Fluffy, Friendly Sheep Christmas Ornament Tutorial

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Are you trying to figure out what to do for teacher gifts by the end of this week, too?  I'm making these little guys:

My older daughter's teacher is Mrs. Shepard, and I couldn't resist.  (Hah hah, I know, I'm SO clever.  Don't worry, she's getting a gingerbread house, too.)  But actually, I've been playing around with an idea for this DIY project since I was 13 or 14.  Back then, the concept involved using a band saw or perhaps persuading my father to get a laser cutter.  The man does love a good tool, but that just wasn't going to happen.  So the idea lingered and tickled at the back of my mind for years, until finally, the right inspiration struck. 

The material that sparked this fluffy little guy's creation after so many decades?  Leftover Styrofoam insulating board from Lowes.  I use this stuff all the time for my parties.  It's inexpensive, lightweight, and LARGE.  Perfect for creating backdrops and large-scale props.  I had some just hanging around in my garage, and when I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for this long-awaited project.

Materials Needed for the Sheep Christmas Ornament

  • Styrofoam sheets (I used 3/4")
  • black and white Fimo or Sculpey clay
  • nubbly yarn
  • hot glue gun
  • sharpie
  • ribbon
  • tiny jingle bell

Start by cutting two small ovals of the Styrofoam insulating sheet.  Mine were about 3"x2", but you could really make them any size you want.

Roll the black plastecine clay into a long snake, and use a sharp knife to cut four equal segments for the legs.

Use the knife to score little hoof marks at the bottom of each leg.  Join the pairs of legs together by smushing the clay at the top of the leg fairly flat.

The head is pretty simple to form.  Start by shaping one oval for the head and two small ovals/teardrops for the ears.  Pat the ear ovals flat.  Press one end of each ear to the top of the sheep's head.

Use a toothpick to make two nostrils, and roll two very tiny balls of white clay and press them into flat disks for the eyes.  Add the pupils with a sharpie rather than trying to do that with clay, too.   Form a little tail, and squish the end flat, just like you did with the legs.  Bake according to the directions on the clay's package.

Use the hot glue gun to glue the flat bits of the legs and tail on one of the Styrofoam disks.  Like the picture above.  EXCEPT I want you to glue it so the shiny, silver side of the foam insulation board is on the inside.  Learned that the hard way.  Flip that sucker over before you glue.  Do as I say, not as I do.  Add a little ribbon or twine loop for hanging, too.

Glue the second Styrofoam oval on top, sandwiching the legs and tail between the two discs.  See?  That's why we squished the ends of the legs and tail earlier.

Cover the foam body by wrapping it with nice fluffy, nubbly yarn.  Nubbly may not be a word.  My spell checker doesn't like it.  But you know what I mean, right?  Glue the yarn down with hot glue as you go.  Use a LOW TEMP hot glue gun, or you will burn your fingers and curse me, and nobody wants that.

Once the body is entirely covered with yarn, glue the head to the body.  Add a ribbon bow and tiny jingle bell for good measure.    Do you think it would be just too cheesy to give this to Mrs. Shepard with the note, "To the best shepherd this flock has ever known!"?

Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido