I’m getting so excited for the holidays and am planning on doing all kinds of fun crafts and homemade gifts with Joey this year. Here is one of my favorites that I think will make a great present for a teacher, grandparent, etc.
I do not know who originally created them but have seen them around at craft festivals and hardware stores each holiday season. I thought to myself, why pay big bucks when I can make one myself and have a memory in the making with Joey at the same time. I think the little ones are cute (18 inches in height), and easily transported for gift giving, but the big ones – 6 ft. tall are spectacular. Haven’t decided if we’ll stay small for Joey’s sake or go BIG, or maybe both. (If you want to go BIG, you’ll need to use 16 inch pots in place of the 5 inch ones I’ve outlined in the materials list below.) You can get super creative and paint your facial expressions on them, or decorate them real buttons and hats you have lying around the house or find at thrift stores.
Your Checklist of materials
5 five-inch flower pots
3 cans of spray paint (red, black and blue)
Blue painters tape
2 wood tongue depressors (Alternative: Paint stir sticks)
Masonry adhesive, hot glue gun or Velcro connections
Sticky-back felt or foam in red, black, white
Gold-colored plastic “cabochons” (or regular buttons)
Gold-colored beads and gold sequins (Alternative: Gold-colored braid or rope)
Pipe cleaner (black or red)
Red-colored yarn tassel
You will need five 5-inch flower pots and three cans of spray paint – red, black and blue. The rest is, in large part, up to you.
If you don’t like the toy soldiers you can easily convert the project to an angel, Santa, an elf or whatever else suits your fancy.
Step 1) the clay pots should be spray painted. Two pots are painted blue, one black, one red and one is left unpainted or painted white depending on what color you’d like the face to be.
Step 2) Add a black stripe to the rim of the unpainted pot and to one of the blue pots. Use blue painters tape and masking paper to prevent paint from getting onto any surface other than the rim.
Step 3) Two wood tongue depressors should be spray painted red and set aside for use later. If tongue depressors aren’t available, trimmed paint stir sticks will do the trick.
Permanent assembly can be achieved by using a masonry adhesive or a hot glue gun but if you’re like me and you have to take storage into consideration, use Velcro connections instead. This will allow partial disassembly and the placing of some of the pots inside one another.
Step 4) Assembly begins by placing the blue pot with the black rim, rim-side down, on the work surface. Next, connect the bases of the two blue pots, making sure to align them. You’ve now created black shoes and blue trousers. Next, attach the rim of the red pot to the rim of the blue pot. Then, connect the base of the unpainted pot to the base of the red pot. Finally, add the black pot to the top, rim down.
Step 5) The next step is to add red stripes to the trousers, a white stripe and a black collar to the shirt, a black belt where the trousers and shirt meet, and a gold hatband to the hat.
You’ll use gold ribbon for the hat band, sticky-back felt for the trouser and shirt stripes and regular felt for the collar and belt.
A simple brass ring is used for a belt buckle and, although regular buttons can be used, for a more formal look I’m planning on using a package of gold-colored plastic cabochons that can be found in the bead section at your local Michael’s store. If I decide to make some snowman to then I’ll definitely use an assortment of colored buttons.
For the hat decoration I’m planning on using gold-colored braid since it will be easier to maneuver with a little guy helping me out but for those of you who have more patience and older children you can use twenty or so small, gold-colored beads strung together with a gold sequin at each end to decorate the hat portion of your soldiers.
Step 6) The arms are made from the tongue depressors (paint sticks) that were painted red earlier in the project. Now, it’s time to add white gloves. Each consists of a pair of opposing pieces made from sticky-back felt or foam. Red cuffs can be added in the same manner. A sequin is used at each cuff for a button. And a short piece of gold ribbon is wrapped around the top of the arm to simulate epaulets. Now attach the arms to the body.
Step 7) The face can be painted. In my case since I’m planning on doing this with my four year old who has limited artistic abilities as well as patience I’m planning on using plastic googly eyes and a felt mouth. A short piece of black or red pipe cleaner rolled into a ball can be used for the nose or a small pom pom.
Step 8) Finally, a store-bought red-colored yarn tassel should be added to the top of the hat. Or you can purchase the yarn and make your own tassel.
And that’s it, your very own clay pot soldier to grace your porch or window sill, to give as a gift, to make a merry memory. Have fun and get creative.