The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Christmas Craft - Toy Soldiers

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1989

Issue: December, 1989

Toy soldiers, front and side view.Toy soldiers, front and side view.The child in all of us enjoys brightly colored red and blue toy soldiers. This year, make some to use as decorations for your tree. Even small children can help by gluing the red ball on top of the head. Older children could help by painting the large areas such as the pants.

I have given you an illustration to go by in painting the peg clothes pin soldiers. Use this design or be creative and make some of your own. Peg clothes pins could be any kind of characters you wish - angels, ballerinas and Santa Claus, just to name a few. Foil or thin Styrofoam wings could be glued to the angel. A gathered net skirt could be glued around the ballerina's waist and perhaps sprinkled with glitter. And, of course, Santa could have a cotton beard and maybe a tiny sack slung over his shoulder. As an alternative, you might like to paint the pegs to look like the traditional Christmas Nutcracker soldier.

The most important part of all is the enjoyment of making and seeing them on your tree. They also make a great package decoration. These could become the handmade heirloom ornaments your children or grandchildren will treasure many years from now.


Supplies needed:

One pack or more peg type wooden clothes pins.

Yard or more of red ball fringe.

Acrylic paints in blue, red, white and black.

A small bottle of gold model paint.

Small paint brushes.

First, paint "pants" section bright blue (depending on the color of blue paint you bought, you might want to mix a little white paint in the blue to get the color you want).

When blue paint is dry, paint the "shirt" section red. When red is dry, mix a little red with white paint to make a flesh pink. Paint face and hand areas. When flesh areas are dry, paint black on hair and boot areas.

When black paint is dry, paint facial features using black paint for eyes and nose and red for mouth. With a fine tipped brush, paint gold braid and buttons on soldier and a gold chin strap for his hat.

The last step is to glue the red ball to the flat top of peg for hat. It is unnecessary to attach a hanging wire to soldiers as they can be pushed down on tops of branches, thus marching around your tree. Acrylic paint dries in a matter of minutes and you can paint many soldiers at once in assembly line fashion, placing the pegs around the sides of a shoe box to dry while you are painting others.