30 Days of Christmas Shopping: Day 5, Personalised Russian Dolls

Day 5 and I’ve got a nice little arts and crafts gift idea for you. If you’ve got a tight budget but want to do something really special, thoughtful and meaningful then this one might be the one for you.

This year, I’ve done a lot of volunteering and internships. As you can imagine, at times my own personal funds have been a little bit… lacking shall we say. So when it came to my boyfriend’s birthday I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had a budget of about £20 and no idea what I could get him. One day at work, I was doing some brainstorming for a product idea and I happened upon a right corker.

Russian dolls or nesting dolls or stacking dolls, whatever you want to call them, are everywhere. My mum’s been collecting them for about ten years and over the past three, you can’t escape them in the shops. They even sell ninja ones! And the lovely thing about this trend is that they sell blank kits. So that’s what I did.

I chose to purchase a set of 10 chubby (that is what they’re called) nesting dolls and settled on the theme. For me it was quite simple seeing as my boyfriend lives and breathes games. I chose 10 characters and got cracking. The kits vary in shape and number so you can easily find a set of five or seven and get the traditional type if it’s more suitable for your theme.

I’m not a very good artist but I took my time and searched the web for cartoon versions of the characters, looked for different angles of the characters and really planned what I was going to do. Because of the type of paint you use to decorate them, you can scribble all over them in pencil and cover it all up with no trace (as long as you don’t press too hard!).

Depending on what set of dolls you get you’ll probably have to buy extra acrylic paint and brushes. I ordered mine from Amazon as I knew I wanted bright, lurid, simple colours but if your colour pallet is more specific, go to your local arts and crafts shop and pick them in person. It may be a tiny bit more expensive but shouldn’t take you out of your budget.

It took me roughly 12 hours to plan, draw and paint the dolls and luckily they dry in no time so if your partner comes home unexpectedly, you can put them away quickly and not spoil the surprise or all your hard work.

When his birthday came around he was so pleased with them he set up a photo gallery for everyone to see them and even sent an email to Kotaku showing them what I made him. So I think it worked out pretty well.

This gift obviously isn’t for everyone but it’s fun, quirky and personal. It’s one of the few gifts I’ve given and remember exactly what it was. And for the boy who has everything, for me it was perfect.

There are loads of places you can buy the blank dolls. I originally got everything from Amazon but their collection is a little bit smaller now. But with the power of the interwebs you should be able to find the perfect set for you and get it all done before Christmas.

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One thought on “30 Days of Christmas Shopping: Day 5, Personalised Russian Dolls

  1. […] Day 5, Personalised Russian Dolls: A bit of a crafty present that will add a personal touch without putting the pressure on the pockets. Buy a set of blank Russian Dolls and paint them however you wish. I did this for my boyfriend’s birthday and chose video game characters but there’s a whole world of possibilities. Budgets vary but you should be able to do it within £20. […]

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