Thursday, October 2, 2014

Endicott Elf: A Big Job for a Little Elf

I don't know about you, but I think this ornament is as cute and classic as they come. These wooden figures remind me of traditional European toy making... a little Gepetto/Pinnochio thing happening here which I love for Christmas.

That said, this little guy has clearly seen a lot of Christmases and is looking a bit worse for wear... 1. His knitted hat is still in good shape, but doesn't stand out as anything special. 2. I think he deserves more than three strands of yarn for a scarf, don't you? And 3., those wired beads are either balloons or lollipops. Hmm. Not sure about those either. 

Time for a make-over!

Without his accessories, I think he's even cuter! But now he's got a hole in his hand. We'll have to fill that or cover it up somehow, otherwise, he'll look broken.

Removing his hat left glue and fuzz all over his head, so I sanded it all off, giving him a really bad hair cut! (This reminds me of the time I cut the hair off of my sister's doll. The doll didn't mind. My sister did.)

After cleaning him up, I decided he needed a new shirt, painting on a collar, buttons and a little detail down the sides of his sleeves. I tidied up his shoes with a new coat of paint, and finished up with a coat of satin finish all over and high gloss for that extra shine on his shoes.

By this time, this little guy and I were becoming good chums. Turns out his name is Endicott. At 2 1/2" tall, he's the littlest elf in the North Pole, and like all little ones, Endicott wants to be bigger than he is. So when it came time to pick out his new hat for the season, he picked the biggest hat of them all!

For Endicott's hat, I imagined an oversized elf-meets-gnome style to give him the height he wanted. I wrapped felt around his head to get the circumference, then cut an exaggerated triangle more than twice Endicott's height. Only then did I realize I had no idea how to make a gnome hat, so off to Pinterest we go. 

I found this very helpful reference from to give me a sense of the shape I needed, and it turns out, a triangle is what you need, but you have to round the bottom to make it fit the head properly.

I sewed up the hat and it looked really sweet, but Endicott wanted even more emphasis on the height, so just for fun, I added a zig-zag white stripe on the front and back with fabric paint. A little bit of traditional elf trim on the brim and a green pom pom to top it off, and Endicott and I were very pleased, indeed. 

Now, one last detail. Endicott still has a hole in his hand! Ouch! But by now, the solution was clear. Endicott may be little, but he's ready for the big-elf jobs! So I looked for something to put in his arms that would show everyone, once and for all, just how big this little guy is.

And look at him now! Endicott has the biggest elf job of all... decorating Santa's tree!


This ornament has been rescued! Please stop by our Etsy shop to see all of our other ornaments that need a home in time for Christmas. And remember...

All proceeds benefit Hasbro Children's Hospital, Providence RI

If you want to give this a try, you'll need...
  • Wooden Character Ornament
  • Paint
  • Shellac Finish
  • Felt
  • Beacon Felt Glue (I found it at JoAnns)*
  • Fabric Paint or other decorative elements (e.g. glitter, beads, etc.) as you decide
  • Glass Ornament or other accessories, according to your elf
  • Hot Glue

The basic steps are...
  1. Remove the elements/accessories you don't want
  2. Clean/sand the ornament, as needed
  3. Touch up the paint as needed, leaving as much or little of the original design as you like
  4. Make new accessories (e.g. hat, scarf, etc.)
  5. Glue elements/accessories in place
  6. Add a string or hanger, being sure to attach it to the hat, not the pom pom
  7. Enjoy!

I bought Beacon Felt Glue for this project, and I'm so glad I did. It works great -- fast and secure. And most importantly, it doesn't bleed through the felt! In case you can't find it at JoAnns, click here... Beacons. But know this. No one is paying for any endorsements here (and if they ever do, I'll let you know). As a crafter, I appreciate it when others share the specific materials they use. It saves me from having to figure it out. So when I find something that works for me, I'll share it with you here.

Merry Christmas!

Ornament Rescuer

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