Exploring Russia: Creating the Onion Domes

Russia is so rich in culture, from the art, to the music, to the architecture. We could spend months learning about all these wonderful treasures. Wouldn’t that be fun?

One of the things I wanted to expose the girls to was the onion dome.  I chose the onion domes for this project because they are so prevalent throughout Russia.

You can find them adorning churches and cathedrals, the most famous being St. Basil’s Cathedral.

With the help of a couple of easy-to-make stencils, we turned this into a fun art project.

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Supplies Needed:

Black construction paper
Cardboard (for stencils)
Oil pastels
Washable craft paint (we used Crayola brand)

1. Before beginning, create a few stencils from your cardboard. We used a recycled cereal box. Create a couple of different sizes of the domes. Keep the design simple with a pointed top, rounded sides, and a flat bottom.

2. Use the stencils to create several different dome shapes on your paper. Trace the stencil with a white oil pastel.

3. Finish the domes by making towers underneath (two straight lines) with a dot and tall cross on top. Use the white oil pastel for all the drawing.

4. Add details to your domes and towers with different colors of oil pastels. Refer to pictures of St. Basil’s Cathedral or create your own ideas. Add swirls to the domes and designs on the towers. Make them ornate!

5. Once you have your towers and domes decorated, use your craft paint to paint your towers. I liked using washable paint because it did not completely cover the oil pastel designs. We painted completely over our designs creating a bit of a resist effect and more subtle coloring. You can also choose to use your designs as guidelines and paint up to them, not over them.

6. Once you are finished painting, retrace your outlines with the white oil pastel. It makes the colors and designs pop.

The onion domes are beautiful and I can only imagine how awe-inspiring they are in real life.

Enjoy making this simple art project with your kids and learn a little about Russian architecture in the process.

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Terri is a writer and mom of two elementary-aged girls. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make learning fun. You can find her here writing about fun learning activities, art, craft, and family fun ideas.

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