How to Make a Nutcracker Statuette
A Children's Craft... Make at home or in class... :}
Nutcrackers make great holiday decorations; especially at Christmastime. Practically everyone loves nutcrackers and most of us have favorites. The one shown on the left is one of my favorites because I have a son who played drums in a marching band. The type of craft explained below is not made from wood like the major; however, it was created by one of my daughters and utilizes paper rollers.
Utilizing materials already available in the home to make nutcrackers makes this is an inexpensive craft for children to put together. All the same, a few other items, such as Popsicle sticks and yarn, will also be required. As shown in the images of the duck nutcracker below, you can see that the pedestal is made from Popsicle sticks and the hat is made from cloth and yarn. Also, as an alternative to using paper towels or tissue rollers for the arms and legs, children could use thin wooden posts.
Below is a list of items needed to construct nutcrackers that resemble ducks. With a little imagination, however, the basic process can be used to construct other types of animals [for example by changing the way the head is constructed]. For instance, children could construct cat or dog resembling nutcrackers by adding canine or feline shaped ears and eyes to the heads. Also add whiskers for cats, tongues for dogs, and give these animals appropriate shaped tails as well.
SUPPLIES FOR SANTA CLAUS DUCK NUTCRACKER
2 or 3 Tissue rollers – The number required depends
on whether a child will use tissue roller or posts for the
arms and legs.
1 Paper towel roller – The length of one paper towel roller easily does the job of two tissue rollers.
1 4 x 6 Inch piece of cloth
6 – 8 Inches of yarn
10 Wide Popsicle sticks
1 Narrow Popsicle stick
3 – 4 Inch square of construction paper (preferably orange for this duck craft)
Acrylic paint – The duck craft uses 4 colors – red, white, yellow, and orange; however, if constructing a different type of animal, make appropriate color substitutions.
1 Red marker
1 Black marker or a very small piece of black or white paper – 1 inch or less
1 Tube strong craft glue
1 Dispenser strong tape
1 Pair safety scissors
4 Paper clips
2 Google eyes (optional)
1 Ruler (optional)
1 Plastic disposable cup (optional)
Needle and thread for children old and responsible enough to sew the hat by hand.
Otherwise, children can glue the hat together.
Begin by placing a few layers of newspaper or a dispensable waterproof tablecloth across the table top since this craft involves the use of glue as well as paint. Then, gather all supplies and place them atop the table covering so that they are ready for use.
If using a paper towel roller, measure six inches from one end toward the middle and then cut that length of roller off. Use the six-inch cut to proceed as if using a tissue roller.
Step 1 – Prepare the nutcracker body
Using the pair of scissors, cut a slit into one end of the roller as shown in the picture. The cut should be approximately ¾ of an inch deep and ¾ of an inch wide.
Use the red paint to color the roller and then set it aside to dry.
Step 2 – Form the arms and legs
Cut a tissue roller or a 5 inch length of paper towel roller straight down the middle from one end to another. If necessary, use a ruler and pen to draw a line straight down the roller in order to keep the cut evenly proportioned.
Now cut a similar line down the opposite side of the roller.
Next, curve one length of the roller over itself to form a nutcracker shaped arm and then glue it together. Use plenty of glue to assure the arm will not uncurl. Place a paper clip on either end to assure the ligament maintains its form as it dries. Then, place the arm in a plastic cup in order to keep it from sticking to table protective newspaper.
Repeat the arm making process for the second arm and two legs. Children may choose
to make the legs a little wider than the arms if they like; however, this is not necessary.
Step 3 – Prepare the stand
Line up seven of the wide Popsicle sticks flat on the table so that they are touching each other and their ends are mesh. Squirt a sufficient amount of glue on another of the wide Popsicle sticks to cover the surface of the stick. Then, lay the glued stick over one end of the lined up sticks. Place the stick approximately ½ an inch from the end of the lined up sticks. Repeat this step for the opposite end of the stand. Leave these sticks as they are until they dry.
Meanwhile, use the red marker to name the nutcracker. The nutcracker in the picture is called “Santa Claus Duck”. Children should name their nutcrackers whatever they choose, however, they do not need to use any particular name.
Once the stands are dry, turn them over and glue the thin stick with the name on the stand. Place the name stick toward the back of the second Popsicle stick. This will become the front of the stand.
Make certain the stick is glued upward, not flat, so that the name shows. Let the name stick dry on the stand while working on the next step.
Step 4 – Make the Santa hat
Shape the cloth into a Santa hat by holding the corners of one end while pulling them so that one corner moves below the other. This should cause a cone to form.
Insert a bit of pulled apart yarn into the tip of the hat so that it sticks out at the point.
Either glue or sew the hat together from the head opening to the pointed tip. Sewing, of course, is the faster way to complete the hat because no time will be required for drying as with gluing the hat. On the other hand, children who do not sew will be able to complete their hats on their own if they glue them instead of sewing them.
Also glue a bit of pulled apart yarn around the head portion of the hat to form trim.
Step 5 – Cut out the feet and beak
Children can simply test their skills a bit as they cut out shapes for duck feet as well as beaks.
Follow the example of the shapes shown on the above pictures in these instructions. Note
that two beaks are needed to form each duck mouth.
If using orange construction paper the beaks and feet will be ready to add to the nutcracker as
they are. If using a different color, children can paint them and allow them to dry before adding
them to the appropriate areas of the nutcracker.
Step 6 – Prepare the head
Cut a length of roller that is approximately 1-1/2 inches long. Paint the head yellow and set it
aside to dry.
Step 7 – Paint the parts
Once all the glue dries, paint the arms yellow, the body red, and the legs orange. If a different
color was used to construct feet and beaks, color those orange as well. Children can either use
orange paint or mix a bit of red with yellow to make their orange coloring.
Step 8 – Form the movable mouth-part
Make the movable mouth-part by breaking the last wide Popsicle stick approximately 1-1/2 inches
from the end. Then glue the broken ends together just below the end of the longest piece. The
pieces should form the letter “L” and should stand on their skinny ends... Do NOT lay them flat
for this process.
Step 9 – Assembling the parts
* Once all glue and paint are dry, tape the arms to the body.
* Glue the legs to the inside area of the red body part. Do this by squeezing plenty of glue on one
leg, inserting the leg into the body, and then pressing the leg against one side of the inner body. Hold
the leg in place until it feels secure or allow it to dry before placing the second leg on the opposite side
of the inner body area.
* Glue the head to the body taking care not cover the entire cut out section that servers as the mouth
area. Leave approximately ½ to ¾ of an inch free at the opening to serve as the mouth.
* Insert the small end of the movable mouth part from the
back of the head all the way through to the front of the mouth.
Note that the stick may not come all the way through the mouth.
The biggest part of the stick will rest against the nutcracker’s back.
* Glue one beak part to the underside of the head part and glue one
beak part to the top of the small stick so that the beak parts line up
and look the way duck beaks are supposed to look.
* Glue one beak part to the small end of the movable mouth part.
* Cut out eyes and attach them to the face. Children can use small
pieces of black paper for the eyes. After attaching them, they can
paint a dot or two of white over each piece. Alternatively, they can
use white paper and paint black dots over them. For added fun,
children could glue plastic google-eyes on their nutcracker faces.
* Glue the feet to the stand
* Once feet are dry on the stand, glue the legs to the feet
* Glue the hat atop the head
Voila! The nutcracker duck is complete!
Now children can move the mouth by lifting the stick on the back in order to make their nutcrackers
talk. As with most decorative nutcrackers, these nutcrackers do not actually break nuts.
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