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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Project - Repairing an old German Santa

Last year I bought an old broken German Santa figure with plans to restore him.  He finally made his way to my project table yesterday and I began assessing his situation.  It wasn't looking very good:  He was missing a large portion of his face(one entire cheek and jaw, part of his other jaw, and his entire mouth area) and half a boot.

Assessing my capability to complete this project:

Pros:  I'm pretty good at color matching(for repainting), and although not an expert, I think I have enough sculpting skill to manage a partial face and partial boot recreation.  I love these type of old figures and have lot's of enthusiasm for this project.  I love learning...and really want to know how this Santa was made.

Cons:  I've never done anything like this before.  I'm not an expert sculptor.  I am not a doll maker.  Although I can basically sew a somewhat straight line on my sewing machine, I don't know how to make clothing, follow patterns, or know any of the sewing lingo.

Summary:  The pros and cons seem pretty evenly split.  Does this mean my chances to succeed are 50/50?
Your guess is as good as mine.

Unfortunately, I didn't think to take pictures until I had already begun the project.  So the following pics were taken after I started re-sculpting the face and had just started with the boot.

Re-sculpting the lower face

I used Paperclay, as this is the only clay I have any experience with.  I think the facial sculpting so far is adequate, as most of it will be covered up with his rabbit fur beard and mustache(thankfully).

Re-sculpting the boot

The pics above were taken just after I started to work on the boot.  I had carefully drilled a small hole into it and glued in a piece of wire that was the same length as the other boot.  Then I started to add clay.

A newly re-sculpted boot

So far, so good.  I've managed to fill in the missing face and boot portions satisfactorily.   Whew!  That was one huge hurdle, but there are so many more ahead.

I'll be posting my progress reports throughout the project, please check back and see how we(Santa and I) are coming along.  Also any helpful hints would be greatly appreciated, don't be shy, we need your help!


  1. how neat to watch the repair in progress!! can't wait to see him all done :)

  2. Interesting to see how you repair these old pieces. Looks like a lovely old Santa. Cheers, Susan

  3. I've done repair before. I am a little more cavalier in my approach. Gung-Ho best describes it! HAHAHA!!! You will do great and no one will know any the better, other than everyone that is following this tutorial! Looking forward to seeing the finished piece.

  4. Thanks everyone for your support. Len, I'm usually cavalier too. But I spent over $100.00 for this figure in its broken state. So, needless to say, I'm trying really hard to get this right!