How to Make Your Elf on the Shelf Grab and Flex (Step-by-Step Tutorial)

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I can’t believe I got one of these silly little Elfs. I’m nearing ancient, don’t have little ones at home, and none of my grandkids live nearby. So what the hell? Tawsha had one last year and I just didn’t quite get the gist of what it was or why anyone would spend the time screwing with one. I don’t know what happened, but as soon as I got mine (I got a girl), I instantly felt the need to dress her. I suppose some people find them cute, but I’ve never been a doll-player, and the red felt and pointy hat seriously kind of creeped me out. She just stares at you all the time with her hands in her lap. Why have something if you can’t do anything with it? I have this annoying trait when I get something  that I have to customize it. I’ve never been able to leave well enough alone. Poor ‘ol Cinnamon never saw it coming. She just sat there…staring with that stupid smile and those ridiculous rosy cheeks while I gathered my supplies.

How To Make Your Elf on the Shelf Grab and Flex - Step-by-Step Tutorial | organizedCHAOSonline

“Cinnamon” Prepped For Surgery

First of all, let me tell you that I majorly screwed up. I did a quick Google search to find out how to jack this clown looking red doll up to be usable, and chose the first tutorial that popped up. It told me to use 14 gauge wire to insert in the arms and legs of my Elf (“Cinnamon”) to make her flexible. I couldn’t find any 14 gauge wire at Wal-Mart and checked at a couple other stores (God forbid I actually ask anyone for assistance), so off I went to Home Depot. In my mind, since wire is wire, and keeping cost in mind, I grabbed a spool of 14 gauge “general purpose” wire, took it home, located some wire cutters and proceeded to basically mangle my Elf/doll. That shit was like iron and turned my hands black. But instead of giving up, oh no, I just kept cutting and shoving, knowing the whole time it wasn’t going to work. I would have needed a crowbar to get a bend in those suckers. So I ended up with a Cinnamon who moved like The Terminator. Since I had to manhandle her almost to the point of strapping her to the table with my foot on her chest while I shoved and prodded, not only my hands were black, but her poor little white Elf/doll mitten/hands were a filthy mess too.

Nothing pisses me off more than bloggers who put out tutorials that tell you what they’ve accomplished is quick and easy, then end it with a picture of some perfectly done project when you KNOW they left out a few hours of trial and error and usually one crucial step because there’s no way in HELL your project turned out looking like dog shit when you followed their steps exactly. All fired up, I was about ready to track this bitch down who wrecked my Elf with a crappy tutorial, when I re-read it and saw that she had given a specific brand name of the wire and where to get it. Oh…oops. Sorry lady, great tutorial. My bad. God I hate it when I screw up and can’t even blame anybody.

Anyway, long story short, I ended up using 14 gauge electrical wire (Hey, I was married to an electrician for a few years so I went to my comfort zone). I got mine at Ace Hardware. They’re on rolls and are sold by the yard or foot or whatever. They’re color-coated coded by gauge. Just FYI, the higher the gauge, the more flexible the wire. If you use electrical wire, you’ll have to strip the coating to get to the copper wire inside, which isn’t a big deal – you just need some wire strippers. I’m sure you can just buy copper wire, but by this time I was so done with this whole ordeal the first time, I didn’t mind stripping. So just get whatever copper 14 gauge wire works. (But DON’T use general purpose wire that’s silver. The guy at Ace told me it was used for fencing and was “really sturdy”). Yeah, no shit!

Make Your Elf Bend & Grip

How To Make Your Elf on the Shelf Grab and Flex - Step-by-Step Tutorial | organizedCHAOSonline

Supplies Needed to Get Your Elf Wired and Sticky


  • Wire cutters/strippers (Hardware store)
  • Needle nose pliers (Hardware store) – Ooops, sorry I didn’t include them in the picture above
  • Seam ripper – (Any store that has a sewing section)
  • White cotton thread – (Sewing section)
  • Red cotton thread – (Sewing section)
  • Hand sewing needle – (Sewing section)
  • Glue gun and glue sticks – (Craft store)
  • Velcro – I used Mini stick-on rounds (Craft store or Sewing section)

For the detailed photo tutorial, instructions and templates to create this Elf theme, just click the download below.


'Surgery Elf '- Make Bendable & Grippable

Good luck, and let me know if you have any problems. I’d be happy to help. We are publishing our first ten download ideas on Wednesday. Be watching for it. In the meantime, be sure to join the Elf Ideas Facebook page on organizedCHAOSonline. It’s free, it’s all Elf, and you may meet your next new best friend. Join HERE.

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One Comment

  1. “Cinnamon prepped for surgery” – I laughed so hard.

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