Make a Christmas Krampus!
Just in time for the Christmas season, Bob Knetzger has instructions to build your own tiny child-nabber.
I wanted to add something different to our holiday decorations this year but I could not find a Krampus anywhere to go along with our St. Nick doll. So I made my own—and you can, too.
(What is Krampus?!? Go here!)
Making this Krampus is pretty easy. The head and body are wooden blocks and the arms and legs are wire. The woolly fur covers everything up so although he looks mean this Krampus is very forgiving. And you’ll get to try a fun crafting technique, needle felting.
Download the plans. You can use them as a same-size pattern for making your parts and for cutting and sewing the cloth pieces.
- Wood (use some scrap 2 x 4)
- ½" wood dowel
- Wire (I used sculptor’s aluminum armature wire, but you could use wire coat hangers)
- Fun fur cloth (use the shaggiest you can find!)
- Red felt
- ½" red quilt binding
- Wool roving ( unspun wool) in colors: red, orange, dark brown, and white
- Doll polyfill stuffing
- Doll eyes
- ½" wood dowel
- Keychain/backpack clips and chain
- Jingle bells
- Miniature basket
- Black paint
- Doll stand
- Sewing machine
- Wood saw
- Drill with bits
- Hole punch
- Barbed felting needle (from crafts or fabric store)
- Hot glue gun
- Pliers/wire cutter
- Needle and thread
Make the armature
Cut the wood for the head and body. Cut or file off the sharp corners.
Drill the holes for the arms, legs, and head as shown. The drill size should make a hole that’s a snug fit for the wire that you’re using. The artists’ aluminum armature wire works well as it’s just the right stiffness for bending and posing.
Cut two pieces of the dowel for the feet. Make the angled cuts to created the cloven hoof shape. Drill a hole to accept your wire in the other end. Paint with black paint.
I used needle felted wool to make the Krampus’ face and horns. Needle felting might be a new technique to you but give it a try. It’s fun and because you s-l-o-w-l-y build up your shape from loose wool a little at a time, you can make adjustments as you go.
Here’s how: the felting needle has tiny barbs along the side. As you repeatedly poke the needle into roving, or loose wool, the barbs catch the strands and snag them together. Each stroke of the needle creates more connections between neighboring strands; eventually all your needle pokes turn the loose fibers into a dense thick mat—it’s felt! By the way, this works only with natural fibers (it will even work with cat and dog hair!)—it will not work with synthetic fibers (they don’t have microscopic “burrs”.)
To make the face, take a wad of loose wool slightly bigger than the face pattern. Place the wool on a foam work pad and begin poking with the needle. Be careful—don't poke your other hand! Between pokes, fold the wool over and gently form it. Slowly approximate the face shape. Add extra wool fibers to build up a thickness for the eyebrows. Add red, orange and dark brown fibers to add the color on top. Needle felt the nose separately: make one tiny hot dog shape for the bridge of his nose and a second one for the nostrils. Give the nostril one a v-shaped bend in it and carefully needle felt it to the bridge an then onto the face. Keep poking with the needle and keep shaping as you go. Add wisps of different colors a little at a time to blend and shape the eye sockets, eyebrows, mouth etc. Make a long snake of felted orange fibers, then bend it into a frowning oval and needle felt it onto the face to make the mouth. Trim the final shape of the face with a sharp sewing scissors.
I used doll eyes, the kind that have a long shank on the back and a clip ring that attaches permanently. Use a punch the same diameter as the shanks to make two holes in the face for the eyes to go. Insert the eyes and slide the rings on tightly. Cut or grind off the excess shank so the face will sit flat on the wooden head block.
Cut a tongue out of red felt. With felting needle, make a single row of punches between the lips for tongue crease. Tuck the tongue into the mouth and attach with needle pokes.
Top, bottom and head cloth pieces
Print out the patterns and pin to cloth. Cut and sew as shown:
Put the fur covering over the head. Find the holes and poke the horn wires through the fur. I cut away some of the fur and cut a slit over the brows so I could pull the fur covering over the brow. Add stuffing in the sides, top and back of the head to make a rounded, full head shape. Hot glue the face to the front of the head.
Poke the feet through the openings in the body. Add stuffing to plump up the legs. The fur I used was so shaggy I used a sharp scissors to carefully trim and shape the fur all around. This helped create the pantaloon shape. Turn the leg opening back under like knickers; use a needle and thread to gather and sew up the leg openings.
Place the arm and chest section over the body. Thread the wires through for the arms. Check the length of the arm wires and trim if necessary. Cut out four red felt hands in a simple mitten shape. Hot glue two pieces together with the end of the wire between them; repeat for other hand. Bend the wire to make a curved grip. Add polyfill stuffing in the arms, back and front as needed. Use needle and thread to sew up the arm openings. You can tack the arms to the felt hands if needed.
Poke neck wire through the top to attach the head. Give your Krampus an interesting pose by bending arm and leg wires.
Give your Krampus a red quilt binding belt or use a strip of red felt. Tie or hot glue it to his waist.
I added a handcuff and chain by using a small key chain with rings; bend some handcuffs from wire. I also added jingle bells for a Christmasy touch.
I used a miniature basket (craft store). Soak the flat bottom to make it pliable, then bend into a rounded bottom shape. I attached it to the Krampus by making shoulder straps from a single strip of binding. Weave it through the basket, around the Krampus’ arms and tie together in the back.
I found a tiny doll (tree ornament) to adapt for the scared kid. To make the proper expression (terrified), needle felt a face and poof of hair and sew on two beads for eyes; add a couple of stitches or beads for a mouth and eyebrows. Stitching the arms up to head gives a great frightened pose! You could just make a needle felted head and cut out felt arms for a simpler version.
Give your Krampus a switch for punishing Naughty List kids: gather a few twigs and tie in a bundle with string. Bend the Krampus’s hand to hold it aloft.
Perhaps you needed to be reminded that sweet and good things exist in this world.
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