Today we’re bringing you our first Christmas DIY of the season—holiday nesting dolls. This project is reminiscent of our popular hand-painted nativity and DIY dala horse. Like those, these holiday nesting dolls start from natural wood shapes and turn into colorful heirlooms by the time you’re done. It’s the perfect type of Christmas craft!
What Are Nesting Dolls?
Though nesting dolls we know today came from Russia, the original nesting dolls actually date back to ancient China. Both Russian and Chinese nesting dolls rely on the same concept—one large doll (often representing the mother or maternal figure) encompasses a set of smaller dolls. However, the smallest of the Chinese nesting dolls held a grain of rice (that’s a tiny doll!).
Before the traditional dolls made their way to Russia, they caught on in Japan. It was there that a Russian woman noticed the dolls and took them with her to Russia. Her husband, Savva Mamontov, was a patron of the arts particularly interested in Russian folk art.
The first Russian dolls appeared in the late 1800s, where they were referred to as “Matroyshka,” which comes from the Latin root “mater,” or mother. We love the symbol of the nesting dolls as much as the dolls themselves—as it represents creation and new life (something we all hope for at the end of this tumultuous year!).
Now we’ll show you how to make your very own holiday nesting dolls you can pass down for generations to come.
How to paint your own nesting dolls
This project was heavily influenced by our mid-century heirloom nativity set. You can see that project here.
- You can either start out by painting each one a solid color like I did. OR you can pencil in your design.
- Pencil in your design or continue painting in the design.
- That’s it!
It’s a simple method that produces big results!
Can’t wait to see what you come up with. Once you do, tag us with #HolidaysWithLars or #LarsMakes.
If you liked this, you might also like