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Colorful Nutcracker Drawing

A simple folded paper technique aids in the effortless drawing of a festive holiday Nutcracker. Just about any aged child can accomplish this simple drawing. Depending on the interest and skill level, children can select from a variety of media to finish their colorful nutcracker.

If nutcrackers don’t frighten your kids (I personally find them rather scary), pull out some real Nutcrackers and display them on the student’s tables. This is the BEST part of this project: encouraging the child to create a personality for their nutcracker.

Here’s a short video demonstrating the drawing steps:

If you want to watch Patty’s Facebook live on the different ways to color your Colorful Nutcracker, watch HERE.

Drawing the Nutcracker:

Download the drawing guide (the button is below) and point out that the initial drawing is based on dividing the nutcracker into sections.

Fold an 18″ x 6″ white paper in half and then in half again to achieve 3 fold lines.

With a black marker, draw a square along the first fold and in the top section of the folded paper. I found that drawing the two side lines first, then the top of the head and finally, the bottom of the face is easiest. Leave room for a crown.

Decide what style of headpiece your nutcracker will wear. Draw the basic shape.

Next, right below the head, draw a large rectangle for the torso. I like to draw the side torso lines first. Start at the head and go to the middle line. Many kids might think there torso is too thin, but not to worry. Adding the arms will thicken the torso.

Below the waist line, draw the peplum or bottom of the jacket.

For the legs, draw a single straight line in from the jacket to bottom of paper (but not touching the edge). Draw two more lines to each side but don’t draw as far down. Add the feet.

Add the arms, cuffs and hands.

Now add the unique details that will make each nutcracker unique.

How to Draw an Easy Nutcracker

Coloring Options:

Depending on how much time you have and what supplies are most convenient, you can color the nutcracker with just about anything.  Here are my favorites:

Crayon. Well, they’re not exactly my favorite results but I know everyone has crayons. The tricks is to encourage children to color with a heavy hand so the colors go on rich. If you have Construction Paper Crayons, they color with more intensity. If using crayons, be sure to add some newsprint or even a padded tablecloth under the art. It just make stew colors better.  Crayons take more time to color, so there may be some scribbling at the end just to finish.

Markers are my favorite. When a child goes through the trouble of drawing something they really like, they often don’t want to paint over it. Markers (especially broad tip markers) provide rich, intense colors and the opportunity to add patterns is available. Coloring with markers takes some time but the results are worth it.

Cake tempera paints (the dry kind that comes in little cake for pucks) are perfect. Don’t use liquid tempera as the results will be too messy and will cover up the lines. Opaque watercolors can also be used really effectively. This method is super fast and it’s like you’ll finish in half the time.


Download Drawing Guide Below…

What do you think?

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  • Gillian

    teacher off sick today so had 60 kids to keep busy. this project worked a treat. thanks!!!!

  • Michelle Gifford

    I was SO excited to see this yesterday that I broke my own cardinal rule of teaching art: I did not make my own sample first! You made it look SO easy, but it was surprisingly hard for my 2nd graders. Faces that started out too short or thin led to other problems with the drawing, and I had many frustrated students. I never do this, but we started over and tried again. It was still tricky, but most students were happier with their drawings. We used a combo of markers and Faber Castell watercolors with mixed success. This level of frustration with an art project is an unusual experience for me. But, that makes it a great opportunity for me to reflect on my own preparation and teaching process, as well as how I measure the “success” of a lesson. All of my students have a finished Nutcracker that they enjoyed making. I’m trying to focus on that measure of success rather than my own frustrations with the experience.

  • LynnS

    This was so fun! We did this as a snowed-in family art project this morning. My son (8) had a blast customizing his nutcracker, and when I sent a photo to his grandparents, he got a request to make another one as a Christmas gift. 😀 I used gel crayons for mine, which worked really well.