Earlier this week, I went to Ben Franklin, the local craft store. I’ve only been to the store a couple of times because it’s really quite expensive to get crafts here, and we don’t have much space for either making crafts or storing the supplies. But I was looking for a craft for kids to do at the upcoming party we’re having for the Little Girl.

Of course, the store had up all manner of Halloween and Christmas merchandise already. I know, it’s soon, but heck, I love these holidays and I love these decorations for holidays. I like making stuff for holidays as much as I enjoy the actual holidays.

We didn’t bring any Christmas ornaments with us; they’re stashed away in various relatives’ attics back on the Mainland. Last year, we didn’t even have a proper tree, just a little pine-tree-like plant we bought at Foodland that immediately perished after Christmas, on which we hung small plastic ornaments.

So I thought, “We should make some ornaments this year!”

Then I saw that prices weren’t as bad as I thought. Some things still seem quite expensive; a bag of plastic jewels was $30. It was a bulk size, but it still seemed pretty pricey. But many things weren’t. Wooden Christmas ornaments, to paint yourself, are only like 59 cents. A bag of large wooden beads was $4.59.

Thus bowled over by the Christmas displays, I gathered up some supplies.  My criteria:

  • It has to be completed within a half hour to an hour, because otherwise I will never finish it and/or it will be ruined in some capacity as we don’t have any room.

I made this wooden bead elf with pipe cleaners and felt:

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Then he needed a wife, so I made this female elf:

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My instructions are not that fabulous, because basically I did a patternless, let’s-see-if-this-works method. So if you find the arms to be too long, snip them, or adjust things as you like. I found this other wooden bead/pipe cleaner/felt elf project, if you want to take a look at it.

Basically, you need:

  • Wooden bead for the head
  • Sharpie for the hair
  • Glue. I used Aleene’s Tacky, which did not stick well at all. I’d suggest felt glue, which I just found out existed like two seconds ago, a clear tacky glue, or sewing the felt.
  • Felt in red, white, and black for the clothing.  You could also use green.
  • Googly eyes
  • Two or three pipe cleaners, glittery or otherwise
  • Wire cutters (or scissors okay for cutting the pipe cleaner)
  • Scissors for cutting the material

First, make the body armature. Bend one pipe cleaner so it loops, as seen in this very blurry photo.

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Snip the bottom of the loop in half to make legs.
Wrap the second pipe cleaner around the torso to make arms.

If you think the legs are too short, wrap additional pipe cleaner around each leg.

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To make a dress, cut out a rectangle of felt. Fold it in half, then cut out a triangle in the middle of the fold to make the neck hole (or a circle, or whatever you want).

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Slip this onto the torso.

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To make a jacket, cut it shorter and glue rectangles of felt together to form arm tubes. Make pant tubes for the pant legs; you could also make actual pants, but I didn’t, because you can’t see the underside.

The bead head goes on top; make a loop so you can hang it.

Finish with whatever detailing you like. For example, I used rather large googly eyes, but you could use smaller ones, or paint the eyes on. Nylon doll hair could be substituted for the paint-on hair.

For the hats, I basically made a triangle and just glued it around the top of the pipe cleaner, bent into the shape I liked.

I made pointy-toed shoes for the elves; the girl has some rockin’ thigh high boots.  The hands are mitten-ish shapes.

I like my elves. I see leprechauns coming next. Or monkey-elves.  Or flying monkeys, or the Wizard of Oz cast.

Or, you could glue pictures of your family’s faces onto the beads and dress them in costumes.  Or your favorite celebrities or characters (Edward and Jacob elves?)