a great way to add to my growing collection of nesting dolls! Thanks for sharing :)

galadriel74 said...

good job!
beautiful!
ele

ummashin said...

What a cute project. Glitter dolls...hilarious.

Kristine said...

I'd never thought this craft would be an option. My daughter loves our set - unpacking and repacking (with increasing success) since she was about 18 months.

brandy said...

What a cute idea! I think I may need to order a set of plain dolls now! Thanks for sharing!

ANAT S said...

Thanks for a great tutorial
I love these dolls

nalan said...

sevgili jill çok güzel tasarımlar yapmışsın.
kutlarım

Jennifer said...

Really cute, and a great tutorial.

cindi said...

I've always loved matroyshkas. Thanks for such clear and easy to follow directions. I want to make some now!

Slowish Food said...

Cute cute cute! What a great idea for a little girl!

Melanie said...

I loved these on SYTYC. Thanks for posting the tut.

Joanna said...

These are so cute! I love matryoshka dolls, and you could even use a crackle paint to make them antiqued.

Laurie Anne said...

These are awesome! Great job!xox

Our Army of Six said...

This is amazing! I recently found these at Hobby Lobby and determined to get them and paint them this year. Now I know I can do it! Thank you!!

Jessica said...

This is such a cute idea! I love it! Thanks so much for sharing all your craft projects. You've really inspired me, so thank you.

justenoughstyle.etsy.com

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Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Oh how cute!!! I love this idea. Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

Jamie C. said...

I couldn't believe this didn't carry you to the next round. I LOVED them. They reminded me of the wooden spool people I made for my girls a few years ago. I like the size of these. Thanks for another great idea.

vanessa said...

These are just adorable. I love how you used the back of a pushpin to make the ruffle details. Your blog is such a fun read--thanks for sharing your creativity.

buy r4i said...

Beautiful dolls! Nice project. I like everything about it.
Thanks to show that how to make it. I would like to make such for my little niece.

Tiffany said...

Thanks so much for the tutorial. I've been wanting to paint a set of my family for years, but never had the courage to do it until I saw yours! I'm having the same "phantom children" dilemma, though. Should I buy a set of dolls equal to our current family size, or a few spares, just in case? =)

Ginger said...

Loved this so much here a award for you great blog!
I personally thank this blogger for making my day brighter by sharing with us:

The Bauers said...

Jill what a great idea!! love it- and I was of course voting like crazy for you, you did so great!!
Thanks for inspiriing me to be crafty. It has really helped me pass the time while Ben is so busy studying. I don't know if you know, but i started a blog and just did a project that was inspiried by your finger puppets. it's here if you wanna check it out
www.itsgoodfortheheart.blogspot.com
LOVE your blog girl, keep up the great work!! (and tell Jared hi for me!)

dining room tables said...

Thanks for the tutorial! They are so cute! This needs patience and creativity!

Jamie said...

very impressive! :) great job!

Catherine Anne said...

I just love them. You have got yourself a new reader

Jen~ Lipstick and Laundry said...

Super Duper CUTE! I love the details!

Kathy said...

Thank you for sharing! My daughter always wants to play with the Matryoshka dolls my parents got me in Russia. Now I can make a set just for her! I never thought to look online for a do-it-yourself set.

upstateLisa said...

so cute!!!!!

Nikola Hartmann Studio said...

Sooo cute! Wonderful tutorial - thank you

Colleen said...

I love these. I think I might have to make a set for my daughter Jane. She would love to have a version of our own wooden family.

Blog Buddy said...

I have a huge collection of nesting dolls-started by my grandma:) I found a not-so-attractive set at a local thrift store...and now I know what to do with them!!! Thanks-super cool idea *Two-Thumbs Up!!!