DIY nutcracker: Inspiration from an artists’ workshop

You can order unpainted nutcrackers. Which is amazing news for anyone who wants to coordinate with their Christmas color palette, fit a personal theme, or create nutcrackers based on their friends or favorite TV characters. So we asked our talented friends, Hallmark Artist Sam L. and Designer Tuesday S., to inspire us. One DIY nutcracker workshop, coming up…

Hallmark artist painting a wooden nutcracker

Hallmark Artist Sam L. paints a wooden nutcracker

Unpainted wooden nutcrackers and painting supplies


  • Large or small unpainted nutcrackers
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes (including fine tips for details)
  • Paint markers
  • Faux fur (for hair)
  • Gems, sequins, glitter, and other sparkly things
  • Fabric trim
  • Craft glue
  • Hot glue gun

Hallmark artist in a DIY nutcracker workshop

Painting a face on a wooden nutcracker

Pro tips for painting a DIY nutcracker

  • Make a plan. What’s your color palette? Is there a theme? Do you want to create something traditional or more modern?
  • Think about props. Nutcrackers have whimsical headgear and a variety of props. What will yours hold? Do you want to transform a sword or drums into something else?
  • Do your research. Dig around on Google and Pinterest to get inspired.

Hallmark artist in a paint your own nutcracker workshop

Hand painted wooden DIY nutcracker

Hallmark artist in a paint your own nutcracker workshop

Hand painted wooden nutcracker waiting for finishing touches

Painting a face on a wooden nutcracker

Adding details to a wooden nutcracker

Sam got her inspiration from Sugar Plum Fairies. From the flower-petal eyelashes to the ombré cuffs, her nutcracker was born to sparkle.

Trimming the mustache on a wooden nutcracker

Making a cape for a wooden nutcracker

There is no such thing as too much when you’re accessorizing a nutcracker.

Adding shiny gold trim to a wooden nutcracker's uniform

Hallmark artist in a paint your own nutcracker workshop

Don’t feel constrained by traditional nutcracker facial features. Sketch some designs out before you start painting to take full advantage of that kind-of-unnerving open-and-shut mouth.

Adding glitter to a unique, non-traditional wooden nutcracker

A finished, hand painted wooden nutcracker

Hallmark artist in a paint your own nutcracker workshop

So. Many. Details. What’s the point of painting a military jacket if you’re not going to embellish the heck out of it?

Hand painted nutcracker with a skeleton design—almost finished!

Hallmark artist in a paint your own nutcracker workshop

Hallmark artist in a paint your own nutcracker workshop

Finished hand painted nutcracker

Finished hand painted nutcracker

Nutcracker hairstyles are an important means of self-expression.

Finished nutcracker—inspired by Sugar Plum Fairies

Finished hand painted nutcracker with felt cape

Finished hand painted nutcracker with plaid uniform

Whether wild-maned or fond of fanciful facial hair, every DIY nutcracker is proud to show off his headgear.

Finished hand painted nutcracker with spectacular crown

Finished hand painted nutcracker with skeleton face and amazing headgear

Want more inspiration? See Em B.’s hand painted nutcrackers in their natural habitat on her decked-out mantel, here.

This turned out to be one of those opportunities to get out ALL the craft supplies, and you have to love those. We hope you’re inspired to paint your own DIY nutcracker. And, of course, share them with us on Facebook or Instagram


Leave a Comment

  1. 10.13.18 | Reply
    Susan wrote:

    Where oh where can one buy unpainted nutcrackers of that size? I would love to know!!

    • 10.22.18 | Reply
      Kelly C. wrote:

      We have links in the supplies list!

      • 12.20.20 | Reply
        Jan wrote:

        Hobby lobby has them!!

  2. 11.14.18 | Reply
    Cassie wrote:

    I do an annual Christmas crafting party and this years theme is Nutcrackers! Thank you so much for this! So many great ideas we can use as inspiration! Where did you get the hair?

    • 11.14.18 | Reply
      Trish B. wrote:

      The hair is just pieces of fake fur, trimmed and twirled to fit. You can find it at any craft store—and has a great selection. Just search “fake fur for crafts.”

    • 1.6.20 | Reply
      Gabby Bills wrote:

      Where can I buy the DIY nutcrackers for a reasonable price?

      • 1.9.20 | Reply
        Kelly C. wrote:

        We have a couple of links to amazon: Large or small unpainted nutcrackers.
        Or try finding them at a craft store during the holiday season!

  3. 1.22.20 | Reply
    Jan wrote:

    Where do I buy the unfinished nutcracker to paint my own?

    • 1.24.20 | Reply
      Trish B. wrote:

      Hi, Jan! Check out the links under supplies…we got ours from Amazon! You might also check local craft stores during the holiday season.

  4. 12.31.20 | Reply
    Janie Harrell wrote:

    Where can I purchase the wooden nutcracker to paint?

    • 1.7.21 | Reply
      Kelly C. wrote:

      Try any craft store, they will have them around the holidays! -Kelly C.