When I first heard of the "Elf on the Shelf" and the associated Christmas tradition a few years back, I thought it was a really cute idea! This year, my kids are finally old enough to appreciate his presence and I couldn't wait to introduce him to our family! However, December rolled around faster than I realized and despite a pretty exhaustive search, of course he was sold out in every store I looked! I couldn't even locate a previously loved one!
I had to get creative instead. After the kids went to bed, I got straight to it that night! I didn't have a plan or instructions. I just started working and one step at a time, Elfie was born!
Here is my version of the Elf on the Shelf and how I made him. He took only about 3 hours to complete and was moderately easy to execute.
Ok, let's get started...
You will need: one 1" in diameter foam ball, a small scrap of red fabric (a thicker/sturdier textile such as a coating fabric will be better suited for this project than for example a cotton or thin polyester), small piece of nude-coloured pantyhose, 16 gauge wire, a small piece of white, short-haired faux fur, a small piece of brown fleece or felt, a small piece of white felt, polyfill, 4 black beads, black and red paint, a glue gun and glue sticks, and sewing supplies (scissors, pins, red thread, fabric marker).
1. Make the head: wrap the foam ball with three layers of thin pantyhose. Stitch loose edges of pantyhose at one point on the ball. This will be the top of the head, which gets hidden inside the hat.
2. To make hair, with a dab of hot glue, glue on a strip of brown fleece to one half of the ball by placing one edge of the strip along the "equator", ensuring to leave the smooth pantyhose side exposed. Cut slits along the extending edge of the fleece...
...then glue down the slits flat onto the ball, overlapping them if necessary.
3. To make the bangs or hair above the forehead, cut another piece of brown fleece adding some curves and a "point" to resemble bangs. Don't be afraid to experiment! Try cutting varying curves to give the elf different hairstyles. Once you're satisfied with the 'do, glue it on slightly overlapping the first strip of brown fleece.
4. To make the hat, cut out a triangle with a curved bottom edge. The curved bottom edge should be the same measurement as the circumference of the foam ball, plus a little extra for seam allowance. The height of the triangle is flexible; the taller the triangle, the taller/pointier the hat will be. Fold the triangle in half, aligning the straight edges, and stitch along the straight edge.
5. Cut a piece of wire that is twice as long as the hat. Bend it in half and insert into the foam ball at the top of the head. Apply a bead of glue around the insertion point to keep it in place. Stuff a little polyfill into the hat, place over the inserted wire, adjust it into position on top of the head, then glue it into place with hot glue.
6. To make the body, draw out a body shape of desired size on two layers of the red fabric. I made mine to be long, skinny, and "slinky". Cut it our and sew along the edges, leaving an opening at the neck.
7. Flip the body right side out. Bend a piece of wire to the same shape as the body. Insert the wire inside the legs and arms.
8. Lightly stuff the body with polyfill.
9. Attach the head by sliding it over the wire from the body and gluing the fabric at the neckline to the head.
10. Sew mittens out of white felt and glue them to the ends of the arms. Next, glue on a strip of faux fur over the edge of the hat at the hairline, to the tip of the hat, around the neckline, and along the edges of the mittens. Sew on four black beads to the front of the body to represent buttons. Finally, dot a little black paint on the face to make eyes, and paint on a thin, red smile.
Isn't he charming?? With his thick, luxurious coat, and the soft, bright furry trim, he is just too cute! But the best part is that Elfie is entirely bendable and adjustable. Every limb in his body, including his hat, can be bent into shape as required for all his mischievous behaviour!
My kids absolutely loved having Elfie around! They couldn't wait to come down in the morning to see what he has been up to overnight. Unfortunately, the bit about him reporting back to Santa wasn't as long lived as I hoped. They watched their behaviour on the first two days... and that's about it! I guess kids will be kids after all!
We can't wait to see you again next year Elfie!