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Homemade Christmas Ornaments: Nut Critters

Submitted by Cindy Beck

Nut critter ornaments 1

"Nuts About Christmas"

Nut Critters: Beaver, Panda, Penguin

Anyone who is "nuts" about Christmas will love these ornaments! And whether Santa leaves mixed nuts in your stocking or you have them in a bowl for a festive look, don't throw them out if no one wants to go to the trouble to shell them. Recycle a few of them into the nuttiest ornaments you've ever seen! (Mine have lasted for many years, and bring a smile to the face of all who see them.)


1 walnut (for body) and 1 hazelnut or filbert (for head), in the shell, per critter.*

Enamel or acrylic paint, and small paintbrush. PANDA: red, black and white paint. BEAVER: red, black, white, yellow paint. PENGUIN: red, black, and white paint.

Small pom-poms. 4 black for the panda, 2 brown for the beaver. The size of the pom-poms is determined by what you feel looks good on your critters.

Assorted bits of trim—felt, knit fabric, old shoe leather (for tail on beaver), cinnamon stick (for Yule log on beaver), popsicle sticks (skis on penguin), beads, baubles, plastic berries or whatever you'd like.

Gold thread or cord for hanging on Christmas tree. Critters can also be set on a table or mantle among tiny artificial trees, fake snow, or any other scene you'd like.


Paint walnut body and hazelnut head to match photo of the critter you choose to create. Let dry. (Note that the beaver's head and body is the natural shell color and doesn't require painting.)

Paint details such as mouth, nose, eyes, whiskers, or teeth on face. Paint a heart on the tummy. Let dry.

If you want your critter skiing, cut 2 popsicle sticks approximately 2 inches long. Paint your color of choice. Let dry.

Hot glue head to body. Let glue cool and harden.

Glue pom-poms onto body and head for arms and ears, as needed (panda and beaver).

Glue felt scraps as desired for beak, wings, and feet (penguin), and hat (beaver).

Glue knit fabric scraps for scarves, hats, a turtleneck, or any other clothing, and glue leather scrap as needed for a tail (beaver).

Glue any miscellaneous scraps, berries, and baubles as you wish, including the cinnamon stick Yule log (beaver).

Glue skis to body, at feet, if desired (penguin).

Cut a length of gold thread for a hanger. Tie ends together in a knot. Hot glue the knot to the back of the critter's head, or to the back of his hat.

Enjoy your nutty critters year after year. They also make great ornaments to tie onto special Christmas gifts!

*You can also use other nuts, if you feel the nut's shape fits the animal you have in mind. When using a walnut and hazelnut, your critter will stand approximately 2.5 inches tall (give or take a little, depending on whether you give him a big hat!

Nut critter ornaments 2

Nut critter ornaments 3

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Copyright © 2008 by Cindy Beck. All rights reserved.

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