10 Nesting Dolls Made From Unusual Materials

As nesting dolls grow more popular every day, crafters, artists and even non-artists are starting to make matryoshki out of all sorts of things! We decided to compile some of the more interesting ones here, even though we are definitely partial to the traditional, wooden nesting dolls from Russia.

1. Hama Midi Beads Babushka

Hama Midi Beads Nesting Doll
Hama Beads matryoshka

What are hama beads? You might know just by looking at the picture… if not, here is a quick history… They were first made in 1971 by Malte Haaning, who had been working with plastics and making drinking straws for 10 years prior. He saw an opportunity with making plastic beads, as beads in general were becoming a more popular item. His beads “took off” and today they come in 3 sizes and are sold all over the world. This particular design was sold in a package with instructions to make this Russian doll, but the real fun comes when you design your own doll (or anything else).

2. BabushCAN

From plastic to aluminum… BabushCAN was designed for CANstruction® in NYC in 2010.
It was made with 3,472 cans and fed approximately 2,000 New Yorkers

Nesting Doll Made From Cans
Nesting doll made from cans by Thornton Tomasetti
Canstruction's website:

"Canstruction® is a unique charity art exhibition and event featuring structures made by teams of volunteers, youth groups and/or Canstruction contractors. Our structures are made entirely out of full cans of food. At the end of our exhibitions or events all food is donated to local hunger relief organizations. Some Citywide Can Art Exhibition participants compete against one another in the Canstruction International Competition to win titles for the best structures."

So this Babushka helped stopped hunger! You can too; tuna or soda anyone?

3. Tuna Babushcan Tabs

Matryoshka crafted from tuna can tab
Matryoshka can tabs

Sticking with the tuna cans… how about a crafty mini matryoshka tuna can tab!? We are unsure of what the face and belly are really made out of (possibly polymer clay) but we think you can get as creative as you want with this one. Soda can tabs also work well, but are a bit smaller than tuna can tabs.

4. Legos Russian Dolls

Everyone loves Legos… so here it is… the Lego Nesting Doll… ta da!

Nesting dolls made from Legos
Nesting dolls made from Legos®

The Russian doll made of Legos on the left was photographed by Ottenki Serogo. It is located in a gamer industry office in Moscow along with other larger-than-life Lego sculptures.

The lego matryoshka on the right was photographed by Reddit user skionxb in front of a Lego store in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2014.

I wonder how many Legos it took to build those matryoshkas; you know with all those layers upon layers?

5. Glass Matryoshka

Stained Glass Matryoshka
Stained glass matryoshka

Wow! Beautiful stained glass artwork (unfortunately we have been unable to credit the artist) representing traditional Russian matryoshka dolls. Traditional nesting dolls, also known as Red Roses nesting dolls, always have a red and yellow base color scheme and blooming roses painted on the belly, just as you see here.

6. Bushy Babushka

Babushka Bush
Babushka bush

How about cutting your shrubbery like this, for a babushka bush? It's called Topiary. Topiary is the ancient (The International Topiary Organization dates it back to 38 B.C.) art of clipping shrubbery and trees into shapes or animals. Sheared topiary of animals is quite popular in famous gardens all over the world. You can always find a giant animal or cartoon figure at California's Disneyland and Florida's Walt Disney World.

7. Snowmantryoshka!

Snowmantryoshka, Nesting Doll Made out of Snow
Snowmantryoshka - nesting doll made out of snow!

Make a whole nesting doll set with snow! No top hats, carrots, or sticks needed. Who made such a sensational snow sculpture? We're not sure, but perhaps it was done at the Igloo Building competition. The competition is a team effort for the best snow sculpture in different nominations. It is held every year (usually in March) in the Fairy-Tale Preserve site in the "Zarechniy "park across the Vyatka River in Russia.

8. Tired Nesting Doll

Russian doll made with tires
Russian doll made with tires

Bet you didn’t think you’d ever see a Russian nesting doll made out of tires! This apparently is a photo from a playground in Russia. Awesome.

9. Mmmm-Matryoshka

Nesting doll sushi roll
Russian doll sushi roll by Littlemissbento®

Little Miss Bento, Shirley Wong:

"Making kazarimakisushi (sushi art rolls) is really a thrilling process, especially when I am coming up with my own original designs and sushi recipes. After completion of the sushi roll, it is really exciting and satisfying when the sushi art roll design turned out successful.
I am definitely glad that my Russian doll sushi art roll was a success!"

10. Nesting Doll Cake &amp Cookies

Nesting Doll Cake and Cookies
Nesting doll cake (Blue Note Bakery©) and cookies

Let’s stick with food and end with cake! Cake and cookies… delicious nesting doll cake and yummy matryoshka cookies! Great for a kid's birthday party.

What other unusual material matryoshka are out there?

Let us know!

About the author

Lindsey Mae is freelance artist who enjoys writing posts for and The Russian Store.

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