|A nesting doll family|
|Sketching the design|
I looked at a lot of vintage elephant prints and toys to get the retro feel I wanted. My initial sketches were a little scary, I thought, but eventually I drew some I was happy with. I just drew the designs with regular old pencil.
|The finished designs|
I wasn't super thrilled with the matryoshka blanks when I first saw them because the bases hadn't been sanded down, so they still had little bumps on the bottom where they were attached to the lathe. They were also very hard to open and close because they fit together extremely tightly. So, I sanded the bases and interior edges down with my Dremel tool.
|The blanks needed sanding.|
|I used low VOC latex paints.|
|A tiny brush|
In keeping with my child safe theme, I decided to use all natural homemade paste wax to finish the dolls, rather than polyurethane or commercial wax. I found Crunchy Betty's wood polish recipe perfect.
|Melting the beeswax|
Betty's idea to melt the wax right in the jar instead of dirtying a double boiler is pure genius!
|The wax is melted right in the jar.|
I doubled the original recipe and added 25 drops of lime essential oil (from Young Living of course!) because I just adore that fragrance! I have a bunch of wooden spoons I want to refresh with this polish, so I wanted a food safe oil option.
|I used YL lime oil to scent it.|
Once the wax hardened I just applied it like paste wax, rubbing it all over the insides and outsides of each piece, letting it sit, and then buffing it off. The polish leaves a smooth, buttery finish that feels wonderful, protects the paint, and makes them easier to open and close.
|Baby's tiny tail!|
I did have trouble deciding whether the elephants should have hair, and if so, what color hair. In the end I gave the mother and sister lots of hair but the father and baby didn't get much. I tried to add some textural interest using 3-D accents. Things like buttons and polka dots and necklaces are all slightly raised paint. My Russian set has raised details like that and I think they appeal to children and adults.
|The family nests together.|