Elf on the Shelf Miniature Tutorial

Miniature Elf on the Shelf Tutorial

So you want a miniature Elf on the Shelf for your own.   Here we go.

List of supplies:

  • Glue (I used Tacky glue)
  • scissors
  • wire 30 gauge
  • red flannel
  • white flannel
  • polymer clay or bead
  • circle template
  • cotton ball for stuffing
  • exacto knife
  • tweezers
  • ball stylus
  • wire cutters
  • Fray check
  • white acrylic paint
  • toothpick
  • coffee stir straw
  • optional supplies : wonder under and a mini iron

I started off by finding a photo of the elf on the shelf and sizing it down for reference.  I made mine about an inch in height.

Elf Wire_Copy1.jpg

Cut three pieces of wire about 3 inches in length.  Take one piece and bend in half and then twist together for about 3-4 turns.  Leave a little bit of a loop at the top for the head.


Bend the two legs of the wire out ward.  making an upside down T.

Take the two remaining wires and make a u shape with each one.   The centers will be placed back to back to form the torso when twisted.


Twist the two wires together  on each side to form the arms.


Elf Arm arm twist (2).jpg

Twist the two center wires together for the torso and bend  the wires out to the sides.  Measure against your picture for the size.

Elf arm torso twist (2).jpg

Cut another piece of wire and align along the torso wires.  Twist to form the legs.

Place your little armature on your reference picture and trim off the excess length of the arms and legs.




Grab your red flannel fabric and glue.

Cut off about a 1/4 wide strip of fabric.  Use Fabric fray check to the edges and let dry.

Optional method : Iron on wire wonder under to the fabric and then you can use a mini iron to make the seams. I liked this method so I didn’t have use fray check on the fabric.

Measure the length needed for a leg against the wire armature.

You want the fabric to extend into the torso region to cover his bottom.

Elf Leg (2).jpg

Cut a small slit down the middle of the fabric.  You are going to fold over the leg.  The fold of the fabric on the inside leg and the slit going around the wire pelvic and over the torso.


Apply small line glue to the wire armature and press close to the wire armature.

Elf Fabric glue_Copy1.jpg

The above picture shows the glue line on the fabric, however, I did find that putting the glue on the armature worked better for me. Let dry.

Trim off close the wire armature on the outside edge.

Elf Fabric Trim_Copy1.jpg

Cover the other leg the same way.

Elf second leg (2).jpg

Same process for the arms.  Make sure to extend the fabric into the torso.

Elf Arm after press_Copy1.jpg

Trim close to wire armature.  Cover other arm and trim.


On the arms, trim the end “hands” pointy shaped.

Did you know that you can unwrap a cotton ball.  I found this  quite useful.  Find an edge and gently unroll.  Take a tiny portion and wrap your torso.

Elf Cotton Tummy_Copy1.jpg

Cut some red flannel into a strip about about 3/4″ by 3/8″.  This is going to be his torso shirt.  Fray check your fabric’s raw edges.  Fold over in half and cut a small opening for the head wire to come through.

Elf Panch two_Copy1.jpg

Open up and turn over the bottom edges to make a hem. You want the “hem” to be right where the legs will bend to sit.

Elf Poncho hem_Copy1.jpg

Do this to both  bottom edges.  Put a tiny line of glue over the shoulders where the fabric goes over the arms.  Next bring the two side edges together at the sides by pinching.  Use your exacto blade to help fold in the raw edges in to form a seam at the side.

Elf Torso side fold (2).jpgElf Torso folded (2).jpgElf Torso using exacto (2).jpg

Apply glue line  and press to the torso.  Not:  be sure  to press against the torso and not together.  The two edges should meet/ butt up at their folded edges to look like a seam pressed  open.

Do this to both side.  I then add a little bit of glue under the hem edges and use my exacto knife to press a mock seam line at where the legs extend out from the torso.  This is where the elf’s legs will bend to sit.

Elf Poncho front_Copy1.jpg

Next part is the head.  I will try and explain how I sculpted the head.If you don’t sculpt.  Use a small bead and paint on the face.   Excuse the different colored clays. The pictures really don’t turn out well in the light colored clay.

Condition your polymer clay and roll a ball of clay approximately 3/16″ round.Elf Head bead (2).jpg

Taper the shape of the ball to be more egg shaped.Elf Head egg shape (2).jpg

Use stylus to roll in an indent where the eyes are going to be.



I used a coffee stir straw to add in a half curve for a smile line.  Smooth the lip line.  Add two small comma shaped ball of clay to form the cheeks.  Picture failed to save.:(

Add a tiny tiny ball of clay for the nose tip right in the center.  Take the tip of your toothpick and prick out the shape of his oval shaped eyes and smooth. Add a tiny bit of clay snake to form the bridge of the nose.   Blend.

Add a teensy weensy bit of clay snake to from the bottom lip at the center of the mouth.  Blend.


Elf Head changed clay (2).jpg   Add bean shape ball of clay for the ears.


Add tiny snakes of clay to form the hair.  Check your reference for the hair line.


Elf Head Hair side c (2).jpg

Blend.   Roll a snake shaped clay and wrap around the base of the head to form the neck and smooth.  When you are satisfied with your sculpture. Bake at the manufacturers recommended temperature and time for your brand of polymer clay.

Once the head cools, removed from the toothpick and glue onto the wire armature neck.

NElf Head two_Copy1.jpg

Paint your elf’s eyes , hair and cheeks with acrylic paints and seal.

Cut a circle from your white flannel approximately 1./2″  Make sure you have fray checked your fabric or fused wonder under on the back.  Cut out a bib shape from the circle.Elf Collar bib shape (2).jpg

Cut notches to form the points of the collar.

Elf Collar pinked (2).jpg

Add collar around neck, trim where the edges meet with a little over lap and glue in place. Missed picture :(.  Use white acrylic paint to paint in the white hands.

Elf Head Paint_Copy1.jpg

The hat, the finishing touch.

Measure around your head  and cut a rectangle shape of red flannel with enough width to go around the head behind the ears with a little overlap.

Add a tiny white strip of white at the edge.

FElf Hat Trim_Copy1.jpg

Trim and form a tube with a little overlap and glue.





Cut at an angle.


Bring the raw edges and butt them up next each other and glue.

Elf Hat glue back (2).jpg

Here’s a picture of the profile of the hat.


Glue onto elf’s head.



A little Elf on the Shelf with wire armature.  He can be posed as you wish.  Please be aware that with too much bending the wire can become fatigued and break.

Thank you for visiting!


5 thoughts on “Miniature Elf on the Shelf Tutorial

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