Animatronic Christmas Book "Elf Yourself"




About: Jack of all trades, master of none. Father, husband, creator.

Every year I like to make a Christmas gift for my wife, while I had a couple ideas in my head I remembered that she loved those "Elf Yourself" emails so much so I though maybe I could make an actual one.

In the end I think it turned out great and she and the kids loved it.

Enjoy and please let me know what you think.

Watch the video here

Step 1: Find a Good Platform

I found this little Christmas book at a local used book shop. I know its a shame to destroy it, however I feel I am breathing new life into it. This was the smallest book i could find to hold all the components and not to be to bulky.

Step 2: Glue the Sides

Mix half PVA glue and water and brush the mixture on the sides of the book. I placed a piece of plastic rap around the top two pages and cover to prevent them from being glued to the rest of the book.

For more information on how this is done, check out another of my Instructables;How to make a Hide-A-Book

Step 3: Dissect a Tacky Christmas Card

I found a animated Christmas card at a local shop for a couple dollars. It came with a switch, speaker, motor and circuit board. Carefully remove the components from the card and place to the side. Double check it still works or if required, solder any broken connections.

I chose this card for two reasons, one it was very animated, and secondly it plays Feliz Navidad (my wife has her PhD in Spanish)

Step 4: Start Cutting

Cut out the required pages to fit the components from the card. I wanted a tight fit for mine, and make sure you have clearance for the elf's, so I removed about a third of the pages before I cut out the space for the components.

Make sure to save some of the pages, as we will be using them later.

Step 5: Make Your Elfs

I found an elf template online and printed them with a couple of photos of the faces of myself and my boys. I then glued them to am old file folder and cut them out.

I carefully glued some thread to the back of the bodies and thread them through the arms and legs and glued the ends again. This was tedious, but turned out great.

Step 6: Clean Up the Book

Next, I took a piece of card stock and measured where the arm of the motor and the switch will be. I cut those out and glued one of the saved pages to it. I then cut the opening for the arm of the motor. I left the page over the switch to conceal it, I think this looks better this way.

Step 7: Attaching the Elf's

Next I took another piece of card stock and cut it to size to fit the 3 elf's on. I covered it with one of the saved pages. I then glued on the elf's making sure to space them properly and to make sure it did not obstruct the movement of the arms and legs. To accomplish this, I added a spacer behind each elf (small pieces of card stock cut and glued together.

Step 8: Thats It.

Attache the elf's to the arm of the motor with some glue and your done. I hope you have enjoyed this Instructable. Please let me know what you think and I hope everyone has enjoyed their Holiday and New Year.



    • Warm and Fuzzy Contest

      Warm and Fuzzy Contest
    • Paper Contest

      Paper Contest
    • Organization Contest

      Organization Contest

    12 Discussions

    St Andy

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Hahahaha. You need to sell these. I am not a fan of the elf yourself emails, but this is a nice twist.

    1 reply
    scooter76St Andy

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Cheers, Will have to think of something similar but "different" for next year.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is great! My girlfriend just had to make one of those videos that included me this year. I like the real life edition. One possible imporvement would be to swap the switch out with a reed switch. Then all you'd need to do is open the book and let the wonderfully tacky Christmas dancing begin!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    The reed switch would be so much better. I was in a rush to get this done, and most of my components are still packed from a recent move across the Atlantic. Thanks for the possitive feedback, and glad to hear folks are still getting elf'd. Have a great new year


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Ha! This got a pretty good laugh out of me.

    My kids love the elf yourself thing so much. It's so dumb, but terribly funny... especially with their grandparents faces!

    Good stuff!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Cheers seamster, I remember a couple years ago, your inbox would just be flooded with the Elf Yourself e-mails. Was nice to bring something back. Maybe I'll make one that screams whaaaaaaaaatzzzz upppp next.... Glad you liked it, and have a Happy New Year