This is my nutcracker on a budget. The approximate size is 6.5 feet tall. Total cost $25 approximately.
Cardboard boxes, (free) glue sticks ($5 bag but I already had it so $0 for this one) acrylic paint ($3), scissors, box cutter, metallic spray paint($4) pvc 1/2 inch tube ($2) plastic rope ($1) leftover ornaments (but if you don't have them you can find them for $2 at your local Dollar general), one green spray paint ($2) blue acrylic bottle ($2) and 2 bottle caps.
Note I also used glue and white acrylic paint that I had. That would add at least $10 more if you do not have it.
I also used markers, brushes and a plywood base I already had as a base.
Step 1: It's All About the Base
I started by rolling the cardboard following the ridged side. Look for it it is found on every cardboard box. I did 6 circles folllowing a a semi oval form for central support. One for the base, knees, waist , chest and head and top of the hat. I wrapped the cardboard around them in sections to set the shape. For the one on the shoulders I measured the trunk, and arms the cutout was double for better support of the arms. The inner circles provide stability to the structure.
After it was shaped I measured the cut outs for the details. I was looking at a soldier nutcracker and a Santa soldier as reference.
After I had the cut outs shapes I just glued them to the form. I did the arms separate and note I cut a section of one of the rolled arm tubes to be able to make the elbow bend.
I did all the large details as the sleeve edges, coat neckline, visor, face, beard and nose out of basic shapes and trial an error cuttings. The nose and the moustache went through many sizes and shapes.
After all the shapes are glued I coated the whole figure in a glue, acrylic and water mix to harden the figure. I used more glue and acrylic paint than water so that the cardboard did not get too wet and give in.
Step 2: Add the Chistmas Colors
The base was the important part. The rest was adding color. I painted the coat red and the pants and the hat green with spray paints. The black and the belt with black spray paint and the details like the beard, face and edges with acrylics and glitter/metallic green paint.
The gold spray paint was used on the plastic rope and the bottle caps. After it dried I glued them together and waited for it to dry.
The eyes and beard details were done with markers.
Step 3: Finish
The overal time approximately took me 6 to 7 hours. Not counting the down time of a week I took after the first assembly. (Depression is a female dog that kills motivation and inspiration)
Anyhow, after all the paint was dry. I coated the whole thing with water and glue to make it more durable and resistant.
After it dried the glue made the red a bit dull so I brushed some more red and sprinkled some glitter.
I am contemplating adding some plastic coating so that it can be waterproof but that will be for later. The can costs $11 but I can use it for other projects.
I hope you like this tutorial and sorry for the lack of separation on steps. I did not save the original pics and these are from Instagram @renelopezart