DIY Elf on the Shelf

elf on shelf in front of dremel sign

  • Difficulty


How does Santa know if you've been naughty or nice? Is he watching you when you're sleeping, does he know when you're awake? No! Santa has some help to keep his eye on you. He has a trusty Elf on the Shelf to watch everything you do! The Holidays are approaching and AJ the Elf is here at the Dremel office! Spotted on his brand new DIY shelf, AJ will be getting his hands into all sorts of DIY projects over the next 12 days as he gears up for the holiday! Be sure to follow the fun each day @Dremel on Instagram as we share 12 Days of Dremel DIY Projects, and get inspired this holiday season! But first, a good Elf needs his shelf! Check out the complete step-by step walkthrough below to create your own DIY shelf for your holiday elf!

You need
  • Bosch Jigsaw
  • Hammer
  • Wood Glue
  • Clamps
  • Tape measure
  • Safety Glasses
  • Work Gloves
  • 24"x48"x3/4" plywood
  • #8 x 1-1/4in phillips flat wood screw
  • 20 x Common nails 1 inch
  • 7/64” Drill Bit Tape measure
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Step By Step Instructions

Step 1 8

Measure twice cut once..and then cut a couple more times

saw circle on wood

Before you start your first cut, be sure to clamp your 24” x 48” inch plywood to a stationary table or workbench using 2 clamps. Now it’s time to make your mark! Measure out 8"x24" inches and mark your line with a pencil.(See Cut List for guidelines) Next, measure and cut (2) 5"x24x3/4" boards. Keep in mind that one of these boards will be used for the back of the shelf (where it would be attached to a wall) and the other you’ll use to cut out the side brackets. Helpful hint:To ensure you are cutting a straight line place a separate wooden board against the mark to help guide your saw as your make your cut. Also remember to account for your guide on your saw by measuring half an inch to the left of your cut line in the direction you are going to cut in.

Step 2 8

Cut the brackets, don't be afraid to get fancy!

sand circular

Using one of the 5x24” boards, measure and cut two (5”x7”) sections. Once cut, flip the board over and on the opposite sides, measure 1” up from the long edge (see picture) and 1” from the short edge. Now’s the time for your artistic ability to shine through! Use these marks as your guide to then draw a fancy curve/design of your choice between the measured points. Helpful hint: Wondering which one of your fine wooden boards to use for your brackets? Pick the ugly one! No really! You’ll only be using a small section of this board so you can make those choice cuts and keep that shelf looking pristine!

Step 3 8

Puzzled on what to do next? Use a Jigsaw!

sand circular

First clamp down your two bracket pieces you cut out to your workbench. From there, use a Jigsaw to cut the curve of the bracket, tracing your pattern. Repeat this section so that you have both your brackets cut out.

Step 4 8

Your elf wants a comfy shelf! Smooth the edges, sand it!

oscillate curve
drill hole

Make that shelf nice and smooth! To easily sand in even the tightest spaces we used the MM35 Oscillating tool with sanding attachment and 120 Grit Sand Paper. Once the oscillating attachment and accessory are securely locked in place, clamp your shelf to your workbench. Next, move the oscillating tool across the area you are sanding in a small circular motion until you achieve your desired look. Helpful Hint: You can use your Dremel rotary tool with the 438 1/4" 120-grit Sanding Drum to help smooth out the edges on your brackets.

Step 5 8

Drill pilot holes

drill hole

Don’t break it before you make it! Drill pilot holes to avoid cracking the wood as you insert your screws. For this project we used the Dremel 4000 with the 628-01 Drill Bit Set To start, drill 4 evenly spaced holes across the long side of the 8”x24” board. From there, drill 2 holes on each side (left and right) of the 8”x24” board. Next drill 2 holes on the left and right sides of the 5”x24” board, be sure to leave ¾” room from the top to account for the width of the top board.

Step 6 8

Screw it! Just put it together already!

drill hole
drill hole

Screw the two pieces (8”x24” and 5”x24”) together using 4 screws on the long side with a drill driver. Once secured, place the brackets in each corner end and screw them into the top and back piece (two on top and two through the back)

Step 7 8

Tis the season for decorations! Add a decorative trim


Make your shelf POP off the elf!...wait. Give your shelf a subtle yet notable look by adding a decorative trim the fits the mood of your room. First, cut the trim into three pieces: 1 (24” section) and 2 (1” sections). From there you can secure the trim using either wood glue or hammering several small common nails where you see fit.

Step 8 8


elf on shelf in front of dremel sign

Now your elf is ready to keep an eye on things for you! Hope you've been good this year! Check back @Dremel on Instagram as we share 12 Days of Dremel DIY Projects, and get inspired this holiday season!


To reduce the risk of injury user must read instruction manuals for all tools used in this project. Wear eye and respiratory protection. Use clamps to support work piece whenever practical.