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1308-3 Russia
Russian Folk Tale Lacquer Box
The Humpback Horse Russian Folk Tale
Designed by Patty Cox

Russian paper mache boxes are made by pressing layers of paper with resins under great pressure. The base is painted with black tempera. The artist hand paints the brightly-colored motif without use of a stencil. Some of the miniature detail is so fine that a single squirrel hair is used as a paint brush. The artist’s signature is added to the box, followed by several coats of lacquer.

Age Range: 7 to 12

Grade Range: 1 to 6

Skill Level: Moderate

Appropriate for These Special Events:
Every Day and Rainy Days

Supports Subject Area(s) of:
Social Studies
Language Arts – e.g. step by step instructions
Visual Arts

Time Needed for Project:
2 hours plus drying time

Main supplies:

  • 3” paper mache box
  • Elmer’s ® Glue-All™
  • Black and white acrylic paint
  • Elmer’s® Painters® green paint marker
  • Elmer’s® 3D™ Washable Paint Pens – glitter colors
  • Transfer paper and tape

Basic Supplies:

  • Paint brushes 
  • Pencil, pen or stylus
  • Toothpick
  • Scissors
  • Pencil


  1. Base paint the top of the box lid white. Paint the bottom of the box black. Paint the sides of the box lid black. Let dry.
  2. Cut out 3” square pattern and a 3” square transfer paper. Place the transfer paper on box lid. Place pattern over top. Tape on box lid. Trace horse pattern and circle placement with pencil, pen or stylus. Remove pattern and transfer paper.
  3. Paint horse white. Paint circles and saddle red and yellow. Paint around horse and circles black. Let dry.
  4. Draw the greenery on box lid using a green Painter’s pen.
  5. Paint box and lid with glue. Allow to dry.
  6. Using glitter paint, add flower petal dots around each flower circle. Add gold dots around box edge. Add dots along horse’s mane. Add some glitter dots on box lid. Use a toothpick to pull dots into a starburst. Let dry.

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