Thursday, December 4, 2014

How to Make an Elf on the Shelf or Scandinavian Nisseman

The holidays are fast approaching and there's still plenty of time to create something fun!  Here's a repost that I originally posted August of last year.  But, it's very Scandinavian and it's very Christmasy.  So, if you haven't seen it before, here's the instructions for making a Scandinavian Nisseman (or Elf on the Shelf!).

Here is what you will need to make one nisseman:

2 pieces of red felt (12" x 10")
1 small piece of blue felt (12" in length)
1 small piece of ivory felt
small amount of ivory or pale yellow yarn
small amount of ribbon
small amount of brown, white and red embroidery thread
small amount of quilt batting
red sewing thread and needle

The first thing you will need to do is to get the pattern.  Please right click on these two images and "save image as" to your computer.  Then you can go back and print the image from where you saved it on your computer. 

Take the pattern and cut out 1 back, 1 front and 1 hat using the red felt.  Cut 1 face using the ivory felt.  Also cut 1 back out of the quilt batting.  I only used half of the thickness of the batting and cut it a little smaller than the body since you don't want the edges of the batting to showing in the seams.

Draw the face pattern on the piece or ivory felt and embroidery the face.  Here's a close up of the face:

After you have embroidered the face, you will need to assemble the Nisseman to sew the seams together.  Place the back piece on a flat surface, place quilt batting on top, place front on top of batting, place face on front of batting, tucking the neck of the face under the front piece, and lastly, place hat on batting and over the forehead of the face.  Pin pieces together.

At this point you can base the pieces together if it's easier for you.  Otherwise, if the pins don't bother you, then you are ready to stitch the Nisseman together using a needle with red sewing thread.

Here's a closeup of how the pieces are placed together prior to sewing the seams.  As you can see, the bottom of the face piece is tucked under the front neck edge.

Here's another picture showing the different layers of the felt, batting, and face.  Stitch around the outside of the piece using the red thread.

Please do not stitch across the neck area or across the bottom of the hat.  We need to attached the braids.  Take the yarn and make a 3 yarn braid.  Take the braid and place it across the top of the face.  Tuck a little bit of the braid on each side of the hat.  Here's a close up of what I mean:

With  your red thread,  start at the lower side of of the face and attach the back of the braid to the body.  Continue to stitch across the top of the hat, making sure you pick up a little bit of the braid in each stitch and finish attaching the braid on the other side of the face.  Lastly, stitch across the neck area.  You may have some red stitches showing on either side of the face on the back side - that's OK.  But, please do not have stitches showing through to the other side when you stitch across the top of the face and neck.

Here's another close up of the face and stitching:

You can tie some colored ribbon on each ends of the braid.  And tie the blue felt scarf around the neck.

And, you now have a lovely little Nisseman to decorate your holiday decor.  If you wish, you can tie a ribbon on top of his hat so that you can hang it from your tree.

I hope you have enjoyed this little tutorial.  And, I hope you have enjoyed visiting Lilly My Cat.  If you like,  please sign up to receive future posts and visit again.

With my best wishes,
Pat :)


  1. Very sweet. I'm trying my hand at a needle felt polar bear at the moment.


  2. so cute!! I love your little nisseman and I am going to have to make at least one for myself. i am sure a pair would be better though :)

  3. How sweet! And now I know what the wee felt dolls sent to us by friends in Norway are called. Thank you for your kind comment on my blog.


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