The last thing your nutcracker needs is legs and a handle. I stressed over the handle, not quite knowing how to incorporate it easily into the nutcracker, without days of cutting and sanding and measuring and such, and found a somewhat easy way to cheat....
Enter the laser cutter! Using thin sheets of plywood, i cut a handle that followed the contours of the nutcrackers body, and kept the angle of the backside of the mouthpiece.
When 6-10 of these were stacked up, i could stagger them so they followed the roundness of the nutcrackers girth, and glue them all in a stack that fit perfectly! For Jake, I just made a little tail using the same method that could be used as a handle.
Sand the rough edges a bit, and wallah! Handle that glues perfectly to the backside of your nutcrackers mouthpiece.
Your Nutcracker should now kindof look like a nutcracker! All I did after this was glue some legs on the bottoms (same wooden dowels as the arms) and cut out a pedestal base on TechShop's laser (engrave it to if ya like, I did).
For these nutcrackers, I drew out and laser cut wooden eyes and face pieces, but you can paint them on, or whittle, or whatever your fancy is! Once the basic nutcracker shape and mechanism is there, do whatever you feel looks cool. Its fun!
And I made it at TechShop.http://techshop.ws/