DIY Russian Nesting Dolls

How to Make Chalkboard Russian Nesting Dolls
Imaginative Crafts, Do-It-Yourself Projects and Video Tutorials by Robert Mahar,
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Blank set of nesting dolls*
Chalkboard paint
*Online source for blank set of nesting dolls:…

Fine-grain sand paper
Painter’s tape
Foam brush

1. Begin by lightly sanding your blank wood set of nesting dolls, using a fine-grain sandpaper.  Wipe down with a soft cloth or paper towel.

2. Tape off the connecting portions of the dolls using painter’s tape.  The tops and bottoms fit snugly and you don’t want to get paint in these areas, potentially affecting how they open and close.

3. To create a set of ombre colored set of nesting dolls use one primary shade of chalkboard paint and pour a little into a series of disposable cups — one cup for each doll.  Paint one doll with the undiluted paint.  Add an increasing amount of white acrylic paint to each cup, creating a series of lighter shades to paint each of the subsequent dolls.  Paint your first coat using vertical brush strokes and then allow the paint to dry for about an hour.  Paint your second coat using horizontal strokes – this cross-hatched surface will be better for drawing.  After your second coat of paint dries, look over your pieces to determine if you need to paint and third coat for complete coverage.  Allow your final coat of chalkboard paint to cure overnight.

4. Once your paint has dried and cured, take a stick of white chalk and rub the side all over the surface of your dolls and rub it off with a soft cloth or paper towel.  This step is called seasoning the chalkboard paint and makes it easier to draw and erase the chalk.

5. Now you can draw on your dolls with chalk, erase and redraw over and over!

Helpful Tips:
• You can use standard chalk sticks to draw on your nesting dolls or to draw finer lines, use chalk pencils from your local art supply store.  Note that the darker colored chalk pencils may need to be erased with a damp cloth.
• You can draw your nesting dolls to look like traditional matryoshka or get creative and draw them to resemble your family, friends or pets!

©Robert Mahar,