Featured List

Nutcracker Redo!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

While cruising Pinterest last week I found this simple nutcracker makeover by Allison of House of Hepworths:

Pretty cool, right? Very modern chic!

And since Allison mentioned the nutcrackers were from a dollar store, the next time John and I were out we swung by our local Dollar Tree, and...score!
I quickly ripped off their beards and hair and headed out to the garage for some spraying.

After priming them all I painted one each in gold, copper, silver, and gloss white:
I loved the gold and silver, but the copper just didn't look metallic enough for me. But I reeeeally love copper. So, after a little thought, I broke out some sparkly copper glitter:

We got this glitter sample pack from JoAnn's a while back for my Figment mask. That little packet was just enough to coat the entire nutcracker:

Now THAT is more like it.

To apply the glitter I just brushed on a thin layer of white craft glue and sprinkled the glitter over top. Messy as all get-out, of course, but also really fun!

Rather than covering the entire figure, I left the arm and leg bands glitter-free, as well as the base. Then I went back and added copper foil around those areas for extra shine:

 Finished! It's hard to photograph glitter well, but trust me when I say this guy is SUPER sparkly.

Now for the gold and silver guys:

These are the spray paints I used, and I highly recommend both. The silver in particular sprays and pools beautifully. (The secret to a great metallic is to let it pool slightly, but not so much that it will start to drip or sag.) The gold is a thinner paint and a lot more likely to sag with heavy coats, so be extra careful with it.


These nutcrackers are made from terrible quality wood (hey, what do you expect for a buck, right?), so even with a several coats and a little sanding they're a bit rough and grainy in places. Still, from a slight distance, not too shabby!

I wanted these two to have something a bit more, though, so next I added some tiny nail gems and metal accents:

 Muuuch better.

The gold is my favorite - he almost looks like a little brass automaton! - but I think these two make a nice set together.

And as for my final nutcracker, well...

Ick.

I planned to add multi-colored gems all over him, like I've started to here, but as you can see the wood on this one is a lot worse than the others, and the high-gloss white magnifies every crack and bump. I'm thinking I might dunk him in glitter, too. Unless you guys have any other ideas?


Hope you liked my quick 'cracker re-do! I have a few more ideas I'd like to try, too, so I'm thinking another trip to the Dollar Tree might be in order.  :)

Oh, and here's my attempt at recreating Allison's awesome pin:


And if you're on Pinterest, you can find my own boards here!

Posted by Jen at 10:00 AM Labels: ,

60 comments:

  1. Awesome! Now I just need to find a penguin nutcracker and try him...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome!!! I already have some nutcrackers that I got for free so I maaaaay have to try this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, these look amazing! I think you should try some gunmetal/black glitter on the white one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know!!! You should do the aged copper tutorial of yours on him!!! I think it would look amazing and it will help hide the fact that you can see the wood. Those are my two cents and now I think I'm gonna buy a nutcracker so I can do the copper aging tutorial on it myself!

    Love the blog!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ah Jen, you are craft magic. You take a good idea and you make it better! I wasn´t very impressed by the original tutorial since the end result lacked personality to me. Yours have that extra zing and I love them! I vote for glitter on the white one too, because he´s not pretty right now...

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'd glitter up the white one, so then you're got two matching sets.

    ReplyDelete
  7. They have them for $1 at Michaels,too! I'm going to have to buy a bunch and steampunk them up.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Do they have some sort of fluffy white glitter? That looks like snow? That's what I'm envisioning for your white nutcracker.

    ReplyDelete
  9. My husband is creeped out by nutcrackers, he likes to joke that they are evil. I'm wondering if the glaring eyes and giant teeth were painted over, they might appear less sinister to him.

    ReplyDelete
  10. These look amazing. I think I might just have to do these as a craft. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the silver one. If the wood is bad, I've been told that there is some kind of filler that you can use to even out grains and that is sandable and paintable. That might help fix your white nutcracker. But either way, they all look amazing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love this! I may try it with a brass finish.

    I think the white one looks sort of melty, like it's made out of either snow or frosting. I'd suggest wrapping something around the hat to cover up the biggest gouge in the wood, then decorating the rest with something to make him look either frozen (white glitter, coal eyes & buttons, & a muffler) or edible (matte dimensional stickers or puff paint).

    ReplyDelete
  12. These are AWESOME - and if Nutcrackers didn't skeeve me out, I'd SO do it. (But that penguin nutcracker...hmmmmmm)

    ReplyDelete
  13. These are awesome!

    For some reason, I read "Nutcracker Redo" as "Nutcracker Radio" which in my strange and twisted brain became "Nutcracker Clock." So now I want to try this and turn it into a clock. Go figure! LOL

    ReplyDelete
  14. My mom has collected German nutcrackers for many years, and I have to admit, they freak me out! But these....these are fan.tas.tic! I may even break out the spray paint and give this a try myself. Maybe I'll even make a few for my mom. Thanks for the idea!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Age the white one; steampunk it up! Give him a wee monocle and aviator's helmet! :D

    ReplyDelete
  16. Bahaha, I'm sorry. XD I loved looking at the nutcrackers, especially the silver (the color! so pretty!) but the copper is fun as well...

    But sadly the first thing I thought of when I saw the all-white one with the little rainbow jewels... Captain EO! I think... you might have to add a little furry Fuzzball character to go with it...

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hate to point it out - but the nutcrackers in the before-picture are not the same as in the after! You've included Mr. Whity in the befores!

    And I vote for more glitter. Possibly multicolored? Not as in rainbow-multicoored, but maybe something like what you intended to do with the small gems?

    ReplyDelete
  18. I hope you wore a mask while handling the loose glitter. Many school districts have banned the use of loose glitter because it can be inhaled into the lungs and act very much like asbestos does. I don't know about you, but I'd rather not have "glitter lung" as my cause of death.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Copper is my favorite metal.
    Since you have a shiny copper one, why not make that white one an aged or patinaed copper?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I was really hoping those nutcrackers would somehow turn into robots.

    ROBOT NUTCRACKER WILL DESTROY YOUR ROASTED CHESTNUTS!

    Ooh! Or nutcracker Cyberman! Maybe I will have to rethink my stance on 'I don't have room to store single-holiday decorations'...

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am so in awe of your skillz! I probably just would have left them at spray-painted and called it good. But you always take those extra steps that make your crafts look so fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Glitter is the bacon of the crafting world it just makes everything better. The white one would look really good with some strategically placed glitter.

    ReplyDelete
  23. for the white one, first repaint him copper, then do the verdigris finish like you did on your seahorse a while back. All the little imperfections in the wood should really work for a nice finish.... I think...

    ReplyDelete
  24. An idea for the white one?...splatter modeling, to give it a faux stone finish, so he looks made of stone. :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. If you took the base off of the gold one and put it on a black, circular base it would make a perfect Oscar party favor! Too cute!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh, and as for the white nutcracker, you should do some strategic red pinstriping and make him look like a candy cane!

    - Kim (who also wrote the Oscar Party comment)

    Mental note: must create Cybamen nutcrackers!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Our family gift exchange limit is $1 (thanks to Grandpa). I think my aunt my actually like to get one of these!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I saw that on Pinterest and thought the idea was cool, but theirs were just so blah and boring. I love the added glitter and gems. Really gives it the right holiday charm!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Turn the white one into the Dreamfinder!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Although glitter IS the heroine of craft supplies, I say try and dunk him in glitter. OR
    you could try to tape off half of him and spray half in silver and half in gold. Just a thought.

    ReplyDelete
  31. The silver makes me think of:

    When a man's an empty kettle he should be on his mettle,
    And yet I'm torn apart.
    Just because I'm presumin' that I could be kind-a-human,
    If I only had heart

    (the tin man, of course!)

    ReplyDelete
  32. When the link popped up on Facebook, I thought, "She made a nutcracker C3P-0!!!" :D Makes me want to paint a nutcracker gold and add the details to make it a droid (complete with one silver leg, of course). :)
    Great job on your nutcrackers, you took them from creepy/cute to glam/cute!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Plutonium Paint (repping Detroit -- WHATT!) makes matte spray paints. They are primarily used by graffiti artists, but they are for sale world-wide. You can find them on Amazon, if you interested.

    I did a whole desk in their Vegas pink earlier this year, and I loved the paint. Hardly any overspray. ( http://www.madincrafts.com/2012/09/mad-in-crafts-work-table-with-plutonium.html )

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hmmmm..... maybe some wood putty to fill the cracks in the plywood (like on the white dude's helmet) then sanding? That would work for other unsandable gouges too...

    That being said, white/clear glitter would make him look like sparkly snow, so that might not be a terrible option. :)

    I assume these are mini-nutcrackers? I may have to look for some too, and make some ornaments!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'm going to try it this weekend! Thanks for the idea and the DIY instructions.:-)

    ReplyDelete
  36. What about gloss black with silver accents... or silver glitter? Or maybe a wee Vader helmet with the sword morphed into a saber? :-D

    ReplyDelete
  37. I would vote for white glitter. Then you'd have a nice set going with 2 metallics and 2 glitters. And then put the multi colored gems back on after.

    ReplyDelete
  38. THIS IS AWESOME!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  39. These are great! I'd love to try some with the jacket details painted on again over the solid colors. I love the buttons and detail 'stitching' on the originals.

    ReplyDelete
  40. The white one could be a Steamy Stormtrooper? The wood is really bad, but you could try to fill it with some wood-patch (available in the paint section of your hardware store, it is used to fill nail holes)

    ReplyDelete
  41. I must be the only one who thinks the silver & gold ones look like R2D2 & C3PO.

    Great job on making these guys way less creepy.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Looks like I'm the only so far to think that the silver and gold guys resemble R2D2 & C3PO.

    They look way less creepy now, never was a huge fan of nutcrackers before.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I've collected Nutcrackers since I was very young & I love these! You can get plain nutcrackers at craft stores (so you don't have to paint over an already-terrible paint job). Personally, I'd prefer to do that just because I see each nutcracker as an individual & even if it's a terrible paint job, it's still how he was made! (I know, I'm a little crazy...) :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. Wow. I was never much into nutcrackers. You have turned these into..... somethings very interesting. I would actually give those as gifts or have them in my house. As for the white one.... I'm going against the majority here and saying you should continue the colored dots. With the dots on and placing him somewhere that people can't see him up close you'll never notice the imperfections. Nice job as always, Jen!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Oh Jen, these are beautifull! I practically live in my local Dollar Tree, I'm totally trying this. Imagine the possibilities! I would love to paint them as you have and use simple decorations to make them resemble different characters (Mad Hatter? :) ).

    I like the white one, and agree with HB. I would glitterize his hat and sword. Maybe in copper and steel. That would mask some of the hat and still keep it pretty clean looking. Thanks for the inspiration as always!
    Nikki T

    ReplyDelete
  46. I'm kind of terrified by nutcrackers so when you said you ripped their beards off, I almost fainted. :| But these are actually pretty awesome so good work!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Methinks I see some opalescent glitter at the bottom of the multipack? Maybe that on the white nutcracker, or mix it together with the silver and do both? Or just start from scratch and try something different.

    ReplyDelete
  48. The tiny hat chain is the best accessory, imo. :)

    ReplyDelete
  49. woohoo new project for this week-end. thanks Jen

    ReplyDelete
  50. I totally agree with Kim - put candy cane pinstripes on him. He might not go really well with the other three, but I think the striping would camouflage the cracks and dents, and he would definitely be very Christmassy.

    ~Sophie

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hi Jen,

    I think yours look much better than the original tutorial. For the white one, I'd go with a clear iridescent glitter to give it that opal-like rainbow glow. That should cover up the rough patches. You could also go with embossing powder for scrapbooking, apply it in swirly patterns all over then let your heat gun or hair dryer make those swirls come to life! You could also try decoupaging some iridescent cellophane where you applied glitter to your copper one, it'll give it a crackly shiny glow.

    ReplyDelete
  52. These are fantastic... and I find regular nutcrackers super creepy.

    ReplyDelete
  53. What a great idea! I don't celebrate Christmas, but I'll be sure to pass this along to my friends who do!
    Thanks for sharing. :)

    ReplyDelete
  54. I suggest glitter on the white one as well, but not solid glitter. Paint the glitter on in swirly designs, or other patterns. That way he'd be more interesting but still different and you could place the glitter specifically to cover up the wood problems.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Black with copper detailing! But I love copper too.

    You might try gesso to fill in the worst of the crappy wood, before painting. Or there's a liquitex brand stuff, forget exactly what it's called but it's acrylic medium mixed with marble dust. It's like water based Bondo and dries waterproof. (spellchecker hates that word). It comes in a jar rather than tube and was originally meant for really thick impasto art techniques but I've used it on plastic models, to fill styrofoam so it looks solid, all sorts of things. Let it dry well for your spray paint.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Love this idea! I sent it to my mom who has a nutcracker collection. She said she might try it. If she does, I'll send pics!

    ReplyDelete
  57. If I were you, I would cover the last one in flat white paint and take him to your next artist alley and get him decorated Munny style. In fact, I might know a guy :)

    ReplyDelete
  58. Awesome idea! I have been collecting the gayest nutcrackers I could find for a few years now and I never thought to make my own! Thanks for the inspiration

    ReplyDelete
  59. Why not add super shiny black stripes? Oooh, or squares, like a chessboard?

    ReplyDelete
  60. I went looking for these nutcrackers, and my 99 cent store has them here in California this year! Yay! Funny, they're the EXACT same ones you bought.

    ReplyDelete

Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>

Related Posts with Thumbnails