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Making Santas For My Collection
Submitted by Pam on Thu, 07/19/2012 - 18:04
I love Santas. I collect Santas. ( A certain person I live with thinks I have collected far too many Santas! ) 16 years ago, I purchased these two Santa heads intending to add bodies and beautiful robes! But to date, they are still hanging in the closet not wearing a stitch. Shameful way to treat a Santa. So - here and now I am putting aside my fears and intimidation (or whatever was stopping me) and, even though I have absolutely no clue about what I am doing, I am making sure that by Christmas, my Santas are more than just heads!
The Santa on the left will be created in honor of St. Nicholas and the Santa on the right - Scandi-claus of course! Don't they each look the part? It is only right that I have Santas that represent two very important influences on my own winter holiday celebrations.
Once I got into this project and figured out a very simple way to create a body to which robes could be attached, it occurred to me that this is totally a project easy enough for kids!
Sadly, retailers have ditched Santa and Father Christmas figures in favor of the more universally sale-able snowman; so it may be difficult to find a Santa head. But children can make their own heads using old socks or papier mache. Glue on roving or stuffing fiber for the beard and hair. Button or painted eyes.
Here is a link for Santa heads, hands and accessories if you are interested. And I do still occasionally see Santa heads in craft stores.
The body has been a huge stumbling block. I didn't wish to use or - yikes - make a bendable body armature but couldn't think of a simpler substitute until I spied these cardboard cones at a local craft store. Perfect!
Wrapped in a layer of quilt batting and covered in muslin, the cone makes a great "body" form. Clothing can easily be stitched onto the padded cone and the tip of the cone will tuck right into the opening in the head.
The cardboard cones measure 13" tall and 5" across the base. They are available in other sizes.
So this is how I worked out covering the cone. Easy and simple - nothing complicated.
Using the cone as a "pattern guide", lay it on a piece of muslin near one edge and tape the edge to the cone. Roll the cone until it is completely covered and there is a 1" overlap.
Mark this edge as a cutting line, unwind the muslin, remove it from the cone, fold it so the edge that was taped to the cone is lined up with the cutting line you marked. Fold in half again to make cutting easier, and then cut along the cutting line.
Lay the cone on the muslin and cut the bottom in a slight curve making sure it is about 1 to 2 inches longer than the cone.
Use the muslin as your pattern to cut the quilt batting. Trim off about an inch at the bottom edgeso the batting is about the same length as the cone.
Cover the cone with a liberal layer of Mod Podge and place the quilt filler layer onto the cone, pressing to ensure it is bonded evenly over the surface of the cone. Let dry.
Once dry, trim any excess at the "seam" line and at the bottom edge.
Wrap the cone in the muslin as shown. I simply used masking tape to secure the fabric at the "seams" and inside the cone. If you prefer, tack the muslin seam with needle and thread.
After wrapping the cone, there is just too much fabric at the point. Pull back the muslin, cut off about 1" of the tip of the cone and then, using the pointed end of a pair of scissors, stuff the extra muslin into the opening. Or cut the excess fabric off altogether.
I figured out a very simple and inexpensive way to stabilize the body! These little 5"x5" wood bases were on a "sale table" and they are the perfect solution. Once the cone is glued to the wood base, Santa will be able to endure anything but a North Pole Gale!
And so - there we are - phase one done!!! Sitting on my craft shelf - even in their simple attire - St. Nicholas and Scandi-claus look happier already.
I have gathered most of the fabrics for the garments from my stash.
Scandi-claus will be dressed in a simple homespun cream tunic and a red wool cape made from gorgeous red wool leftover from making Dala. I am thinking perhaps some white fur and felted hearts on that wool cape.
And St. Nicholas - a white satin tunic and light blue brocade fabric. Still searching for the perfect brocade.
Wish me luck! I still have a long way to go and no road map!