Christmas Elf on the Shelf Tutorial

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Christmas Elf on the Shelf Pattern

DIY Christmas Elf : I know it’s a bit early, but I’ve started thinking about Christmas. I love this time of year, it’s just a massive excuse for a big fat craft fest. Making decorations and gifts is my favourite part of Christmas, so I like to start early and drag it out as long as I can. I love getting out all the decorations that the kids and I have made over the years and every year I like to add to the collection. My first new Christmas decoration is this adorable ‘Christmas Elf on the Shelf’; he’ll look really cute on the mantle and would make a great gift.
Full tutorial and free pdf Elf pattern are included in this post.
Make this gorgeous Christmas Elf buddy as a decoration or for a gift.  Full tutorial and pattern, made from upcycled t-shirts.

Christmas Elf on a Shelf tutorial
This Elf is actually a Christmas pimp of some cute softies I’ve been making for friends for years from old t-shirts. All it took to make the transformation to Elf, was a careful choice of fabric colour, some Elf like ears, a green felt hat and collar. The body of these cuddly toys is stuffed with lentils which makes them weighted so they sit well and can be used as a door stop.
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What you need to make an Elf on the Shelf

  • Green stripy jersey fabric approximately 1 fat quarter. If you happen to have an old green stripy t-shirt this would do. I often use old t-shirts to make these softies.
  • Template downloadable here : Elf Pattern
  • Cream or a neutral coloured jersey fabric, no more than 1 fat quarter. Again an old t-shirt would do.
  • Green felt aprox. 1 fat quarter.
  • 2 extra large coconut shell buttons. These are easily bought online and come in various colours.
  • Small amount of fibre to stuff the head and ears. Lentils, green or red or split peas to stuff the body.
  • Needle and thread
  • Optional small silver bell

Christmas elf - full tutorial and free pattern

How to make your Christmas Elf

Part 1: The head

  • With the Elf Pattern cut out 6 head pieces and 4 ear pieces with the cream fabirc.
  • Using a very small seam allowance of about 5mm sew the head pieces together, like the segments of an orange. Leave a gap at the top for stuffing. You should end up with something that looks like a deflated ball. Stuff firmly with the fibre stuffing and close.
  • Next sew the ear pieces together so that you have 2 ears. Stuff these lightly and then sew a stitch a swirl in the middle of the ear to give it definition.
  • Sew the ears to the stuffed head
  • Make a hat out of the green felt; cut a triangle wide enough to go round the head, fold in half, stitch and turn inside out. If you have one you can stitch a silver bell to the top of the hat.
  • Finally stitch your oversized buttons to the face to make eyes.

Elf head tutorial

Part 2: The Body

  • Using the Elf Pattern cut out 2 body pieces and 4 arm pieces in your green stripy fabric.
  • Again using a small seam allowance, sew the arm pieces right sides together, leaving a gap at the top. Turn the arms right sides out.
  • Stitch the body pieces right sides together, leaving a gap at the shoulders for the arms and a gap at the top for stuffing. Don’t turn out just yet.
  • Stuff the arms with lentils. Place the stuffed arms inside body and stitch round the shoulders to attach them.
  • Using the hole in the top of the body turn your elf right sides out.
  • Stuff the body with lentils, make sure you fill the legs, and then stitch to close
  • Now stitch your head to the body.
  •  Elf body tutorial
    Christmas Elf and buddies - Free pattern
    As you can see to make my softie more Elf like I added a felt collar. This was made simply by drawing round a bowl on some green felt. Cutting out this felt circle and cutting a zigzag pattern into. Then cut a slit into the felt collar so that it can be slipped round the neck of your Elf.
    Christmas Elf on shelf tutorial
    You must admit this Christmas Elf on the shelf looks really sweet on the mantle.
    Instead of using lentils in the past I have used wheat to stuff these Elves. Wheat can be heated in the microwave so the Elves can be used as hot buddies for warming.
    Christmas Elf Tutorial Pillarboxblue
    Finally do you have any good elf jokes? I would love to hear them.
    You might want to checkout my other Christmas decorations.
    Upcycled Funky felt garland
    Giant Christmas Felt Letters
    Upcycled Shuttlecock Angels

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83 Responses

  1. These are fun. I love the buttons you’ve used for the eyes.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you ! I think the buttons are what makes them so cute.

  2. They are terrific!! Funny but cute!
    Greetings from Belgium, Sigrid

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks you for your kind words. I think it’s the big eyes that make them cute.

  3. Oh gosh, those are too adorable!! Love them! Thanks so much for the free pattern! I’d love to have you come over and link your post up to my craft party which starts at 7pm EST. and is new every Thursday! I also pin every post!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you, and thanks for the invite.

  4. Oh my gosh I love the little fabric elf! I think it is sooo much cuter than the same old plastic ones you see everywhere. I will have to keep this in mind for future grandkids! Thanks for sharing.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you, they are cute and you can make them out of old t-shirts, which would make them more personal.

  5. so super cute! love the big eyes and the huggable soft body!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks ! They do make me smile with their cuteness.

  6. I hope that you wouldn’t be insulted if I adapted the pattern, doubled the number of limbs and made a Cthulu On a Shelf for my 28yo son. The pattern is really brilliant and the first time I actually like the silly elf, but it triggered a brainstorm.

    • Claire Armstrong

      That’s what I hope to do is to inspire and spark ideas, I think it’s great that you want to adapt the pattern and make something new. Must admit though I didn’t know what a Cthulhu was I had to look it up on Wikipedia. Thanks !!

  7. I love these! They look so squishy and soft. Thank you for posting the pattern as well.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you !! Using a jersey material also makes them soft and squishy.

  8. ow!!! Cute !!!

    • Claire Armstrong


  9. Cute! You’re clever 🙂

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you very much !!

  10. He’s so cute! I think I may have to make a couple for Christmas

    • Claire Armstrong

      They are addictive as they are so cute, I’ve made quite a few as presents as they always seem to go down well !!

  11. Love them – they are a bit Tim Burton-esque (a good thing).

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks ! I see what you mean I think it’s the big dark eyes that do it.

  12. […] from Pillar Box Blue shares her free pattern for creating absolutely adorable elf softies from an old […]

  13. Oh-My-Heart…..These are SO CUTE!!!! They are just the perfect diy gift I need for my kids, they would love them. Thanks, Now I would like to invite you to stop by and share your tutorial on my Friday Features Weekly Linkup-Link Above

    Have a great weekend!

    How did elves climbed up to the top of Santa’s Castle?
    Answer: Using an “Elf”-evator.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you ! Love the joke I hadn’t actually heard that one before and thanks for the invite.

      • I really real.l.l.l.l.y hope you will stop by and share this CUTE little elf on my Friday Features this week, I want “so much” to Feature your post next week. Hope you will stop by!!

        And I have pinned him for the world to see….
        Have a great weekend!

        • Claire Armstrong

          Thank you so much love that you love it ! Thanks for the invite I have just shared it to your link party.

  14. Your elves are cute and unique! I bought my daughter an Elf on the shelf. Now I wish I would’ve made one. Thanks for sharing at Submarine Sunday!!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you ! Glad you liked him.

  15. It is never too early for Elf on the Shelf! This post is just too cute. Love your blog and I am so happy I came across it!

    – Seri

    • Claire Armstrong

      Cheers! Glad you found my blog and liked it !

  16. […] Christmas Elf on the Shelf Tutorial | Pillar Box Blue […]

  17. […] Christmas Elf on the Shelf from Pillar Box Blue […]

  18. Hi Claire! These are so cute. This post will be featured this week at My Flagstaff Home.


    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you very much, Ill look forward to seeing it along with everyone elses creations this week at My Flagstaff home.

  19. I love your Christmas elves, Claire – so much better than the same old, same old elves that are identical to each other.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you very much ! Yes I agree they are not your average Elf !!

  20. It’s verry cute 🙂
    Thank u

    • Claire Armstrong

      I know I just love them Thanks !

  21. Such a cute tutorial! Thanks for linking up to my blog- I’ll be checking you out (in a non-creepy way) haha! xoxo

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks ! Liked your idea of makers Monday, thanks for hosting.

  22. I just want to hug them and kiss them and love them forever

    • Claire Armstrong

      Yes they are adorable thanks !

  23. I love the big eyes on these guys!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you ! The eyes do make them look cute.

  24. […] Christmas Elf on the Shelf from Pillar Box Blue […]

  25. These are totally adorable! Thanks for sharing the how to with us at the Christmas in July link up!

    • Thank you ! Yeah they are kind of cute enough to have out all year round.

  26. These are adorable! I think I’m going to have to make one of these for my mom and my sister, as well as one or two for our home. Pinning! Thanks for sharing the free pattern.

    • Thank you, they are kind of addictive. I have made several over the years.

  27. I do believe my Elf on a Shelf needs a few new friends!!!

  28. I want one!!! This is just too stinking adorable!

  29. Those elves are cuties! Maybe my daughter and I will have to make some this year. It’s good to get a head start!

    • Thank you, you can make them even more special by using an old favourite t-shirt.

  30. I keep thinking I want to try my hand at these! Sooo cute!

    • You should they are really easy to make and you can use an old stripy t-shirt. They look good just dotted around the place at Christmas.

  31. So cool! Very cute elfs :)))) Seeing projects like this makes me want a sewing machine:D

    • Thank you. My friend doesn’t have a sewing machine and makes them by hand. It doesn’t take much longer to do by hand, you should give it a go.

  32. These are awesome!! I love them! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party!

  33. So adorable! I can by the number of comments, I am not alone in admiring your cute little guys!

  34. How cute, Claire! Thank you for sharing @Vintage Charm!

  35. I cannot stop smiling looking at these! They are cute in every single way 🙂 Thank you for sharing them with us at Funtastic Friday!

  36. They’re really cute, I like the big eye buttons that looks like ceramic to me. I will have to keep a look out for those around here.

  37. Claire, this elf on the shelf is so cute!! I’ll have to whip some of these up for Christmas for my kiddos. Thanks for the pattern!!

  38. These little guys are adorable!

  39. […] favorites | Christmas Elf on the Shelf Pattern @ Pillar Box Blue | Distressed Stackable DIY Wood Pumpkins @ Anika’s DIY Life | Candy Corn […]

  40. What a cute idea! Love that you made your own versions 🙂 Thanks for sharing with Merry Monday!

  41. These look amazing and so adorable. I need to make these. Thank you for sharing and I would love it if you would share at a link party I am co-hosting. I hope to see you there. Have a great week.

  42. These little guys are cute! Thank you so much for sharing them at The Crafty Corner link party. I hope to see you there again! (new party starts tomorrow 6 am EST)

  43. […] favorites | Christmas Elf on the Shelf Pattern @ Pillar Box Blue | Distressed Stackable DIY Wood Pumpkins @ Anika’s DIY Life | Candy Corn […]

  44. Just brilliant! They are so cute and have so much character!

    • Thank you so much! I love putting them on the mantle at Christmas.

  45. These are just too gorgeous, is that possible?? thanks for sharing with the #12daysofchristmasdiychallenges

  46. These are so adorable! I love the stripes in their stockings and their beautiful eyes! I feel like these elves can bring forth more magic and whimsy than their red-outfitted “cousin”! Shared on my holiday board – adding to my long list of to-dos!

    • Thank you very much! I do love having them sit on my Christmas mantle.

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