Holiday Crafts for Cheapskates: Little Geeky Charms

A little bit of material goes a long way in making any of these geeky charm ideas including “Santa-pose” Doctor Who Adipose charms, Fred’s Big Hero 6 necklace, and Star Wars Episode VII-style lightsabers. All images by Lisa Kay Tate.

Like most parents, facing our kids’ growing list of holiday gift recipients can be quite daunting. So, during the month of December, I’m sharing a few inexpensive and easy crafts kids can make to check off names on that list.

Since we made Comic Gift Pockets with toilet paper rolls and comic clippings last week, it only seems right to make a little something small enough to put in them…like a Geeky Charm.

Several of these little charms—a “Santa-pose” Doctor Who charm, Fred’s Squid necklace from Big Hero 6, and the new and much-talked-about Lightsaber sword seen in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer—can be made using a small amount of materials.


  • One square of polymer clay (Santa-Pose and Squid)
  • One package each of red bugle beads, red seed beads, and small silver beads (lightsaber)
  • Beading wire
  • Small eye-pins

Santa-Pose: Roll a piece of white or ivory polymer into a ball, and shape it into a little marshmallow.

To mold the arms and legs, roll four little balls into cylinders and shape (as pictured).

Add a little Santa hat with one flattened piece of white, one cone-shaped piece of red, green, or other color, and one small ball. If you have some remnant pieces of another color polymer, you can use these, or just color the white cone-shaped clay with felt tip markers once the piece is baked. Attach the hat to the adipose, and place a small eye-pin down through the center.

Bake according to clay’s instructions. Smaller pieces sometimes don’t have to bake nearly as long, so watch them to make sure they don’t start to get discolored. Once cooled, use a felt tip marker or craft paint to draw their faces, and color the hats, if needed.

Assembling your Santa-pose.


Fred’s Squid Pendant: Roll three small cones (tapered, rolled pieces) out of day-glo, or light green, polymer clay. Make the center piece slightly smaller than the other two.

Mold these together at their thickest end, and smooth out the crevices, so it resembles a little green squid-like creature. Cut the top end off, so it is flat across the top, and place the eye-pin the center. Bake the clay as directed on the package.

Once the clay has cooled, use a felt tip marker, or craft paint, to dab two little dark green dots on the two outside “tentacles.” In the center of the pendant, dab a circle of white paint and let it dry. Over the circle, use a felt tip to draw a smaller bit of red, and black pupil, so it resembles an “eye.”

Assembling Fred’s squid pendant.

Lightsaber: String one red seed bead onto a one-foot long piece of beading wire, and fold in half. String around four bugle beads over both ends of the folded wire for the main blade. Make sure to use wire thin enough to fit through the beads twice.

Separate the two wire ends, and string two or three small silver beads on each end, followed by one small bugle bead and one red seed bead. Fold each end in half and draw the wire back through the bugle bead and silver beads, NOT the seed bead. Bugle beads come in different lengths (measured in millimeters). Depending on the size lightsaber you want, you might only need one 20 to 35 mm for the blade, and one 4 to 11 mm for each of the sides.

Once the side pieces are done, bring the two wire ends together again, and string three-or-four silver beads along them. Make a loop with the remainder of the wire, and twist it around the beads to secure it. Cut off excess wire and use a toothpick to make sure there are no pieces poking out. Secure with a tiny drop of super glue if needed.

This last charm is initially the most expensive, but in the span of a couple of hours, you can make enough little lightsabers for an entire tiny Sith army with one package.

Assembling your lightsaber.

Any of these charm ideas can be attached to small ribbons, satin or rope cords, or loop bands, charm clasps, or French earring hooks. Clip them to cards, or tie them onto gift-wrap ribbons. Put them in a little bowl for guests to take home from parties, or throw a bunch in a large zip-topped plastic bag for your child to take to school and let their friends and teachers pick out their favorites.

Whatever the use or presentation, any teacher, friend, or relative who receives these little hand-made thoughts will certainly be charmed.

charm ideas
Trim a tree or fill a party favor box.


Lisa Kay Tate is a veteran feature writer with 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine and freelance writing. In addition to serving as Associate Editor for her local arts and entertainment guide, El Paso Scene, she has been a regular contributor to the site and maintains her own blogsite at She and her husband, writer/photographer Rick, live on the edge of "New Texico" where they keep busy raising their two geeklings and sharing space with their dog, Sirius Black, and cat, Loki.