Posted by: Fern | December 2, 2007

Tutorial Tuesday: Xmas Buddies Tutorial


Part of the standard Christmas decorations in my Mum’s house when I was young was toilet tubes, not any old toilet tubes, but hers were crocheted around and became a santa with a little matching crochet hat that popped off to reveal sweets hidden inside. I can barely remember any of the Christmas decorations that we had, but for some reason these little santas stuck in my head, and so I’ve reinterpreted them here 🙂

PICT6822You’ll need:

  • Felt in various colours (for the three of them, red white, red, brown, a fleshy colour and a tiny bit of yellow). To give you an idea of how much, one standard sheet of red craft felt gave me two santas, one scarf and three hats.
  • Googly eyes
  • Pompoms – 15mm turned out to be the best size IMO
  • Toilet tubes
  • PVA glue (AKA Old Faithful)
  • Needle and red thread

PICT6819I highly recommend making a paper pattern and doing a dry run with some sticky tape. Your little guy won’t look that great, but it will mean you’ll be able to perfect any measurements – apparently not all toilet tubes are made equal.

In the flesh, you will need a rectangle, for me this was 10cm by 13cm.
In the red, another rectangle, 10cm by 13.5cm with a section cut out of it about one third down. One semi-circle from with an original diameter of 11cm (so it’ll be 11cm vertically, 5.5 horizontally).
In the white, one thin strip,1cm by 15cm and a beardy shape 🙂
and if you want to test them out, but it’s not essential, a black strip 1cm by 15cm and a yellow square.

I found that colouring the paper as I was cutting it really did help visualise it better. It also means that the sticky tape comes off really easily from the wax crayon.

PICT6824Cut out your red semi-circle. Fold it onto itself to make a cone that closes at the top – there will be about one cm overlap on the bottom, run some stitches up the gap, it doesn’t have to be perfect, the back of these isn’t the pretty part. I tried sticking this with PVA glue in the development process and it just won’t hold, but I promise this is all the sewing you’ll have to do!. Finish about 5mm from the end and snip off the tip with scissors, place your white pompom on the top with some glue and run a stitch through it. I also like to put a blob of glue on the inside of the cone tip just to make sure that the pompom isn’t going anywhere.



Run some glue around the bottom and stick your white strip on. It may be lose on the tube, but that’s okay, the felt adds bulk so it should be a good fit by the time you’re done. Use the same hat for all three designs.

PICT6827PICT6828 Glue your flesh colour to the tube, you may need to trim the edges and the join to make it neat. Don’t have it overlapping at the join, just lay it flush and budge it up to start of the piece. Oooh, edgy MySpace angles.

PICT6829PICT6830 Cut the red, this picture gives a better idea of the shape needed. Don’t worry about making it too perfect as all the edges will be covered by the beard.

PICT6831PICT6833Cut and glue the beard. Make sure you get the edges as the curve round the tube. Felt to felt can be a little tricky, but lots and lots of glue is the trick!

PICT6834PICT6835 Add a nose and the googley eyes. Yay! Santa is starting to look like Santa!… though some what shocked.

I’ve also just discovered my local dollar store as my best source for googley eyes.

PICT6836PICT6839Glue the black strip and a small yellow rectangle to add the buckle detail. Fold another piece of black in half, cut the feet shape, glue it to the bottom of your santa (this is so the sweets don’t fall out!) and then trim the edges until they’re neat.

PICT6846 Yay!! You have a Father Christmas! Once you’ve made him only slight adjustments need to be made to create his buddies. Rudolf is just brown felt with eyes and a pompom nose. If you cut about one third off the pompom then it will lay flat and be a lot easier to attach. The antlers are just more felt sewn onto the outside of the hat. A brown felt circle glued to the bottom takes the place of the shoes.

For Frosty you cut out a strip of felt long enough for his scarf and then snip the edges to add a fringe. Add circles of felt for coal buttons and of course, more googley eyes – I picked up a pack of 60 for $2, so they all need to be used! The nose Dan wants full credit for, but he only deserves it partially. That’s a pompom there, except I cut it down to a cone, smothered it in PVA glue so it kept its shape and then twisted the end even more to shape it. All Dan said was “the felt nose looks lame, use a pompom instead”, and now he’s walking around like he’s Anthea Turner with Tracy Island. Add white felt to the bottom and you’re done.

Taadaa! As always with my tutorials, either tag them with “Not Nigella” on flickr or leave a comment here with a link so I can see how they turned out. If you have any feedback or I’ve completely missed a step let me know, and of course, all copyright belongs to me, please don’t claim this design as your own and please don’t make them to sell.



  1. they are so cute! What a great idea. 🙂

  2. Wow! Bells, you’re very prompt, I only just clicked publish!

  3. […] Step Four Image by The Treacys Part of the tutorial found here […]

  4. […] Step Three Image by The Treacys Part of the tutorial found here […]

  5. […] Step Six Image by The Treacys Part of the tutorial found here […]

  6. thank you for this tutorial! I was looking for a small present to our son’s little friend at the play group, we are having the Christmas party this Friday and I wanted something for the children but quick enough to make 🙂
    the photo is private but you can see what I made here : 🙂

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