A Swedish shop is preserving a centuries-old tradition of handmade wooden horses — one of the last local handicrafts still made in Sweden

A Swedish shop is preserving a centuries-old tradition of handmade wooden horses — one of the last local handicrafts still made in Sweden
  • Red wooden horses called dala horses have been traditional handicrafts in Nusnäs, Sweden, for centuries.
  • The horses are painted a specific shade of red called Falu red that comes from the mines in the Dalarna region.
  • One family-run dala horse manufacturer is committed to making these crafts almost entirely by hand.

Red wooden horses run are deeply ingrained in the culture of Nusnäs, Sweden.

"Dalahästar," or "dala horses," are traditional handicrafts that have been around for centuries.

They are commonly known as children's toys or sometimes religious items. They've also been used as a form of currency. Today, they are a national symbol.
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And it's not just any old red used to paint them. It's Sweden's famous Falu red — a classic, rusty red-orange color that comes from the mines in the region of Dalarna.

Nils Olsson Dalahästar is one of the oldest dala horse factories in Sweden, started by two brothers in 1928. And it's still in the family today.

Artisans start with locally sourced pine or alder wood. They stamp the outline of the horse onto the planks, and carpenters roughly shape the figurine with a band saw.
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This is the only part of the process that uses a machine — and they want to keep it this way.

See how the horses are made on Business Insider Today »

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