DIY Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Elf season 2018 is upon us bringing joy or anguish to Moms across America. Our elf, Tim Tom, has been showing up at Thanksgiving- Christmas ever since 2009.

My kids are older now so the pressure of nightly movement is over. He’s still going to show up every Thanksgiving and may pull a prank or 2 over the holiday when the mood strikes.

Elfing can be fun… or a whole lot of pressure depending on your kids ages and expectations. It can be difficult to come up with ideas at times and then there’s the late night panic if you forgot or the assigned person forgets. I am rounding up pictures from past adventures for you to use if you need a little inspo!


Crafted a fishing rod from a straw and some string knotted through it and a few good ol goldfish crackers.

Another year of Elf fishing- we had a little toy with rods and magnetic fish. ALWAYS use your resources to keep your life simple!


A quick and easy task for a night you forgot and woke up at 3 am realizing the dang Elf hasn’t moved. Grab your bag of bows and sticker like it’s your job. Go back to bed.


You can use toilet paper or crepe paper and then just go crazy with it. Our son is a December 22nd baby so the elf wrapped it in “happy birthday” streamers one year.


This takes a box of candy canes and a hot glue gun. Elf made a cute little sled for himself…however the candy canes are not to be eaten once glued so grab a spare box for your sanity.


We have 3 teens (well, one is no longer a teen) and this is what you get when they help out. Actually I’m kidding- I think it’s an adorable throw back to Charlie Brown. Materials needed are yellow construction paper, popsicle sticks, hot glue and some votive tea lights. Maybe a glass of wine. For you – not the teen of course!!!


This is my boys favorite…making Elf re-enact stunts worthy of Jason Borne or Tom Cruise!!!! This is simple- climb up somewhere high and use string to create a zipline then tape or pin his little hands together. He won’t feel it I promise.

{A word of caution for boy moms- once you start this an elf who just sits on a shelf is no longer acceptable. }


Easy albeit a bit creepy looking back. We had the cute little raincoat and boot outfit so he was once found suspended in the shower with a huge umbrella making sure everyone is making good choices in the bathroom!?? Why!?? I don’t even know ….technically he got dressed and he moved so it works.


So stinkin’ easy. Great one for a night when you are just plain tired. All you need is 3 rolls of toilet paper and a sharpie. Bam.


Do you want to build a snowman AGAIN?

This time Elf made an adorable snowman with powdered donuts, cloves for eyes, toothpicks for arms and a tiny hat. Obviously this took forethought to secure the grocery items. It was made morning of for freshness but unfortunately Greta the Great Dane ate it before anyone saw it. Like I was literally stepping back to take a picture and she pounced!!!

{A word of caution for those of you with big dogs- the Elf needs to keep his snowman on top of the fridge😜.}


Packing peanuts and a hot glue gun are all you need to create a little igloo. Think of it as a great recycling project and Lord knows the boxes are rolling up to the front door on a daily basis. Glue a flat base together then start building up the 3 sides. This is one of my all time favorites. Toss in a tea light and he’s cozy by the fire. We saved his igloo and it came back year after year.

*Credits to my creative daughter and Pinterest inspo.


Dump some powdered sugar or flour on the counter for a an elf angel. Yes it’s a mess but the kids like it and it’s really not hard. To clean off the excess I placed him in a lingerie bag and he took a ride in the dryer the next day when no one was looking πŸ˜‚


Just hanging out in a bowl of marshmallows “bathing”. Got mini marshmallows? Dump and run. You are done.


Elf was captured by the enemy overnight. Tied up in some rope (jute) by army men who have him surrounded. He won’t move for a whole day or week if you need to allow time for hostage negotiations.πŸ˜‚


This is just a dinner plate covered with foil and tinsel border. If you have the little ice skate set this is pretty easy and cute. Even if you don’t just create a rink and use a coin to doodle blade marks on the ice.


Who got into the Nutella/peanut butter/frosting? Not the elf of course but the proof is on his cute little pucker! Grab a jar, smear a little on his face and you are outta there.


Tim Tom brought home his date from the night before one morning. He showed up with Barbie-the girl from across the street in his Hess car. Cute couple, right? We had zero Barbies in our home so this was highly entertaining.


We have shadow boxes and one morning he was smooshed in there watching everyone. Putting him in a really unexpected place means they have to look hard to find their little friend. Raise the challenge.


This is popular if there actually wasn’t any candy the night before. My elf was extra popular on days he brought home gifts like mints, chocolates, holiday socks etc This wasn’t an every day occurrence but it’s fun to give him credit for everything from the treats to new underwear if it’s December!


One morning Tim Tom drew on all of the family portraits. A lightning fast idea- just add glasses, mustaches etc and disappear leaving the evidence with the little fellow. *Dry erase is easily removed from glass and won’t damage anything.

He debuted this year by wrapping the toilet and putting bows all over it. Why? Who knows!??? Maybe just because it’s something he’s never done before. Finding new ideas is hard!

We picked up this book at Target a few years back. It has ideas and tools- helpful for a few more nights without having to dream up ideas. Something to consider if you need supplemental material.

Happy Elfing around ~


Laurel Dane Designs, LLC

DIY Blogger, Personal Organizer and Designer

%d bloggers like this: