Elf On The Shelf DIY

We met our Elf on the Shelf for the first time this year, only to realize that Sparkle the Elf had a major problem and would soon need to undergo surgery.

Elf hacking - bendable arms

When we first met our elf, Sparkle, my excitement definitely matched that of my kids. I'd been doing my research and pinning away so that I could dazzle and amaze my munchkins with funny, naughty and surprising placements like these super creative ideas.

Elf on the shelf ideas

There was one major problem though: The Elf on the Shelf is not bendable! There isn't any wire in the elf's arms or legs. Of course you can work around this, and to his credit, the Elf actually sits upright really well. But I had some elf-tastic ideas up my sleeve that would require the Elf to actually hold on to its perch.

So here's how we made our Elf on the Shelf bendable. It only requires a bit of hand-stitching, so even the most craft-challenged among you can easily transform your Elf into a bendable figure.

Wire cutters, needles, pliers... seem like too much for you and Elfie to handle? Then check out our simple no-sew option at the end of the article!


Elf hacking supplies

  • Floral wire (approximately 14 gauge)
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Sharp needle
  • Red/white thread
  • Seam ripper

Prepping the Elf for surgery

The Elf's reconstructive surgery is best done during nap time or while your kids are at school because of course, if you touch him in front of the kids he will lose his powers! Give the Elf a pat on the shoulder, assure him he'll pull through just fine and if you haven't already, use the seam ripper to cut the thread holding the Elf's hands together.



Remove stitches - making your Elf on the Shelf bendable

Using the seam ripper, remove three to four stitches from the tip of the Elf's hand. You only need an opening large enough to slip your wire through.


Loop wire - making your Elf on the Shelf bendable

Using the needle nose pliers, bend the top of the wire into a loop. This prevents the wire from poking through the end of the Elf's arm or leg.


Cut the wire to fit - making your Elf on the Shelf bendable

Lay the wire along the Elf's arm to measure how long you need it to be. Cut the wire with the wire cutters, just short of the end of the Elf's hand, and bend this end into a loop as well.


Insert wire - making your Elf on the Shelf bendable

Slip the wire into the opening in the Elf's hand and work it up toward the Elf's shoulder. If it's peeking out of the Elf's hand still, you'll need to recut the wire and make it shorter.


Stitching the elf back up - making your Elf on the Shelf bendable

Using your sewing needle and white thread, begin stitching up the Elf's hand. Trim the threads.


Bendable arms - making your Elf on the Shelf bendable

Repeat this process for the Elf's other arm and legs (use red thread when stitching up the Elf's legs) and voila! Your Elf can now grasp itself to almost any surface by bending his arms and legs.

Want a sew-free surgery option for your Elf on the Shelf? You can attach a small piece of white Velcro to the insides of your Elf's hands using hot glue. The Elf's hands will be able to stick together so that it can hang from things like chandeliers, cabinet knobs, fan pulls... you get the idea!

More holiday articles:

Ideas for your own Elf on the Shelf
Matching Christmas pajamas for the whole family
Wiener dog Santa cookies

Tags: elf on the shelf

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Comments on "Bendable Elf on the Shelf: How to make your Elf posable"

Jodi December 11, 2013 | 7:22 AM

I too was shocked yesterday to learn that the Elf didn't come with bendy wire legs and arms!! I will be doing this today, despite my lack of sewing ability! Thanks

christina December 05, 2013 | 2:52 PM

i was bummed too, and wondered what to do,i googled it and your article came right up!! soo happy, i know i can do it! and best of all, no free time really needed, simple!

Nina December 02, 2013 | 7:24 AM

Thanks so much for this cool idea. We just adopted our first elf this year and I feared that if I cut his hands apart, it would seriously lower the fun things I can do with him. Now that you provided this handy tutorial (and trust me, a seamstress i am not) I can easily make our little Chet bendable for all the fun messes I'm sure he'll get into ;)

Kimberly December 01, 2013 | 1:24 PM

I am going to try to do this to ours. I'm nervous since I"m not a sewer. But I agree with Marlou that they should make him bendable in the first place - especially after a few years they should have figured it out.

Marlou Ordelt October 20, 2013 | 1:27 PM

Why doesn't the ELF come bendable and posable? This would be a real plus on top of the purchase price....Some of us are not needle & thread handy....:)

FogBaron December 20, 2012 | 7:43 AM

Have you considered that maybe you have too much free time on your hands?

Tina December 14, 2012 | 12:13 PM

I love this! Thanks for the idea and tutorial!

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