DIY Nutcracker Soldiers with Ken Wingard

Materials List:
• Hot glue gun
• Spray paint for plastic: Black, Blue, Red, Yellow, Skin Tone • 2 x 2" wood screws for shoulders • Black tape to hold top and bottom of body together • Base - a 24" plywood round – paint green
Shoes – 6" plastic flower pot, cut in half (top to bottom) - paint black
Legs – 2 pieces of 29" pvc pipe that is 3" diameter – paint 16" black, 13" blue
Jacket bottom trim – 2 x 2 gal bucket lids – paint yellow
Jacket skirt – 2 gal bucket – paint red
Jacket top – 5 gal bucket – paint red
Collar – 2 x 5 gal bucket lids – paint yellow
Arms – 2 x 24" pvc pipe 3" diameter – paint red
Hands - 2 x 6" party balls – paint half blue 7 half skin tone
Shoulders – 2 x 6" flower pots – paint yellow & use 2" screws to attach flower pots into buckets
Shoulder detail – 2 x 2" small plastic or wood balls – paint yellow
Neck – 2.5" pvc pipe 3" diameter – paint yellow
Face – 5qt bucket – paint base skin tone & lip yellow
Hat – sterilite black plastic trash can 12" (the kind with the dome top and swing lid)
Top of Hat – 5qt bucket lid – paint yellow
Nose - wooden finial – paint skin tone
Eyes – 1.5" wooden discs
Jacket decoration – 3x 2" x 6" foam craft strips

Start at the bottom and slowly work your way up. Use lots and lots of hot glue and give the glue a few minutes to set before moving on to the next step to make sure he doesn't take a bow half way through construction.

  1. Glue the two leg pipes to the green base, black portion down.
  2. Glue the shoes, cut side down to the base with the ends touching the legs.
  3. Snap the two lids to the top of the 2 gal bucket, you can use a little glue to make sure they stay put if you'd like.
  4. Turn the 2 gal bucket upside down and glue to the top of the legs (if your lids have an inner ridge, you may have to play with the placement so the legs will attach to a flat area...or cut a notch out of your legs).
  5. Glue the 5 gal bucket, right side up, to the 2 gal bucket. Wrap the black tape around the joint to reinforce it and to make a belt.
  6. Glue the arms to the inside bottom of the shoulders.
  7. Glue the shoulders to the collar. This takes a lot of glue.
  8. Once glued, drive a screw from inside the collar, through the shoulder and into the arm pipe.
  9. Glue balls to top of shoulders.
  10. Glue hands to ends of arm pipes (the poor guy in the photo doesn't have his hands yet).
  11. Glue the next to the center of the 5 gal lid.
  12. Glue face bucket to neck.
  13. Slide trash can into face bucket, it probably won't reach the bottom, mine was a nice snug fit, so I didn't glue it.
  14. Glue 5 gal lid to top.
  15. Glue on eyes, nose and jacket detail.
  16. Salute and offer nuts.

DIY Nutcracker Soldiers with Ken Wingard

For more, visit Ken Wingard at and follow him on Twitter @KennethWingard.

And take a moment to check out the blog of the "Home & Family" Prop Master, Dave at

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