February 17, 2021 | Sarah Ramberg
With visions of sugarplum fairies dancing in our heads, we’re bringing you a fun holiday DIY straight from the Land of Sweets! We always have lots of shutters on hand in a variety of shapes and sizes at the Charlotte Region ReStore, so when we came across the Nutcracker Shutter idea we knew we would have to give it a whirl! The Nutcracker Shutter is a fun way to spread holiday cheer on your porch, patio or even inside your home. We carry many of the items used to decorate the Nutcracker like cabinet knobs, handles, hinges, floral stems, jewelry, and other odds-and-ends, making the ReStore a one-stop shop for this project! We were able to source nearly all of our materials straight from the store and from DIYs we have done in the past like the file cabinet transformation. This budget-friendly holiday DIY is fun, easy, and customizable using just about anything!
Ready to get started?
Let’s talk about materials. You will need some of the following items in order to decorate the Nutcracker hat, face, jacket and pants. We have tried to include common ReStore and household materials here:
- 1 Shutter. When choosing a size, be sure to consider the space where you will place the Nutcracker. We chose a shutter approximately 18”w x 60”h.
Pro-Tip: Select a white shutter, your uniform colors will pop!
- 5 cans spray paint; black, red, navy blue, white and gold
Pro-Tip: If you don’t have spray paint, you can use acrylic or craft paint.
However, expect a longer drying time with acrylic paint.
- Gold paint pen or acrylic paint (for detail)
- Cabinet knobs, handles, washers, or buttons (for uniform)
- Wood discs, jar lids, googly eyes or buttons (for eyes)
- Black felt (for mustache and eyebrows)
- Door hinge (for buckle)
- Ribbon, twine, necklaces or chain (for uniform)
- Flat ornament (for hat)
- Clothespins or popsicle sticks (for nose & teeth)
- Polyfill (for hair, beard)
- Measuring tape, pencil
- Gorilla Glue or hot glue, tape
- Scissors, screwdriver
- Painter’s tape
- Cleaning supplies, drop cloth
- Safety mask, goggles, and gloves
Next, let’s talk about safety. When preparing to complete the DIY Nutcracker Shutter, please paint in a well-ventilated area! Remember, hot glue is extremely hot and should be used with caution to avoid burns. As always, wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, because this or any DIY can be messy!
Let’s get started!
- First things, first! Clean your shutter thoroughly and remove any hardware – like hinges, and set aside.
- Starting from the top, use your painter’s tape to mark off the hat section of the Nutcracker’s body. You will want to come down about ¼ of the way and place your tape in a straight line across the width of the shutter. Any empty space above the paint tape will be painted black. Next, starting from the bottom, move about ¼ of the way up the shutter and place your tape horizontally. Any space below the tape will be painted black to represent his boots. Continue moving up the shutter, about the same length as the boots and place painter’s tape to mark off the section for the pants; then repeat this step for the jacket. Be sure to leave enough white space above where the jacket starts for the Nutcracker’s face.
Time to paint!
- Using short, sweeping bursts, cover the front and sides of the shutter with spray paint. Starting at the top with black, next white, then red, blue, and black. Any overspray can be covered with decoration or touched-up with acrylic paint later.
- Find a spot about mid-way down the shutter and paint a thick, black “belt” across the soldier’s red coat.
- Allow 30 minutes – 1 hour for everything to dry completely.
- As the shutter dries, layout materials you will use to decorate hat, face, jacket, pants and boots. This is where you can be really creative with your materials and organizing in this order will help as you begin to assemble and glue items together.
- Cut-out your mustache and eyebrows; stick your googly eyes or buttons onto the larger discs or jar lids for eyes.
- Once the paint is dry, remove paint tape and touch-up areas as needed.
Pro-Tip: The lines that appear once tape is removed serve as guides for ribbon embellishments; waistbands, boot “fur”, and belt.
Let’s make a Nutcracker!
- Now that the shutter is dry, it’s time to assemble the Nutcracker! Starting at the top, find the center of the shutter and make a small mark. This will help keep your decorative elements balanced and straight. Center and glue your decorative ornament to the top of the “hat”. up with the center an authentic soldier look.
- Next, glue the facial elements, including the teeth, in the center of the white space. Pay careful attention to the middle of the shutter so your face will be centered. Once you have the face in place, add the polyfill to either side of his face as well as just below his teeth for the beard.
- Continue adding ribbon for suspenders, knobs for buttons, hinge for belt buckle, and so on until you reach the boots.
- Using a round edge (we used the paint tape roll), trace a semi-circle on the bottom of the shutter to mimic his feet. Grab your craft paint and cover your tracings, now you have boots! For extra pizzazz, paint Xs in a column for each boot to represent laces.
- Stand-up your Nutcracker Shutter and salute the holidays!
Time to get crackin’ on those decorations!
The Nutcracker is a fun holiday tradition and what better way to celebrate than customize a Nutcracker decoration of your very own!
Feeling inspired with DIY creativity this holiday season? We would love to see it! Take a snap and share it on our socials, @cltregionrestore with the hashtag #ReStoreNutcracker!