Son of a Nutcracker! This impressive 7ft Christmas decoration didn’t cost a penny to make

Savvy crafter makes her giant toy soldier for free using recycled old Pot Noodle pots and odd scraps...

Nutcracker soldiers are the stars of Christmas decorating. None more so than this giant 7ft-tall Nutcracker decoration, handmade using an old Pot Noodle pot and cardboard tubes!

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The spectacular figurine was made by Mandy Mowbray, a part-time cleaner from Bishop's Waltham. And amazingly, it didn't cost her a penny to make. Because the handsome character is made from free cardboard tubes, leftover paint and some craft scraps she already had at home.

nutcracker soldier for christmas decoration

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mandy Mowbray)

'I saw the idea for the Nutcracker Christmas craft on Facebook' Mandy explains to Latest Deals. 'A lady in America had made one and I thought ‘I can do that’.'

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Make your own 7ft Nutcracker decoration

nutcracker making materials

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mandy Mowbray)

'A friend provided all the cardboard tubes for me,' she says. 'She got them from a company she knows that uses them to transport large vinyl signs. They were happy to give some away.'

Once Mandy had secured the tubes needed for the body, arms and legs, she began building the character.

Mandy begins, 'I drilled holes in the cardboard tubes for the arms and secured them in place with metal bolts and butterfly nuts. This means it’ll be easy to take him apart after Christmas and put him into storage' she explains, thinking ahead. 'I then glued baubles onto the end of each arm for the hands.'

Adding the arms

nutcracker making material for christmas decoration

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mandy Mowbray)

She brilliantly cut an empty Pot Noodle pot in half to make the feet, gluing them to the ends of the legs. Next, she painted the body, arms and legs in traditional colours.

She explains, 'I paint a lot of furniture and love Frenchic paint, so I knew I had the perfect colours for it already'.

Painting his face freehand, Mandy artistically used a small wooden Nutcracker as a guide to copy. 'I loved painting his face and decided I wouldn't give him the bared teeth that you often see on Nutcrackers.'

Painting the face

nutcracker soldier in red dress

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mandy Mowbray)

'Attaching the legs was the hardest part, and it took a few attempts,' she says. 'I ended up securing a section of wood up inside the body with little blocks that fit into the tubes. Then, with the help of my husband, we slotted the body onto the legs.'

'My husband also made a secure wooden base and a pole that is hidden at the back, so that there’s no chance of him toppling over.'

handmade nutcracker soldier

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mandy Mowbray)

All that was left to do was add the finishing touches. Mandy made his nose from a wood off-cut painted.  Adding a golden chain and a big red feather to top off his hat. The white fur for his hair and beard was recycled from an old Christmas stocking, found in her loft.

'I used some braid for his tunic and added some old military buttons,' she adds.

'Making the Nutcracker didn't cost me a thing, as I used materials I was given for free or already had at home,' Mandy exclaims. 'I love crafts, so have an extensive collection of buttons, trim and feathers.'

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The end result is a Christmas spectacular to behold, one that has amassed lots of festive cheer. Attracting a staggering 4.8k reactions and almost 1,000 comments on Facebook – in counting.


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.