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Giant Nutcracker

Yes, you can make this nutcracker that stands over 6 feet tall! Make it alone or as a team, for yourself, your classroom, your school or your office!  (If you prefer a smaller project, try the small nutcracker.)

This giant nutcracker can be disassembled for easier transport.

To buy a printed version of this book, click here.

PDF file (83 pages)

The 83-page downloadable document includes the list of materials, all the illustrated instructions, dimensions of the various parts, and the patterns.

PDF download: US$ 25.00

(Basic and Pro Member Price: 25 credits)

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When you finish your nutcracker, leave a comment with a picture on the page with our world map of giant nutcrackers and we’ll add your picture to the map!


Make sure you read the construction tips and feel free to contribute your own.

Part 1: Torso, arms and legs

Part 2: Head, nose and eyes

Part 3: Shoes

Part 4: Hat

Part 5: Hands, mouth, mustache and hair

Part 6: Final details and assembly


  • Thank you for the patterns, the pattern to cut the ball for the top of the shoe was not included but I can guess at it, I am painting my nutcracker different than yours, I am grateful for the patterns and thank you for such a great project. I look forward to the rest of the videos.

    • Oops, I forgot to include that pattern! I will update the document today, and since you purchased it, you will get the updated version.
      I’d love to see pictures of your nutcracker when it is done.

  • I liked the pattern a lot. i will get started soon, Is there a type of glue you recommend? There are so many options, i was just wondering if there was a popular brand that works best.

  • I am making a king’s crown and It won’t be close to the eyebrows like your hat is, will this be ok? The crown is a little bigger than the torso.

    • Great idea! Yes, a crown usually sits higher on the head than a bearskin hat would. I wouldn’t make it too big, but that’s a matter of taste and it depends on the size of the head of course.
      I can’t wait to see pictures of your finished nutcracker!

  • can I make the mustache from fake fur, would that work?

    • That’s not a bad idea. I stayed with the traditional look, but fur could work as well. You may have to glue it on a mustache-shaped piece of cardboard to prevent drooping.
      I suggest you wait for this week’s video #5 before you attach the mustache because some of the face details become more difficult to paint once the mustache is in place.

    • Mary, I plan to make a second nutcracker next year. (Lieutenant Ludwig is lonesome, so I’m going to make a king with a crown like you’re making.)
      At any rate, I used the strands from a mop head, soaked in slightly diluted white glue, for the hair. I wish I had used some of the left over strands of mop to make a matching mustache. I am considering doing that with next year’s nutcracker king. It will give a more 3D look.

  • laugh out loud Denise, I told my husband I am making a second one and he just gave me a funny look. I like the idea of a mop head, I was thinking of curling the hair at the ends. I have had so much fun with this project. I will send a picture of the king Joelle if you send me the link after we put him together, there are lady nut crackers too. Thanks for such a fun project and taking the time to put the videos together.

  • Denise sent in a picture of Lt. Ludwig van Carlton.

    My nutcracker is almost complete (He needs a belt), and is standing at attention in my entry way. I just love him.

    And so do we, Denise!

  • Hello! I love your project and will be making one! I will buy the PDF tomorrow if the sixth assembly video will be posted soon? Thank you for this! I am so excited. When will the last video be up?

    • Good timing! The downloadable instructions now contain all the details of part 6 (and many of the other parts), much more than I will be able to show in the video. So don’t wait for the video!

  • sorry but I am having technical problems with my laptop. I can’t download and send pictures at the moment. I will send as soon as I have the problem solved.

  • I tried but it said the file was too big so I tried in contact link and don’t know if you got it.

  • Joelle, Thank you so much for sharing the instructions for creating the Giant Nutcracker. My grandchildren, family and friends will be so impressed.
    Also, on December 9,2015 I purchased the PDF plans for the giant nutcracker, But the instructions for PART 4 ( CREATING THE HAT) of the Nutcraker were (NOT) included in the PDF download.
    Also the PART 5 (HANDS AND DETAILS ), (MATERIAL LIST AND INSTRUCTIONS), we’re not included with the PDF DOWNLOAD. I’am looking forward to hear from you. I can hardly wait to get started. Thank You, Rodney

    • You are right, parts 4 and 5 are still incomplete in the document. You will receive an updated version when they are ready.
      In the meantime, please follow the instructions in the videos for parts 4 and 5. Together with the patterns in the document, you should have all the information you need. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask, either here or by using the contact form.
      I wish you success with your project!

  • I recently received my download of the GIANT NUTCRACKER (Preliminary document) I cannot wait to make my first one.
    Are you planning to put your video tutorials from Youtube on a dvd? I would be the first to purchase one.

    Thank you,

  • hi joelle do you have the nutcracker book version ? i know you have the pdf file of it , but i was hoping to try and buy the book kind regards Marie

  • Thank you Joelle I’m looking forward to purchasing your nutcracker book, as soon as it comes out can you email me many thanks ps just love the way you have constructed the giant nutcracker. Kind regards Marie x

  • Thank you for this wonderful tutorial, I did not have all the materials but I did the best I could with what I had. I finished them today.
    Everything ready to decorate!!!
    Excuse me, my English is not very good.


    • They’re beautiful! And four of them, that’s impressive!
      I added you to the map (I hope I got your location right). You’re the first in South America 🙂

    • Wow! Carolina, they are great. I want to make another with jewels on the hat. Did you use a purchased party crown for the do-dads on your hats? I think I recognize it from princess favors that the little girls were given at my granddaughter’s birthday party.

      Also, how did you make them so glossy? Special paint?

      And one final question. Do you have any pointers for the drum and how it is attached?

      • Denise,
        Yes, the crowns are the ones you mention. The paint is glossy water glaze. The drum will stick it to the body with silicone, just as the position of the arms and the strap of the drum hold it.

        And install them, they look beautiful !!!

  • Yes, they are spectacular! Aren’t you proud!

    Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I’ve never heard of the paint you used, but I shall try and track it down.

  • I’m trying to find out how much I can price my 6 foot nutcracker….would you happen to know any online site that might be able to help. I’ve looked online with no success.

    Thank you.

    • I gave mine to a charity auction and it went for about $400, if I remember correctly. But that may no reflect the market value, that could be less or more.
      If you are not able to find one on Etsy, eBay, HandMadeArtists, etc., that may mean that they are rare, which should be a good thing for you.

  • I decided to try making one.. I named him Rockerfeller and he lives in NJ… Was so much fun making him! : )

  • My daughter’s teacher asked for Nutcrackers for their Christmas concert. I immediately thought about the Nutcracker she made with toilet paper and paper towel rolls a few years ago. I figured I could do an upsized version with cement tubes. Off to Google I went and I’m glad I found your tutorial online for some ideas (like the boots). I loved Mary Hill’s King design, and your Ottawa guard so here are the pair, nearly complete. I’m in Ajax Ontario.

  • He is so cute, great job…I am making one for my daughter I am going to add lights to boots torso and hat. He is gonna be silver white and gold. Wish me luck hope mine comes out as good as yours. But I dont know how long to make the torso, how long did you make yours?


    • My book includes a detailed table with all the dimensions. It contains step-by-step instructions as well as all the patterns and templates. It also describes what to do to make this big nutcracker stable so that it doesn’t tip over.

      • Thank you so much I do need that…wish me luck pictures to follow from San Jose Ca. Dedicated crafter and artist. Teresa

        • Good luck and enjoy the experience! I am looking forward to your pictures!

          • I finally finished my lighted giant nutcracker. A gift for my daughter she loves nutcrackers and has started a collection, all sizes.

          • Very nice nutcracker! I like the colours and the lights! Very original! Thank you for sharing! Your daughter must love that special homemade nutcracker!

          • Thanks so much. Yes she is very thankful I wanted to make him. And she picked the colors. I named him “Charles” Happy New Years crafters.

  • Hola me encantó tu trabajo está hermoso ! Soy Mexicana y me gustaría intentar hacerlo. MiIes de Gracias por compartir está belleza. Saludos ❤

  • Thanks for the tutorial! I’m in love with my nutcrackers and so is everyone who meets them! Merry Christmas from northern Alabama, US.

  • Hi. My daughter is a nutcracker fanatic. I would love to make one for her. Can these be put outside? Would they be weatherproof? We live in the northeast.

    • That would be a fantastic gift!
      If you use exterior paint and you put the nutcracker on a porch, where it is not directly exposed to the elements, it should be fine.

  • How much does it cost to make this nutcracker roughly?

  • Hello there,

    I made the giant nutcracker for my daughter, then I made a small 5″ tall one out of clay and named him Lil Charles. So now she has the large and small identical nutcrackers. Just thought I would share Lil Charles too.

  • I have started making my nutcracker! There are so many brands of paint and it’s stressing me out. Can someone recommend a good exterior paint or acrylic paint and what brand name to use? What brand acrylic varnish should I use? Also, what brand and ‘flesh color’ for the nutcrackers head? Thank you!

  • Joelle,
    I seems to me that I remember a reference you made in one of your art-ideas emails that mentioned you/we would be starting a giant nutcracker soon. Did I missread the reference? Will you be walking your followers through some sort of construction, week by week? Sounded like it, but I can’t find the original reference, so am writing you to find out. I have been planning on making a second nutcracker for a couple of years now, but can’t find the fire to start. I need some encouragement!

    • Hi Denise! Indeed, I am creating a new nutcracker. When it’s done I will create a book again. In the meantime, I will show my progress in the newsletter. Stay tuned!

  • I want to make this but I live in the north where sometimes we get heavy snow and wind. I have a place I can put the nutcracker under my porch in a corner but I want to waterproof it. Is there any suggestions on what I might use to do this? I was thinking of painting the hat black instead of fur but I am not sure about the hair. I really do like the fuzzy hair look but maybe I should just paint the hair.

    • I used outdoor paint for my nutcracker. That should improve weather resistance.
      I think painting the hat black is a good idea. I will publish a new video in a couple of days that shows all kinds of hats, that may give you some ideas as well.
      For the hair, there is a suggestion on page 79 of my book.

  • Hi! Just purchased the book. I have gone everywhere and they do not sell 6” builders tubes, they only sell 12”, 10”, and 8”. I’ve purchased the 12” tube for the torso. Any suggestions on what can I do? Also what do you mean by 14 ply cardboard? Where would I purchase that? Hoping to get all my materials to start ASAP!!

    • Hi, Lydia. I actually have 4” PVC pipe for my legs, as I had started making my nutcracker from another persons’s instructions. There is 2×4 wood down inside each leg that is screwed into the base, and then a piece across the top of the legs that I used to screw the torso to. However, for the legs you could use carpet roll tubes (thick cardboard) that are about 4” wide. Have fun!

    • Thank you for buying my book!
      The 6″ tubes can be hard to find in the U.S. but here is a company who claims they have 6″ Sonotubes in stock: https://conncreteworks.com/
      14-ply cardboard is also called posterboard or mat board. It is rather rigid, and you should be able to find it in art stores. For example: https://www.dickblick.com/products/crescent-14-ply-posterboard/
      I hope this helps!

      • Thank you Vicki and Joelle! I contacted the link for the tubes, unfortunately, they didn’t have them either. I’m going to try Vicki’s idea with the PVC pipes. Hopefully I can do this!!

  • I’m sorry that I’m posting this as I think it’s self explanatory but, I can’t find the patterns. Can someone tell me how to find the patterns she mentions in the first video?

    • The patterns are in the PDF file that you can buy using the “Add to cart” button above the videos. You can also buy the printed book on Amazon; there is a link to that as well a bit higher up.

  • May I ask where can I get the templates for the nutcracker? I would love to make this ! Thank you

    • You can buy the PDF file using the “Add to cart” button above the first video on this page. There is also a link a bit higher up to purchase the printed book on Amazon.

  • Here’s my nutcracker that I made last year for my department Christmas luncheon at work. It was a nutcracker theme. Everyone loved it and it was fun to make!

    • Thank you for sharing the picture of your beautiful nutcracker! I can understand why everyone loved it 🙂 I hope that you can enjoy the company of the big guy at home this year. If you tell me where you live, I can add you to the Nutcracker Map. Stay safe!

      • Hi Joelle!
        I live in San Antonio, TX. Yes, I will be bringing him out this year for the holidays and will either place him in the kitchen or the living room. Stay safe, too!

        P.S. I’m attaching a pic when I was putting him together at our Christmas event at work. It was an exciting day!

        Leticia E.

        • Good morning Leticia 🙂
          Thank you for giving your city; we will add your nutcracker on the map 🙂 Thank you also for sharing this new picture. I love the snowflake and the red feathers on the hat. All those added details is what makes each nutcracker unique. I will probably create another video with pictures of nutcrackers from around the world next year and your pictures will be added. I am delighted each time I receive a picture of a new nutcracker 🙂 I am busy myself working on two new ones. Have a great weekend!

  • Hi Joelle!
    Thank you! Please keep us informed when you post your video of the nutcrackers around the world!. Can’t wait to see your two new nutcrackers!
    Have a safe and a great weekend, too! Take. Care!

  • Hi Joelle,
    I write from Italy! I think that your nutcracker it’s fantastic and your idea is incredible.
    This year I want to try to do a giant nutcracker for my mother (she loves this kind of decorations and she wanted a nutcracker since she was young). I don’t know if you can give me this kind of information but i have no idea where i can find the cartboard (cylinder) for the torso.
    Thank you so much, sorry for my terrible english 🙂

    • In North America, we have builder supplies stores that sell these big tubes (See here). They are used to make concrete pillars (as in this video). I don’t know if something similar exists in Italy. What I do know is that people in all parts of the world, including France and Croatia for example, have been able to build this nutcracker (see our map). I hope you can find a similar product in Italy, or that one of our other members reads this and offers a suggestion.

      P.S. Il tuo inglese è molto meglio del mio italiano!

  • I’ve been wanting to make one of these for a few years but never had the opportunity. This is the year!
    As I read through all of these comments (which have show some terrific artistic ability which I am severely lacking), there were several mentions of patterns. Where do I find the patterns they talk about?
    You have a wonderful teaching manner. Thank you for this.

    • Thank you. I am glad you like the videos and I encourage you to make your nutcracker!
      At the top of this page you will find instructions for buying my book in PDF or printed format. It has more than 80 pages of illustrated instructions and patterns to help you build your nutcracker.
      When you’re done, send me a picture!

  • Joelle, bought your book, which helped tremendously for the patterns and scale. It easily paid for itself. Used a beach ball as the base for the head, carved the feet and hands from 4×4 wood, and made the hat from corrugated cardboard. They turned out great.

    Shawn in Georgia

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