Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DIY: Nutcracker Wall Art

by Darla

Last week, my friend Jen, over at Epbot, posted a super fun and easy tutorial for a Nutcracker Redo (she was originally inspired by House of Hepworths tutorial).

I was immediately inspired to run out and grab a couple of nutcrackers myself, but along the way, they morphed from being sweets inspired to something I could adorn my walls with.

I thought you guys might like them, so I’m deviating from sweets and treats today to share with you how I made these fun pieces of art.

Now, before I get into the tutorial, I just wanted to share some slightly disparaging news. My camera, Nichelle, is broken. As evidenced by the photos above, she’s having some trouble with focusing right now.

Listen, I know how she feels. I have times when I just can’t focus either, but seriously, she needs to get it together.

About 70% of the photos taken lately have been completely out of focus like this. Fortunately, we know it isn’t the lenses, but it’s still a major issue, so she’s going away for a little while. To get some much needed rest, I suppose.

I’m just telling you this because there are some less than ideal photos happening here. So…you know…show some sympathy for Nichelle.

Moving on…

On Jen’s advice, I grabbed a couple of scraggly little nutcrackers from the dollar store and gave them a nice, warm home.

Listen, these guys are a dollar. One dollar. Don’t go into the store expecting high quality and excellent craftmanship, k?

Case in point, the guy on the left clearly has some head issues, while my right hand man up there is a bit of a leaner.

A dollar. I’m not complaining.

Plus, crown, hello? Must have.

First thing’s first, pull off their hair. You can pitch it, if you want, but I actually used one of them to give my guys refurbished beards. You can see above that the beards are pretty rough and scraggly. These guys had nice, decent hair, though, so it worked perfectly for fresh beards (which you’ll see later).

Now, where I deviate from Jen’s tutorial is that I want these guys stuck on the wall, so they need to be flat on the back. You don’t need to cut them completely in half; that would suck, be super hard, and they have pins and nails in them, so…no.

You really just need to take off the back part of the base, right up to their heels.

Yes, you could completely remove the base, but their feet aren’t actually attached to their legs, so if you remove the base entirely, you’ll have to glue their feet back on somehow. I wasn’t confident that they would stay attached through the years, so I kept the bases on.

Next, you’ll need to take the rear ends, a bit of their backs, and the backs of their heads off.

As you can see from this full shot, their arms and legs are left alone, mostly. I know this isn’t the neatest job, but I didn’t do it…and neither did the Hubster. When it’s not your project, I guess neatness is less important.

Oh well. That’s what sandpaper is for, amiright?

And you’ll definitely need sandpaper, because the finish on these little guys is super cheap.

Give everyone a good rub down with the sandpaper, smooth out flaws as best as you can, and clean them up for painting.

I decided that I wanted a bit of sparkle for my nutcrackers, but I wasn’t feeling the whole glittered nutcracker thing, so I glittered my canvases instead. I got both of these canvases at Michaels in a two pack. Better yet, they were buy one get one free, so I ended up with four of them for eight dollars. Not too shabby.

To glitter them, I just slathered them with some glue, and sprinkled with an extra fine white glitter. You could do any color you want, but I wanted it to be more subtle so I stuck with white. While the canvases are drying, you can paint your nutcrackers.

I suggest spray paint, if you can find the color you want. As it was, I couldn’t find my colors, so I handpainted my nutcrackers. It took, like, five coats, and eleventy million hours.

Still worth it.

I’m in love.

So pretty.

I love the subtle glittery background and the clean, modern look melded with the traditional shape and feel of the nutcracker.

And they look so refreshed with new beards. I seriously contemplated whether they should have their hair back or not, but I just really loved the clean look of them without it.

I attached the nutcrackers to the canvases first with glue and allowed them to dry completely. Once they were dry, I secured them further with some shorter staples from my handy dandy staple gun. You really only need one or two in their backs, but you could skip them altogether, if you want. They’re pretty secure without them.

Besides having to hand paint them, these were crazy easy to make. Paint, glue, glitter, done.

I hung one on either side of the tree, then sat and admired everything for the rest of the night.

My tree kills me. I’m completely smitten.

It’s white, you guys. Beautiful, snowy white.

And I got my very own sweet Hedwig to perch atop it. Nothing could have made me happier.

Owls and snitches, cupcakes, robots, and fairies…all glittery and pretty…could there be a better tree? I think not.

The rest of our house is decorated to match.

I made a lot of the other decorations, too, but a lot of it came from some of my favorite shops.

This is our stupid TV taking up most of the mantle, but you’ll also notice a tall, pastel, and handsome cupcake nutcracker on the left. He goes by Phillipe.

As for my NOEL banner, I made that with some light colored burlap, a little tiffany blue paint, and some twine. Easy peasy.

I don’t like a cluttered coffee table, so I kept things nice and clean with a simple strip of burlap and a vintage silver cake stand topped with fun, glittery trees, and a sparkly garland. I also lit the trees by putting flameless tealights inside.

Now, since I had four canvases, I decided to make another piece of wall art. This time, I was inspired by Kellie from Nest of Posies, who had this Christmas Gallery Wall on Tidy Mom a few days ago. I instantly fell in love with her entire art wall, but the reindeer outline was my favorite. When I went to Michaels for supplies, this little wooden guy was sitting unfinished on a shelf for a buck. Yep, another one dollar item put to great use.

I painted him with the same blue as my nutcracker above, sanded him down a bit for a little age, and adorned him with a little garland and pink, puffy nose.

He looks perfect on my own art wall, inspired by Kellie. I also made the JOY art, and the circular tree art (scrapbook paper and some ric-rac).

All is merry and bright here, and I’ve created a glittering winter wonderland.

I’m so happy every day when I see everything, and even happier that most of it cost less than $5 to make, or even buy (yay clearance!)

What about you guys? Are your decorations up? Any crafting going on? What links have inspired you this week? I’d love to hear from you!

P.S……

Loki says hi. :)

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tamar December 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Excuse me while I sit here and GAWK. Your house looks like a craft museum. Or a spread for Martha Stewart Living. Jeeeez. Your decor makes me want to decorate my home and tree for Christmas. And I’m Jewish, I don’t even do Christmas, okay? Especially a white, snowy Christmas. Snow? Around here? Pfft. But your house. I just can’t handle.

Hi Loki.

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2 Kate December 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm

That is the most BOOOTIFUL Christmas decorating I have ever seen! So whimsical :)
Also, your dog? So. Cute.

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3 Karly December 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Your tree is gorgeous! I have a white tree too, but it’s no where near as pretty as yours with that pink and blue! Love it!

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4 Emily ~So Domesticated~ December 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Adorable… love your white christmas tree : )

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5 Mikayla@myfairbaking December 5, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Gorgeous!! Love hedwig the very best!

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6 Heather December 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Your Christmas Tree is awesome, just awesome! Mine is crying from shame right now. It also feels inferior because, it’s like, 2ft. Mine reminds me of the tree from Charlie Brown except the falling needles part but only because mine is fake.

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7 lamia December 6, 2012 at 12:09 am

Love your photography, what lens do you use dear ?

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8 Darla March 9, 2013 at 11:55 am

Thank you! Nikkor 50mm f/1.8

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9 Robin December 6, 2012 at 3:33 am

Love the pastels! Our Christmas decor is on hold for a while until we get a footer poured. [Bad foundation.] For now, the theme is ‘concrete chic’. Erg. With luck, the concrete work will be finished next week and we can focus on fun.

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10 shelly (cookies and cups) December 6, 2012 at 4:55 am

SO very very sweet! Your tree is so you! Love it!

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11 Celeste December 6, 2012 at 5:22 am

Your ideas and receipes are inspiring, but your writing style is best of all! I really enjoy reading your work, thank you.

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12 Jill Hampton December 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Thank you so much for the nutcracker art idea. And the wonderful pictures. Love your cute dog! Have a great Christmas. Hugs, Jill

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13 Andrea R December 7, 2012 at 5:15 am

So pretty Darla! I am super jealous! My cat has knocked down(and broken) a lot of my ornaments, and the kids tear things up too. :( I’ll have a gorgeous home someday! I wouldn’t trade my broken decorations for anything though. I can still sit and stare at yours! LOL

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14 Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. December 7, 2012 at 10:35 am

Um, seriously, I freaking LOVE your decorations! So pretty!! I have been making some yarn wreaths to hang up!

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15 Kathryn December 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Love love love your tree! Totally drool worthy. Skritches to Loki.

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16 Susan December 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Fantastic, adorable…wonderful. Where did you get Phillipe? I think I need one.

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17 Darla December 13, 2012 at 7:05 am

Thank you! I got him at Homegoods. :)

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18 Lior December 15, 2012 at 7:49 am

Hi Loki :)
tell mom i love her blog….

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