There's no denying that Elf on the Shelf is a genius idea. Not only does the little guy encourage kids to be on their best behavior during the holiday season, he also sparks creativity in the minds of parents who delight in researching hilarious ways to amaze their kids with funny, naughty and surprising placements of the Elf on the Shelf.
But when my family met our elf — lovingly referred to as Sparkle — I have to admit I was a tad disappointed with his inability to hold a pose. How the heck was I supposed to teach Sparkle to play the guitar or have him zip line through the living room if his little arms and legs were only made of cloth?
Elf on the Shelf's only flaw is that it is not bendable, and Sparkle had to undergo some major surgery soon after we acquired him. There isn't any wire in the elf's arms or legs, but you can work around this to get your own elf to hold a pose better than a master yogi.
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!
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Using your sewing needle and white thread, begin stitching up the Elf's hand. Trim the threads.
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!
Originally published November 2015. Updated November 2016.