About Russian Lacquer Boxes

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Authentic Russian lacquer boxes last more than a lifetime. They are made with paper, hard like wood, and will never deteriorate due to the weather. Read more about them and enjoy!

The level of detail in our Russian lacquer boxes is just phenomenal. From our smaller boxes with exquisite miniature landscapes, to our fairytale lacquered boxes, to our larger boxes with vibrant colors and beautiful art, you can really tell how talented the artists are. Sure to be a family heirloom, these boxes are handcrafted, and imported in small quantities.

Each one of our lacquered boxes has been hand carved and hand painted by skilled artists living and working in Russia. We take pride in this collection especially because these pieces are all wonderful and we have never seen any other store that rivals this selection. Being based in Arizona, we also have a fine selection of Southwestern inspired decorative boxes. These boxes were made in Russia upon a special request from our buyers. You will find nothing like these boxes anywhere else. Uniqueness and customer service is what separates The Russian Store from our competitors. Experience the difference today and enjoy one of these amazing decorative boxes.

Popular Themes and Illustrations on Russian Lacquer Boxes

  • Fairytales are popular on all Russian Lacquer Boxes. Some of the most common fairy tales are: The Firebird, The Golden Cockerel, and The Frog Princess.
  • Floral patterns involving leaves, berries, roses, and more.
  • Winter scenes usually involving troika and outstanding landscapes. These winter scene lacquer boxes are popular for many reasons, one major reason though, is an obvious one… snow is amazingly beautiful, and seeing it in a miniature painting on a shiny black box is a cool thing!
  • Other- Special Order like a Southwestern theme. These authentic Russian lacquer boxes were made specifically for us here at The Russian Store.
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How Are Lacquer Boxes Made?

All lacquer boxes start with either paper or wood. The traditional method uses papier-mâché. This lengthy, many step method takes anywhere from 4-6 months from start to finish. Paper- mache has many benefits over wood; it is cheaper, lighter, and will not be affected by climate.

Papier-mâché Russian Lacquer Box – Step by Step Process

  1. Wood pulp cardboard is cut into strips of various sizes.
  2. The cardboard strips are coated with some paste.
  3. The cardboard is then wrapped around a particular shaped object and is put under pressure for an extended period of time.
  4. The pressed cardboard is taken off the object and set to dry for 20-30 days. This is called the roll.
  5. Flat cardboard is glued to the bottom and top of the roll. These are the plates.
  6. One the roll and plates are dry, they are soaked in hot linseed oil.
  7. After the soaking, they are dried in very hot ovens.
  8. Then they are cut and sanded to make the semi-finished product.
  9. Hinges are added for the lid.
  10. Several coats of primer.
  11. Hand polished.
  12. Several coats of lacquer inside and out. (black and red)
  13. Dried and ready for paint!

Fedoskino Paint Method

  1. The artist starts with a sketch that is transferred onto the box with tracing paper and chalk.
  2. A metallic base is applied. (aluminum powder, gold leaf, or mother-of-pearl)
  3. The first layer of paint is put on, followed by a couple rounds of lacquer.
  4. Once dry again the second layer of paint is put on… with a little more detail than the first. This is followed by more lacquer and dry time.
  5. The third and final layer of last touches are applied, followed by lacquer and dry time again.
  6. Gold trim is added on sides by either hand-painting, skan (silver or gold inlaid), or by pen and ruler.
  7. Yet another dose of lacquer and dry time.
  8. Hand polished to perfection!

Lacquer Box FAQs

Is my lacquer box made of paper or wood?

One way to tell is by lightly tapping on the box with your fingertip or fingernail. Wooden boxes will make a deep, hollow sound while paper-mache boxes make a soft, muted sound.

Is my lacquer box a genuine Russian lacquer box?

Sometimes the only way to tell is to take it to an expert, but start your research by looking at the box closely- is there a date, place, title, or signature? These can help determine where and who produced it, but look even closer at the detail of the painting. Is it realistic or flat? Heavily detailed or pretty simple? Please keep in mind that knock-offs could have a forged signature, so the best way to ensure that you own a genuine Russian lacquer box is to purchase one from a reputable source.

Why a Russian Lacquer Box?

A lacquer box is something worthy of purchasing for a gift for many reasons. One, it will last forever. Russian lacquer boxes are made with paper-mache – not wood – which means they will never warp due to the climate. They can travel the world and be in the family for generations.

Another great thing about ’em is they will be able to see their wonderful gift everyday and always be reminded of you and the reason why the gift happened.

Certain Russian lacquer boxes are perfect for Christmas gifts. Beautiful white snow scenes and Russian tales of Morozko, Father Frost, all expertly hand painted. What a special way to surprise anyone during any winter holiday, really!

The box could be used for literally anything. Jewelry, reading glasses, nick-knacks, push pins, keys, and lots more!

Russian lacquer boxes are so rich in history and who wouldn’t want a miniature painting by a real artist on a cool black box?

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