Authentic Dala Horse

Authentic Dala Horse

Are you fascinated by horses? Maybe you have heard about the famous dala horses, or maybe not. The Dala horse has become an authentic symbol of Sweden. These handmade horses have become treasured children toys, decor pieces, and also make wonderful souvenirs. 

Where can you find an authentic Dala Horse?

Today you can find dala horses near you or even online. But if you really want an authentic dala horse, you may need to travel a bit to get it! All the way to the lovely Sweden.

The Nils Olsson Factory has become the origin of manufacturing of the Dala horse. The brothers Nils and Jannes Olsson, born in a small village in which the first Dala horses were made, were only 13 and 15 years old when they bought a band saw. However, from a young age, the boys learned how to carve the horses to help support their poor family. After they bought that band saw everything changed for them.From there, the small Dala horse factory began. 

These brothers contributed to what is now a symbol of Sweden. Today, you can visit the factory and see the beautiful precision that goes into making the Dala horses. There are now electric machines that now do the cranking. The horses are still hand carved and get their characteristic color painted on by skilled workers. 

A trip to the factory in Nusnas to see how these authentic wooden horses are made is a wonderful idea if you are fascinated by this century-old tradition. 


How exactly are they made?

First of all, the wood is not just any wood. It is found in a dense forest around lake Siljan located in Nusnäs. To produce a dala horse takes about two weeks. 

First, a template is stamped onto the wood. Then the horses are cut out and given their form by an electric saw. They are then hand carved and smoothed out. 

Now it is time for the paint. Each horse is dipped into the main color. They are traditionally red, still, they come in a variety of colors. After being dipped in the paint, the dala horses are then smoothed and polished to ensure that there is no unevenness. Then they are dipped once again in the primer color. 

After the horses have dried, the fun begins! One by one, each dala horse is carefully enhanced with traditional designs. The skilled artisans use oil-based paints. After this detailed process, a coat of lacquer is applied to each horse. Finally, they are ready to be exposed to the world!

If you are interested in seeing  the entire process that goes into manufacturing dala horses, you can ask for a guided tour.

The Swedish dala horse makes a wonderful gift. If you are considering buying an authentic dala horse, you will be contributing in maintaining a creative Swedish tradition and also give a unique gift to your loved ones. 

Now you know where to find an authentic dala horse and the wonderful story behind it!