Turn Vintage Elves Into Shady Shelf Elves

A while back I was at a thrift store when I spotted a pair of plaster shelf elves amongst a pile of Christmas ornaments. I love unusual Christmas decorations, especially vintage ones. So, for a buck, they were mine. Onto my windowsill they went, but I knew I needed to rehab them to bring them to their ultimate potential. The paint was dull and had grown dingy over the years. They looked drab and old sitting on the bright windowsill. One of the elves had a pointy shoe that was broken. I knew they could be so much more with a little elbow grease. After noticing them eyeing me while I decorated the tree, it hit me. It looked as if they were both judging my Christmas decorations. What if I re-painted them and made them true Shady Shelf Elves!

Supplies Needed:

Acrylic paint and fine-tipped paintbrushes

Small piece of sand paper

Wooden craft stick

Drywall spackle

Clear Acrylic Gloss Sealer

Since the elves are made of plaster, re-painting them was the easy part. I simply scuffed them up using a small piece of sand paper to make the paint easier to adhere. Using drywall spackle, I was able to fix the broken elf boot. To help shape the point of the boot, I used a wooden coffee stirrer. After the spackle dried, I carefully sanded it as smooth as I could.

For paint, I used some acrylic paint I had leftover in my craft room. I decided to change up the colors of the elves slightly. It was great to see how much better the elves began to look after a fresh coat of paint was applied. The white trim of the hats and sleeves especially looked much better with fresh paint. I allowed plenty of time for drying between coats. Finally, it was time to make these elves the judgmental elves they were destined to be.

I wanted the elves giving the side-eye to all who pass by them, so I painted the eyes white to get rid of the existing eyes. After that was dried, I painted the pupils in black first. A fine-tip paintbrush makes this much easier to do. Once that was dried, I lined the pupils with some blue paint. I finished by lining the eyes in black to make them pop. To seal the paint, I sprayed clear acrylic gloss over them.

This simple project shows that an inexpensive purchase at a thrift store can turn into a treasured Christmas decoration.  Perhaps my family will think twice before showing up to my house in an ugly Christmas sweater knowing that I have elves sitting on my shelf judging their every fashion choice.   With a little paint and time, you can turn a forgotten Christmas decoration into something fun.

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