Prop maker shares step-by-step guide to create Nutcracker decorations

Cracking idea! Prop maker who built two 6ft 5in Nutcrackers from food cartons and cardboard shares a step-by-step guide to help others create the festive figure

  • Julianna Miller posted a picture guide to help others craft Christmas decorations
  • The US-based prop maker and set designer used cardboard, rubbish and paint
  • People left amazed by the finished products and couldn’t wait to make their own

A DIY fan has shown that elaborate Christmas decorations don’t have to be expensive, sharing a step-by-step guide to create incredible giant Nutcrackers.

US-based set designer and prop maker Julianna Miller created two giant festive figures to help introduce the holiday spirit into her home using cardboard, food cartons and a lick of paint.

Julianna’s Nutcracker guide was originally posted on her own Facebook page, Quiet Crafting Corner With Julianna.

Yesterday it was posted on the Christmas The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year page where it was then shared more than 24,000 times and commented on more than 20,000 times.

US-based set designer and prop maker Julianna Miller shared a step-by-step guide to help people create these incredible Nutcracker Christmas decorations

She started her models off with a large cardboard tube, before sticking pipes onto it to act as arms and legs

Old yoghurt and cottage cheese pots were used to give the decorations their feet

The incredible guide photo documents every stage of the creative process to help other people easily re-create the 6ft 5in decoration.

To create the amazing Nutcrackers, Julianna started with a large cardboard tube onto which she attached white pipe to create arms and legs.

To construct the feet, Julianna attached yogurt pots before beginning the painting process.

Initially the entire sculpture was painted white to create a base before black paint was applied to create the boots and tall hat.

A touch of blue paint is also applied to give the Nutcrackers their trousers before pink paint is used to create hands and a face for the decoration.

Julianna began the painting process by adding black boots, blue leggings and a cartoon face with comically large mustaches

Red paint was then applied to give the Nutcrackers their distinctive crimson coats, and gold trimmings were also stuck on

The final touches were applied to the decorations, such as hair and golden hat trimmings

At this stage, additional decorations are stuck onto the models such as noses and gold laces for their boots as well as gold trimmings on their hats.

Cartoon faces were then painted on with comically large mustaches and white hair is glued onto the back of the heads.

Finally a healthy amount of red paint is applied to the torso to give the models their distinctive crimson cloaks, which are also finished off with golden trimmings. 

People on social media were quick to applaud Julianna’s creative genius.

People on social media were quick to heap praise on Julianna’s for her creative Christmas decorations

One person said they were ‘very impressed’ by the end product.

While another said that the models would make perfect ornaments to stand either side of their own front door.

A third person said that Julianna has a lot of talent and praised the models as ‘absolutely amazing’.


1. Construct the shape of your Nutcracker using a large cardboard cylinder and then stick two smaller tubes either side of it to create arms. These can be made from pieces of pipe.

2. Gather two small/medium sized pots to use them as feet. Julianna used old yoghurt and cottage cheese pots for her Nutcracker’s feet.

3. Now you can start painting your Nutcracker and you should begin by painting the entire model white as a base layer.

4. Next, use black paint to paint on a hat and boots, blue paint for the trousers and then pick a colour to paint on hands and a face.

5. When the skin colour has dried, then paint on a face for your Nutcracker and a cartoonish moustache. 

6. Use gold trimmings such as tinsel to decorate your Nutcracker’s hat and boots.

7. Use red paint to give the Nutcracker a crimson jacket, applying multiple coats if necessary.

8. Finish off your giant decoration with additional golden trimmings to bring the jacket to live and use gold paint to give him shoulder pads. 

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