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Mommy on a Shoestring: Celebrate the Olympics with homemade Russian toys

Matryoshka dolls date back to the 1890s.
Colorful Faberge eggs contain small surprises.
Dymkovo toys can be animals or people.

Celebrate the Sochi Olympics with these traditional Russian crafts that symbolize family, joy, hope and fortitude. And like the athletes, say, Pust’ Poveselit’sya!* or Let’s have fun!

Matryoshka Dolls

Matryoshka dolls (commonly known as Russian nesting doll) date back to the 1890s. The name Matryoshka was a popular female name and was often used to reference a mother with a large family. To make your own set of Matryoshka dolls follow these directions courtesy of the folks at Cultural Care Au Pair.

You need:

Nesting Dolls Template and Faces (you can download this for free at http://bit.ly/1jOvHYs

Several pieces of patterned paper (different patterns)

Glue

Make the dolls:

Print the templates and then cut each shape according to directions.

Trace templates (body, scarf, tie) onto various pieces of patterned paper.

For each doll, glue the scarf to the body and the face and tie to the scarf.

Fabergé Eggs

Peter Carl Faberge is one of Russia’s most famous jewelers. He served under Tsar Alexander III who commissioned him to make a special Easter present for his wife, Empress Maria. The gift? A jeweled egg made of gold and covered with white enamel. Inside the egg was a special surprise, a gold hen with ruby eyes. Maria was so enamored by the present, that the Tsar commissioned another egg for the following year. Over the course of the next 30 years, Faberge designed over 50 unique jeweled eggs. Today 42 remain, as several disappeared during the Russian Revolution. Our version of the Imperial Egg is a little less costly, but the beauty, design and special surprise can be just as unique.

You need:

Plastic eggs

Paint

Permanent marker (optional)

Rhinestones, glitter, stickers

Glue

Small surprise (to hide inside the egg)

Make the eggs:

Pull the egg apart and paint each half as desired. Allow time to dry

Add “bling” with rhinestones, glitter, stickers and glue.

Use a sharpie to draw intricate designs and patterns.

Before assembling the egg, place a small surprise inside, such as a penny, trinket or beaded pendant.

Dymkovo Toy

Russian folk art is mystical, colorful and festive and the Dymkovo toy is no exception. The toy, which is usually a clay animal or person, dates back to the 15th century when the people of Veliky Ustyug (who rebelled against Moscow and the heavy-handed Tsar) were exiled to a remote part of the country known as Dymkovo. The settlers were strong and resilient and many found ways to showcase their talent by making clay toys and pennywhistles. The toys were created during the spring holiday as a symbol of hope, joy and new beginnings. Traditionally Dymkovo toys are made with red clay and painted white with colorful accents and geometric patterns. The toy shapes range from birds, pigs and cows to fairytale characters, townsfolk and clowns.

You need:

Model Magic (or air drying clay)

Paint

Make the toy:

Create your own Dymkovo Toy by molding the Model Magic into an animal or person. Allow time to dry.

Paint the toy white and add festive accents and patterns

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