Toy soldiers at Christmas are reminiscent of childhood holidays. Creating them from terra cotta flower pots is a craft project the whole family can enjoy. They can be made in a variety of sizes. Use them as table centerpieces, decorate a fireplace mantel or give them as gifts to those who appreciate hand crafts. Small soldiers made with 1-inch terra cotta pots can also be used as ornaments.
Sizes of Pots
Christmas soldiers can be made in several sizes. Terra cotta pots are readily available in sizes from 1 inch to 10 inches. Make a set of all one size or a set of graduated sizes. Use five of the same size pots for each soldier. The first one is placed upside down. The other four pots are glued on top of it, alternating bottom-to-bottom and rim-to-rim. The inverted flower pot on top is painted as the hat. The facial features are painted on the second pot.
Adding Arms and Hands
The size pots used will dictate what size the arms should be. Half a Popsicle stick would be sufficient for small soldiers. Use a whole stick for a larger size. Use wooden tongue depressors or paint stirring sticks if you're using 10-inch pots. Cut the hands from felt and glue them onto the ends of the arms. Some paint stirrers have a rounded end that can be painted for the hands, or use a sharp knife and sandpaper to round it.
Adhesives, Paints and Varnishes
Hot glue will hold the pots in permanent positions. If you use them at Christmas and need to take them apart for storage, use Velcro dots instead of glue. Regular white glue will also work. Use liquid acrylic craft paints with regular artists brushes or spray paints. Cover areas with masking tape to ensure straight lines. Lacquer or varnish can be used if you follow the manufacturer's directions on the product.
Sections of a paper towel tube can be used to make a drum for larger soldiers. Use felt to make bow ties and scarves. The buttons on the soldier’s uniform can be painted on or you can glue simple buttons down the front. Decorate the drum and the soldier with gold and black cord or pipe cleaners. Yarn can also be used. Paint on the facial features or create them using felt cutouts. Use black felt to make a belt. Add a gold buckle with craft paint.
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