Modern twist on Russian dolls

Babushka dolls {Project Kate}

Inspired by a set of Babushka/Russian/Nesting Dolls I saw on Pinterest, I wanted to give this project a go. I thought that I’d give this traditional doll a modern facelift, and I LOVE the results.

So here’s what you’ll need to do to have a go yourself.


  • A set of dolls (or many, like me. I got mine from eBay in bulk)
  • Paints. I used general Acrylics.
  • Paint brushes. You’ll need a couple of sizes, a bigger one to do the blocks of colour and a smaller one for details.
  • Painters tape (it’s worth investing in a roll of the good stuff)
  • Sand paper (Optional, some of the dolls needed a fine sand just to make the perfect)
  • Primer (Optional, but the timber does soak up your paint a bit)
  • Timber stain (Optional, depends on the look your going for)
  • Spray paint (Optional, makes the block colours quicker if you’re doing more than one)
  • Clear Gloss/Varnish/Estapol (Optional, but makes the finish nicer and longer lasting)

Babushka dolls {Project Kate}

Babushka dolls {Project Kate}

First, prime your timber if desired. I found by doing this I used less coats of paint later. I didn’t with my first set, but noticed the difference later on.

Then, paint your base colour/s. For this one I painted the tops white (with spray paint) and left the bottoms just primed. The primer itself brought enough of the timber features out that I didn’t feel the need to stain this set – but another set I used a darker stain on the bottom.

Babushka dolls {Project Kate}

Using the painters tape, mask off some details. For this set, I wanted a single pink stripe. As the dolls are round, you need to be careful to stretch the tape around as you go, to make sure the edge where you will paint is totally flat and sealed. This results in the top of the tape ‘gaping’ as you stretch, but as paint isn’t going near here, this is fine. (see pic below) Make sure you paint all your coats and are happy with the paint coverage before removing the tape.

Babushka dolls {Project Kate}Babushka dolls {Project Kate}

Once the paint is dry, remove the tape carefully to reveal a nice sharp edge. Babushka dolls {Project Kate}

Once you’ve finished painting your layers and highlights – time to give them a lovely sheen. I used a brush on gloss at first, but found the spray on version much easier, when you painting 5 dolls per set.

Ta Da! Before, during, after. Babushka dolls {Project Kate}

And the finished result. They look modern, fresh and very cute!Babushka dolls {Project Kate}

Some other designs I did. See the lovely gloss finish. Babushka dolls {Project Kate}Babushka dolls {Project Kate}Babushka dolls {Project Kate}

If you give this project a go, come back and share your results.

1 comment
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  • Halee Holland15/05/2015 - 1:30 am

    These are so fun! I love Russian nesting dolls. I really like some of your color combos. They would also make a wonderful gift.ReplyCancel

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