Russian Paper Nesting Dolls

By  Mary Ayres 

  • Russian Paper Nesting Dolls


  • Cardstock or construction paper: lt. pink, dk. pink, black, red, bright green, blue, yellow
  • Wiggle eyes: two small, two large
  • Black cording, 24” length


  • Circle paper punch and hole punch
  • API Crafter’s Pick The Ultimate! Glue
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Black marker

Pattern - Russian Paper Nesting Dolls

  • 1. Print and cut out patterns. Cut body shapes from red paper and head shape from blue paper. (For small doll, reduce patterns 75%.) Glue head on body shape.
  • 2. Measure and cut the following circles: one 2-1/2" pink (face), two 1-1/2" black (hair), two 3/4" dk. pink (cheeks), two 1-1/2" blue (scarf ties), one 3/4" blue (scarf center), one 1-1/2" yellow (flower), one 3/4" red (flower center), five 1" green (leaves). For small doll, cut circles as follows: 1-7/8" (face), two 1" (hair), two 1/2" (cheeks), two 1" (scarf ties), one 1/2" (scarf center), one 1" (flower), one 1/2" (flower center), five 3/4" (leaves).
  • 3. Cut black circles, 1" and 1-1/2" blue circles, and green circles in half.
  • 4. Using photo as guide, glue cheeks, hair, scarf, flower, and leaves on body.
  • 5. Use black marker to draw details on scarf, flowers, and leaves. Draw smile.
  • 6. Position large doll body pieces together. Use hole punch to punch holes on body shapes as indicated on pattern. Measure and cut 24" length of cording. Insert cording through hole on body, going over and under, and in and out, of each hole. See photo. Knot ends on other side.
  • 7. Glue small doll pieces together. Insert small doll inside large doll.
  • About Russian Nesting Dolls
  • 1. Inspired by the Matryoshka nested dolls that are often wooden and intricately painted, these paper versions are simple to make and fun to share! Traditionally, four or five dolls are nested together, largest to smallest. They're often designs of peasant girls or fairytale characters and some modern versions even depict Russian politicians!