Matryoshka: Crafty Russian Dolls To Make

These sweet dolls are loved by both young and old with decorative themes ranging from folk art to fabulous.

DIY Nesting Doll Pincushion & Handmade Ornaments

Matryoshka are sometimes called “Babushka” dolls, but essentially they are the same thing.

They are of Russian origin and represent “Mother” or “Little Matron” who nestles her family safely inside, one by one with the littlest (the baby) in a single, solid piece.

They were originally designed around the Peasant mother (in traditional costume with peasant dress & shawl) which symbolized family and fertility, but today’s themes are unlimited from peasants to royalty to politicians and even animals.

The online crafting community has come up with some really creative ideas for fans and I had a lot of fun researching this collection.

You can repurpose old nesting sets or make new ones by using wooden blanks found at local craft stores (or online at places such as Amazon and Etsy).

A simple ornament idea that is so lovely and gift-worthy is to transform a mini-set of wooden blanks (all the same size in either doll shape or egg shape) by hand painting each, inserting tiny eye hooks at the top (into the head) and finally string with decorative ribbon. These are super sweet for the Christmas tree or to hang off Christmas stocking loops or Easter baskets as charms.

An easy way to find decorative elements to work with is by searching online for coloring pages or templates, you’ll find a bunch with different patterns for inspiration. I also added a design sample sheet at the bottom of the page, just click on it to view a larger size.

Free Matryoshka Projects & DIY Ideas

I found some great nesting/stacking projects (including instructions for how to paint them), but I’ve also included everything from charming printables to needlework to bookmarks and ornaments…even a beautiful baked cake…enjoy!

As always here on Tipnut, only those tutorials that are 100% hassle-free are included in this collection. This means there are no fees charged, no email addresses to submit and no membership sign-ups required. Any necessary pattern or template pieces are provided (usually via pdf download). I also mainly focus on text & image tutorials, though some may provide additional support via video. If that has changed since being added to this page, please let me know in the comments area below so I can remove it.

Directions: Click on images to view project page, a new browser tab will open & save your spot here

Nesting Eggs

Plastic Easter eggs in assorted sizes are covered with origami paper & Mod Podge. Facial & hair elements are simple cuts from card stock. Cute!


Paper Angels

Sweet little paper cuties that can be used for decoration or play, at the bottom of the article you’ll find a few more color/design options to download (all via pdf).


Crochet Ornament

Such a sweet little friend that hangs from a ribbon loop. The body is filled with a bit of stuffing to give it some shape, the front dress is made with pretty fabric & the face is felt.



Hard to tell from the photo but there’s a decorative yarn fringe along the bottom hem. Instructions provided in both English & Spanish, includes text crochet pattern & stitch chart graphic.


Doll Charms

Wow, these are darling! Made with polymer clay in various colors & craft wire. The full tutorial is provided via pdf download.



A free printable is provided for patterned cardstock (by right clicking on .jpg image template & saving to print). Accordian-style folds with the smaller shapes tucked in behind the largest.


Pincushion/Needle Keep

An orphaned, wooden doll is transformed into a cute little pin keep cushion. Travels well!


Nested Paper Card Pockets

The download link doesn’t seem to be working but I found this old link that still has the pdf freebie available:


Lavender Bags

Sweet, lavender filled sachets to hang in closets or tuck into drawers. A free template is provided (via pdf). Faces are embroidered with basic stitches (beginner friendly).


Fabric Bookends

General instructions provided for making a set of lovely bookends using pretty, decorative fabric. Make a larger size and it will be suitable as a door stop. Uncooked rice is used for stuffing (will give a nice weight). The faces can be drawn on or stitched as desired.


Fabric Softies

The template file linked to is in Google Drive but I found it requires permission to download. You can still click on the displayed images then right click on them to download to your computer desktop.


Inspo For Design Elements

Matryoshka Design Elements Examples
Click Image To View Larger Size

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    • Charlotte Massey-Crouch

    Thank you for all these darlin’ Matryoshka doll references! I love these sweet dollies, and they are so appealing when sewn into soft, squishy and huggable dolls for the little ones. My favorite project is the adorable Matryoshka needle book. Who would not love seeing this pretty little Matryoshka whenever one sought a sewing needle? I had purchased a tiny vinyl zippered Matryoshka sewing kit some years ago that I have carried in my purse for little sewing mishaps. But I would love to make one or two of them as gifts. Handmade things are so much more beautiful than things that are mass produced. It warms my heart when someone takes the time to make a special gift for me. ? Thanks so much again for the Matryoshkas and for every tip that you offer to the world on your site! It is incredibly helpful. Many blessings to you and yours. ?

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