Holiday Decorations: Toy Soldier From Clay Pots
Here is a holiday decorating idea that will literally amaze you. An eighteen inch tall “toy soldier” made with clay flower pots, some paint, a few pieces of felt and some ribbon and a few other odds and ends. For under $9 (and a couple of hours of your time) we guess that this will be one of your least expensive Yule Tide investments. And our toy soldier is an absolute joy to create — especially if there are youngsters around to share the experience with you.
Although you will definitely need five flower pots and some paint, the rest of the ingredients will vary with your taste and with the materials that are available in your neck of the woods. You may also discover that our toy soldier can be easily converted to an Angel, a Santa, an Elf or whatever suits your fancy. However, we will concentrate on the soldier.
First, the clay pots will have to be painted and assembled. Paint colors include black, red and blue. Any kind of paint will do. Two pots are painted blue, one is painted black, one is painted red and one is left unpainted. Next, a black stripe must be added to the rim of the unpainted pot and to one of the blue pots. To complete the painting portion of the project two tongue depressors will have to be painted red. Set the tongue depressors aside. They will be used later on.
Permanent assembly of the pots (and all other parts) can be achieved by using a masonry adhesive or a hot glue gun. However, if storage is a problem you may wish to use Velcro connections instead. This will allow disassembly so that the pots can be placed one inside another.
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 together being sure to carefully align them. You have just 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. And finally, the black pot is added to the top — rim down. Our soldier has finally taken its’ basic shape.
The next step is to add red stripes to the trousers, a white stripe to the shirt, a black collar, a black belt and a gold hat band. We used 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 was used to simulate a belt buckle and although regular buttons can be used, we went to a craft store and purchased a package of gold-colored plastic cabochons. The absence of a stitching protrusion on the back of the cabochons made them very easy to attach with a hot glue gun.
About 20 small, gold-colored beads strung together with a gold sequin at each end can be used for the hat decoration. Gold-colored braid or rope also can be used.
The arms are made from the tongue depressors that we painted red earlier in the project (they can be purchased at a craft shop). Now, we must add white gloves. Each glove consists of a pair of opposing pieces made from sticky-back felt. Red cuffs were added in the same manner. A sequin is used at each cuff to simulate a cuff button. And, a short piece of gold ribbon is wrapped around the top of the arm to simulate an epaulette. You got it! At this point the arms can be attached to the body.
The face can be painted. However, not being very artistic, we used plastic eyes and a felt mouth instead. A short piece of black or red pipe cleaner rolled into a ball can be used for the nose.
Finally, a store-bought red-colored yarn tassel is added to the top of the hat. Here, you can purchase the yarn and make the tassel if you wish.
Although we used five-inch flower pots this time, we also have toy soldiers made from ten-inch pots. They stand over 3 feet tall. The big ones make great porch decorations.