Sweet Tooth

Elf on the shelf, with multiple elves, sitting in a small tin pail holding on tight to colorful candy canes and preventing the children from eating the candy.
Elf on the Shelf candy cane prank.

We found the elves in a tree with candy canes this morning.  By the afternoon, in what we think was a joke, they had stripped the canes from the tree and were holding on tight to prevent the boys from eating them.  I was the only one who thought that was funny.

Shall We Play a Game?

Elf on the shelf  with multiple elves sitting on board games.  Some old taped boxes of games like Clue and Life, Other new shiny boxes like Sorry Sliders and Twister Hoopla.
Shall We Play a Game?

The elves are having fun in the playroom, today we found them contemplating which game they might like to play.  A classic such as Clue, Life, or Monopoly.  Perhaps a new twist on an old favorite like Twister Hoopla or Sorry Sliders?

Elf on the Shelf Lost in Legos

Elf on the Shelf lost in LegosThe boys looked and looked, and looked some more.  They could not find the elves anywhere!  Ironically, the youngest gave up and started homework and as a reward he ended up spotting them first since they were near the homework table tucked away with the red Legos.  On a side note, I love that I could use Photoshop to make the originally cloudy wall of the bin more transparent by increasing the contrast.

Elf on the Shelf Hack

Elf on the Shelf Hack


Elf on the Shelf is terrific as is.  But if your elf desires more freedom with posing when they can no longer be animated, then an elf mod might be needed.  An elf hack, mod, modification, cheat, they all work to describe adding some structure and holding power to an otherwise limited elf.

This is our third year with elves and they decided they needed a little something extra.  They were able to do a lot as they were, some really incredible things.  But they are capable of so much more now.

An elf with basic sewing skills, even no sewing skills but the courage to try, can handle these modifications.  A few simple stitches to close any openings is the extent of the sewing.

Before starting, your elf needs to decide the extent of the modification.  Adding wire only, magnets only, combination.  If adding magnets will they be added to hands and feet?  Our elves decided on hands only, and a single magnet in one leg.  The reason being that too much magnetism can be a bigger problem than none at all.

Materials Needed

  • 1/4″ neodymium magnets (Michaels carries these)
  • wire, 20 gauge or thicker.
  • wire cutters
  • thread to repair openings
  • needle
  • something to open seams, seam ripper is ideal but there are many options
  • scissors for trimming threads

Elf on the Shelf Hack Mod

WARNING these are super strong magnets, the package states they are not toys.  Do not use them in modifications where children or pets could potentially chew the elf and ingest a magnet.

Prepare the Wire 

If bendable arms and legs are part of your modification now is the time to measure the length needed.  Our elves used 20 gauge wire, they decided to double it at the last minute because it seemed a little light.  Determine if a single or double length of wire is needed and cut it slightly longer so that the sharp ends can be curled over to prevent damage.  The photo illustrates what needs to be done for each arm and leg that will be modified.  For limbs where magnets will be added plan to leave space for the magnet without any wire, they will not all fit into the tiny feet and hands.elf on the shelf wire hack modification

Inserting Wire

Now it is time to create openings for the wire to be inserted through.  Decide if the wire will be inserted from the hand/foot end or the end nearest the body.  Our elves inserted the arm wire from the hand since they wanted magnets in their hands.  They inserted the leg wires nearer to the body since no magnets were added to the feet and openings nearer to the body are easier to mend.Elf on the Shelf hack, leg wire

Above you see wire being inserted into the leg from an opening near the body.  Note the cardboard tube.  Ideally, try to insert the wire into the tube for arms and legs.  Below you see the wire has been inserted and the leg is ready to be stitched up.  Be sure the sharp ends are curved over to prevent damage.Wire inserted in elf on the shelf leg hack

Wire and Magnets for Arms 

Adding wire to the arms is exactly as it is for the legs.  Again choose where the opening will be.  Our elves chose hand openings since they wanted magnets.  Just as with the legs, try to insert the wire into the cardboard tube in the arms.  A magnet and wire will not fit into the hand together so cut the wire accordingly.  elf on the shelf hack magnetThe magnets will just fit into the hands.  A needle can help manipulate the fabric to conceal the magnet.  Before stitching the second hand closed, be sure to check the orientation of the magnets so that the hands will close as desired.  Our elves wanted hand over hand rather than hands facing together.  Below is the final check before stitching closed.Elf on the shelf hack, check magnets before closing.Elf on the Shelf hack stitched up

Stitch Openings Closed

All stitched up and ready to play.  This hack took about 25 minutes to complete for one elf. Look below to see what our hacked elves can do now!Elf on the Shelf Secret Agent ElfAmazing Elf on the ShelfElf on the Shelf Links