Christmas Forest Craft Log Characters

Its nearly Christmas, So we wanted to give our learners in the woods some festive activities to do. A Christmas Forest School craft that would develop some of the skills they’ve learnt over the term and give them a cute ornament or play character to take home as a gift.

The first and super simple idea are the wooden santa’s/ gnomes/wizards/ witches.  

These are brilliant if you have coppiced wood that you can use on your site. We’ve also found that they are achievable within an afternoon Forest School session. The children enjoy having something to take home and play with and being able to choose the character they wish to make. This was one of the crafts I taught on my Forest School Leader Training.

What you’ll need

  • Sticks 3/4cm in diameter and 30cm long
  • Pruning saw
  • Bow saw
  • Whittling Knives
  • Cut proof gloves
  • Paint/water

MethodBow saw

  1. Using a pruning saw, show the learners how to cut lengths of wood about 30cm long and 3cm in diameter. Remember the cut proof glove on your non working hand. If time is short you could pre cut the sticks for the learners.
  2. Demonstrate how to use the whittling knife, cut proof glove and safe seated position to whittle one end to a point. We use sticks about 30 cm long so that the children can securely hold the other end and keep their  no working hand away from the knife,
  3. Show them how to use a push cut to whittle a small bit of bark away below to point that will be the face.
  4. Now using a small bow saw, saw the character to the size you want it.
  5. Finally show them the finished gnomes/ santa/ wizard  and set up a painting station where they can paint them with water colours/chalk paint, markers or even beards  made from wool.  I love these  gnomes that Miss Yellow Shoes made. Wooden Gnomes


Suggest the children work in groups to create a story with their characters. Alternatively why not get cosy around the fire circle serve up a warm spiced drink and tell the children a story in which their characters star.

You could also use a pistol drill  to drill a hole in the character so it could be a key ring.

One of my students went on to cleave a set of furniture for her gnome.

If you’d like to make a Tompta using wood, pliers, tacks and felt have a look at our Facebook video from a few years ago.

Green Wood Working Tip

Make sure you don’t take your santa or gnome and put them near the fire at home. They will dry out too quickly and crack. A cool damp window sill is much better.

Wood craft