Tis the season to make all the fabulous decorations. And that includes dressing up my girls school for the Christmas season with these giant nutcrackers. I built the nutcrackers to resemble the girls complete with their tartan uniform skirts.
A DIY tutorial to build a giant nutcracker with a pleated skirt. Create holiday magic with this giant nutcracker decor project.
Standing at just over 5’9″ tall these nutcrackers fit right in with the human crowd. Although they do look little bit shocked with their giant eyes and clinched teeth I think they look great as nutcracker school girls.
Giant Nutcracker Decoration
This nutcracker project had been on my to do list for a long while. Despite their many parts and pieces I am kicking myself for not building them sooner! I just love, love, love their kitschy feel and beautiful details. They would be perfect for lots of uses:
- school holiday show
- corporate lobby entrance
- Santa photo booth
- winter wonderland scene
I used a combination of spray paint on the cement tubes and pvc pipes along with acrylic paints on the head, face and hands. Then I raided my ribbon and trim stash to add all the extra sparkly little details.
Tartan Plaid Skirts
I handpainted the tartan plaid on the nutcracker skirts to mimic the girls uniform skirts. I shared the video process of making and painting the skirts on Instagram here.
My plans are for a nutcracker about 5’9″ tall (including the hat) which is similar to a small human adult size. I based all my proportions using a 8″ diameter cement tube mostly because that’s what was in stock. If you’re looking for even larger nutcracker with more traditional features check out this tutorial available on Etsy here.
- 3” styrofoam balls (hands)
- 10” styrofoam ball (head)
- 2 1/4” hole saw
- 8” cement tube
- brown Kraft paper
- wood glue
- white faux fur (hair)
The pleats in the skirt are made from folded and creased brown Kraft paper secured to the wood base pieces using wood glue. It’s meant to look like fabric so don’t worry that it’s not perfect.
Be sure to scuff up the PVC pipes with sandpaper before applying any primer or paint. This helps the finish adhere better.
For the facial features I created a nose using scrap 3/4″ wood and cutting it on my scroll saw. Then I made paper patterns for the eyebrows, eyes and mouth. This took a couple tries to get the size and shape just the right proportions.
I attached the nose piece using gorilla glue and then chaulk to seal up the seam. Then painted the whole face one more coat.
Here they are in progress in my basement workshop. Such a fun project to make it come to life and add all the little trimmings.
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Thanks for joining me for this giant nutcracker project. Please leave any questions in the comments below and be sure to follow me on social media for sneak peeks, tools and project inspiration: