My mother and father found themselves celebrating their first Christmas together away from home during my dad’s assignment in Germany at the end of the Vietnam War. To decorate their humble Christmas tree, they purchased a few supplies and made Christmas elf pipe cleaner ornaments. Making these easy elf Christmas ornaments has become a family tradition.
Supplies Needed for the Elf Pipe Cleaner Christmas Ornaments
Regular red and green pipe cleaners would be okay for this project, but better would be the bumpy ones, with sections that are thinner than others. Here’s what’s needed.
- Red bumpy chenille stems/pipe cleaners
- Green bumpy chenille stems/pipe cleaners
- Candy-cane-stripped pipe cleaners (or red pipe cleaners and white pipe cleaners twisted together)
- Round wooden beads (3/4 inch or 1 inch in size)
- Small Jingle Bells (about half inch)
- A black sharpie marker and a red sharpie marker (optional, for drawing on faces). You could also paint faces if desired.
Each elf needs one-and-a-half green stems, one full red stem, half of a candy cane stem, one round wooden bead, and one jingle bell. (The photo shows one green stem, cut in half; another half is needed for each elf.)
How to Make the Pipe Cleaner Elf
Making the pipe cleaner elf is a matter of twisting and moving the pipe cleaners around each other and the other supplies. Start by twisting a half of the red and half of the green (two bumps for each other) to make legs and feet. If the ends are poke-y (as sometimes happens with pipe cleaners), fold them over a bit to make elf feet.
Set aside the legs/feet. Now grab the round bead and put the other half of the red and green stems through the bead.
In the photo below, we’d already painted the elf’s face. If you are painting the elf face, you’d want to do it first. If you will draw it on with marker, it doesn’t matter when you add his face! Also, we put the bell on the elf’s hat at this point. You can also do the bell at the end. Whatever you want!
Finish off the hat by twisting the red pipe cleaner on the top (by the hat) around the green hat.
Next comes the legs and arms. Grab the elf legs you’ve already twisted and twist on the green chenille stem that comes out of the head. Then, take the other green stem that is not yet on the elf and twist those around that same stem to make arms.
You’re almost done! Twist remaining red pipe cleaner around the elf’s neck to be a scarf. Twist the candy cane pipe cleaner into one of his hands and you’ve finished!
See more homemade ornament ideas.
Want to see it done? Check out the video below.
Enjoying the Elf Christmas Ornaments
My kids love the elf ornaments. The best part is, since they are made of pipe cleaners, we can just twist them on to the Christmas tree branches…or anywhere!
My son left them hanging on random lamps and door frames. My daughter shrieked in delight when she found the pink and teal one she made last year. And my toddler kissed every pixie elf face she found. Suffice it to say, our pipe cleaner Christmas elf ornaments are some of our favorites!
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