In 2012 I had a thought- why not add bendable wires to the inside of my Elf on the Shelf?! I had so many fun ideas for him but quite frankly, he wasn’t up to the task with his wimpy body. Not long after that he was hacked, I blogged it, and the tutorial went on to become a HUGE Internet sensation!
In 2015 I decided (after the prodding of a friend) it was about time I made a video of this hack. I did that and more- finding a way to put in the same, thick gauge wire that should last for many years of fun, but without the sewing! If you haven’t hacked your Elf yet then you’re in for a treat- this method works for anyone and there is no need for a needle and thread!
You Will Need:
- Elf on the Shelf of course!
- 14 or 16 Gauge, Bendable Wire. I used the Darice brand and I found it at Joanns for 40% off
- White Velcro
- Seam ripper or Small Scissors
- Wire Cutters
- Needlenose pliers
- Hot Glue Gun/ Hot Glue
Cost- The wire is about $5 (use a coupon at the craft store!) and the velcro dots were $2 for the package. Most of the other items you will have on hand! If you have a Leatherman tool this works great for pliers and a wire cutter.
Time- With no sewing this version of my Original Hack is even quicker! The first arm or leg may drive you nuts while trying to get the wire in between stitches but you find your groove!
Skill Level: If you can boil water you can hack your Elf.
Make Your Elf Arms Bendable!
Use the seam ripper to un-stitch the hands if you haven’t yet. Take your wire and lay it next to your elf’s arms then cut where there is a tiny bit extra so you have enough wire to make a loop. Make a tiny loop and squeeze it closed with your pliers- it has to be small enough to fit through the stitching but a loop is necessary to ensure the wire doesn’t eventually poke through the fabric and leave a hole!
Examine the hand on your elf- look on the side where the stitching is spaced out more (not the very tip). When you find a good spot push the non-looped side of your wire through. If you can’t seem to get your thick wire through you can use the seam ripper to widen a hole or even rip a single stitch- because you’re going in from the side and not the tip even ripping a stitch won’t matter! The wire can’t poke through the tip (I wish I would have thought of that sooner!)
If you have a newer elf you notice there is elbow stitching to deal with (older, creepier models don’t have this). On the backside of the arm rip 1-2 stitches in the middle of the arm. This gives your wire entry to the upper portion.
Since we entered on the side, depending on how long you cut the wire will determine how easy or hard it is to get the remainder stuffed into the hand. I wanted mine pretty exact since it seems to do the best for bending so I had to really work it in by bending the arm and pushing extra fabric down and working the wire up.
Make sure the end of your wire is centered and not facing the way you came in- once inside use your fingers to massage the seam. The “entry wound” will be nearly invisible.
Make Your Elf’s Legs Bendable!
For the legs you will go the exact same thing. Find stitching on the back of the leg above the bottom of the “foot” and insert your wire. Pop a stitch or two at the knee and work the wire all the way inside.
Make Your Elf’s Hands Grippy!
You can opt to skip this step- the bendable hands to most of the things the velcro addition does- but I like having the option of velcro.
Take your velcro hook and loop and cut one of each to fit the hands. Decide the placement you want, add hot glue to the back, and attach. That was easy!
Time to Pose!
Your Elf now has super posing abilities just in time for Elf on the Shelf season! Find a few fun Elf on the Shelf ideas on DDL or the great list on Kids Activities Blog. I’d love to see your bendable elf in action! Tag me in photos on Instagram (@Kim_Rosas) and follow our Elf Wyatt again this year!