For the fourth day of A Gift a Day, I made felt Matryoshka doll (nesting dolls) puppet for Ivory. My other children have seen me making these, and all of them think they are really neat (even my 8-year-old son!) so I think these could be made for any age.

These turned out to be a lot more time-consuming of a gift than I had planned. Had I left them just as they were in the pattern, I probably would have completed them in 2 hours. Instead, I spent about 6 hours researching pictures of real nesting dolls, picking my favorites, and designing the embroidery. I tried a few things that didn’t quite work which meant time tearing them out and trying again.

And then I spent many, many more hours embroidering them.

In the end, though, I think it was worth it.

If I wanted to make these again, I would be able to significantly cut down my time, because I could copy the embroidery design that I did on these. If you like my embroidery, you can copy it too!

Matryoshka Doll Felt Finger Puppets


wool felt (search on Etsy for suppliers)
embroidery thread in colors to match what you choose
white pearl cotton in size 8 (optional, you could use white embroidery thread instead, which is also less expensive. I bought mine at Joann’s with a 40% off coupon).
free pdf pattern


sewing needle with a large eye for embroidery


Actual cutting, sewing and embroidery time: about 14 hours. If you don’t do the extra embroidery like I did, 3 hours (allowing time for a few mistakes).

A few notes on the embroidery:

All colored stitching was done with 2 strands of embroidery thread. All white stitching was done with one strand of size 8 pearl cotton. If using white embroidery thread, I would use two strands.

The tops of eyes/eyelashes and mouth were worked in backstitch.

The flowers are lazy daisy stitch, except for the blue flowers, which are just straight stitches.

All lines were worked in stem stitch/backstitch.

For the French knots, I wrapped the thread twice, except for the eyes, which I wrapped three times.

For the leaves on the thistle, I sewed them using the leaf stitch. The stems were sewn using the backstitch.

If you’re new to embroidering, don’t be afraid! Check out my embroidery links here on my website for more information.


These used very little felt and thread. If you don’t already have felt and thread, you’ll need to spend more to have these supplies. I bought supplies last to make felt paper dolls, so no out of pocket for this year. Calculating the actual amount of felt and thread used, these cost less than $1 for all three.

Did you make any gifts today? What did you make?

This post is linked to Funky Junk Interiors, Inspiration Monday, Wow us Wednesdays, We Did It Wednesdays,

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  1. These are just wonderful and beautiful! Maddie is 6 and still loves finger puppets and putting on puppet shows, planning and writing the dialogue. I once spent time doing cross-stitch and embroidery so I’d have to freshen up my needle skills… but these are adorable and worth it.

  2. Beautiful! Today I finished up the sewing on a pair of slippers for my mom (Birthday gift, which is Sunday). I am also continuing on a pair of knit socks for my mom for Christmas (those will take weeks)!

  3. Gorgeousness! My favorite of your gifts so far! The extra time shows itself in the quality and craftmanship of the puppets…and I always say that the time given through the making of a handmade gift is most of the gift itself! Well done!

  4. These are just BEAUTIFUL! You did an amazing job on their faces. I think these would be great to make up and put away in a gift closet as a potential gift throughout the year.

  5. Just beautiful work! Is there a pattern I could use for boys? They are so cute. Since garden season is over I’ve been sewing but not necessarily for Christmas gifts- Tooth Fairy Pillow, grocery sack holder, etc. It would be fun to do a few Christmas gifts.

  6. Brandy, those a just beautiful. I’m going to have to make some for my 4 yr old. We have over 50 nesting dolls that my dad brought back from Ukraine when he had a business over there. Every time I see one, I think of him. Will consider linking this up to Handmade Christmas on Moday? I’d love to show them off.

  7. Absolutely wonderful! I am so glad that you used wool felt, as the inexpensive stuff doesn’t hold up. Ivory will probably be able to pass these to her children.

  8. Last year I made my son farm animal finger puppets. Then I used the top from a box of paper, painted it to look like a farm scene (very simple – blue sky, green grass, and an apple tree), cut a barn out of felt, cut holes in the felt and cardboard for a barn door and that little hatch drawn barns always have where the chicken sits (I’ve never in my life seen a real barn that looks that way, but anyway) and added some yellow felt to the chicken hatch – this cardboard box top became a puppet theatre. It turned out pretty cute.

  9. I have a “thing” for finger puppets. As a teacher, and a nanny, they just feel like a fun addition to storytelling… plus a simple activity for imaginative play for the children. Thank you so much for sharing this idea!

  10. Dear Miss Brandy,These puppets are more than lovely they are a work of art. I like to cross-stitch and long ago made beautiful items so I know how much work these lovely pieces took. These kind of items could become family heirlooms.I have been making Christmas gifts, poinsettia crocheted scarf, granny square baby afghan, granny square afghan, fishing cross-stitch ornament, Christmas scarf, fall colored scarf, crocheted handbag with buttons, Christmas cowl, giant afghan. All the gifts have been made with materials I had at home.I posted about these on my blog. I hope family likes them. I may switch to sewing for a few projects now. Happy gift making to all.Anna

  11. I rarely comment, but I could easily see a set of 10 of these selling in a Land of Nod or a 10,000 Villages type store for $25. You should try on Ebay if you have time. I think these truly have potential to be a hit.

  12. Considering that I spent 20 hours just embroidering these three, it would take me 3 1/2 weeks (70 hours) to have 10 done. For $25, I would be working for $0.36 an hour. The pattern in also for personal use only.And I don’t have that kind of time!

  13. I was browsing through pinterest (as you do) and I found your finger puppets. I thought…’they look familiar’ and then I realised that you used the pattern that I designed for Sew Mama Sew. What a lovely job you did!Would you mind if I featured your work on my blog?

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