Outdoor Yard Decorations

The Drummer-Boy apparently has is roots from a traditional Czech carol and Katherine K. Davis composed the words and music for "Carol of the Drum" in 1941. The Drummer Boy History and Drummer Boy Lyrics.

have special meaning to millions of people at Christmas as it does for us.

We have placed the figure behind Mary and Joseph in our Christmas Outdoor Decorations arrangement.

For your enjoyment here is a video of David Bowie and Bing Crosby's singing "The Little Drummer Boy", followed by the instructions to make your own decoration.

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Christmas outdoor decoration?

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The word costume is used to describe the different body types for this Drummer-Boy and the other yard decorations.This drummer boy is constructed using the basic-pattern-1 and adding the facials features and hat desired.


First you will have to make the Basic-pattern-1.

Fabric color depends on the costume. Suggested fabric would be a cotton polyester mix usually about $1.50 to 2.95 per yard. Double knit fabric is also good but make sure you can see light through it or it will not illuminate. A Drummer-Boy often wore light colored clothing with no adornments.

Fabric for face, remnant, usually 1/8 yard and miscellaneous colors for eyes mouth etc. The best fabric is the same as the body or felt can be used for eyes, mouth and nose…not for the face.

A piece of 8 to 10 gauge wire to fit the bottom and top of the costume, approximately 30 to 34 inches.

Five feet 1 inch PVC pipe,

One 3” toilet flange, one 3” to 1 ½ inch bushing and one 1 ½ to 1 inch bushing; all plumbing connections.

One male adapter, one female adapter, one “T” and three end caps all for the 1 inch PVC

One box 100 count outside mini lights.

Four metal tent stakes and four metal garden stakes.


Fabric comes in standard sizes…usually 45 inch width or 60 inch widths…some more some less but most 45 or 60.

For a 5 foot costume using the measurements in the basic-pattern-1

You will need 3 yards of fabric 45 inches wideYou will need 2 yards of fabric 54 inches or greater

The Drummer-boy is made very similar to the wise men but has a sewn on drum with hands holding the drum sticks instead of a gift. Make the basic-pattern-1 and add the following to create the face, hat and arms.

THE HEAD of the Drummer-boy

The head on the Drummer-boy is the same as the head on the small snowmen. The crown of the small snowman is used as the head piece. See making the crown on the child Snowman. hat instruction to make this pattern. Cut one.

TABS for the Drummer-boy

On the pattern paper, draw a 2 inch by 5 inch rectangle and cut out 4 pieces of body fabric. These will be your tabs to secure the costume to the ground.

Place all body and hat pieces on the selected fabric and cut out.

THE FACE for the Drummer-Boy

The face is an oval cut in half or a triangle with a very round point. Draw a line 6 inches long, make dot in the middle and draw a line 8 inches long forming a “T”. Draw a line from the top of the 8 inch length to the end of the 6 inch side, then to the other 6 inch side…a triangle. Round the tip of the triangle forming the chin. Use the top of a lid as a form if necessary. Cut one.

My Drummer-boy does not have any facial features. I just have light brown skin as a face shape.

Put the top edge of the face on the top edge of one of the four body sections. The top of the face should be slightly smaller than the top edge of the body pattern. Only the top edges of the face should go over into the seam allowances. Pin in place and zig zag again around the face (or glue and let dry). Do NOT use fusible webbing to secure the entire face. Then turn your fabric to the wrong side and cut away the fabric 1/8 inch from the zig zag or glue that is behind the face. Zig Zag on the wrong side again or glue edges down securely. This creates a face that will illuminate when lit.

ASSEMBLE THE BODY for the Drummer-boy

Now assemble the body by sewing the two side pieces onto the face body piece and then the back piece onto the two side pieces. Use a serger to finish the edges or zig zag all raw edges together. If necessary, zig zag the edges twice. Remember the wind. The seams must be very secure.

Turn bottom of this body up ½ inch and press with iron. Then turn the edge up 1 inch again, press and sew. Leave about 3 inches open (don’t sew) in the middle of the back piece. This makes a pocket for the wire that will hold the form of your body.

Fold the long ends of your tabs to meet at the middle and press, then fold in half and press. Sew together.

Fold each tab in half and place on the inside or wrong side of costume at each seam just above the pocket or hem stitching.. Sew on top of the pocket or hem stitching and sew securely in place. I sew across this 3 to four times to make sure it will stay. These will take a lot of abuse outside, so if you want your costume to last, make it secure.

Head for the Drummer-boy

The head on the Wise men, Drummer-boy, Joseph, Mary and the Shepard are all the same. The variations in color and added adornments come from you. The head simulates the wrapped head scarf of the Middle east.

The Top pattern piece will have a short gathered piece all the way around. On the sides of the head the scarf will cascade down and around to the other side. The circumference of the 8 ½ Top circle is approximately 22 inches. To add gathers add ½ of this amount to the length of this measurement; 33 inches. The gathered piece will be 1 inch wide when folded so 2 inches.

Draw a rectangle 33 inches long, 2 inches wide then add seam allowances (the ½ or 5/8 inch all the way around the rectangle). Cut out the pattern, then cut out one in fabric. Sew the short ends together, then fold in half with wrong side together and baste around the entire piece.

I didn’t add the draped scarf to the drummer-boy but you can.

To add the draped scarf piece the measurement from one side of the head draped the distance the scarf is to hang to the other side of the head is needed. Each one of my costumes has a different drape but it does not have to be that way; they can be all the same. To add a drape that drapes under the chin of the face slight you will need at least a 24 inch long piece. The scarf width should be at least 6 inches, in this example we will be using 8 inches.

Draw a rectangle 24 inches long and 8 inches wide. Add the seam allowances. Cut out the pattern then cut out one in fabric. If you are using fabric the frays your will have to bind the edges of the long side of the drape. There is one of two ways to accomplish this. Serge the edges or press under ½ the long seam allowance then fold and press again the same allowance and sew. In this example it would be folding up ¼ inch, then fold on itself another ¼ inch and sew in place.

Baste the short side of the drape and pull to gather to about 6 inches or less. Pin onto the head of the Wise man on the side between the back side seam and the front side seam on both sides of the costume. Baste in place.

Divide the short gathered piece in four equal parts, then pull the basting on to match the circumference of the circle. Baste in place.

Baste around the outside edge of the circle. Divide the circle in four equal parts. Gather the edges. Match the four equal parts with the seams on the top of the body adjusting the gathers to be equal all the way around. Sew onto body. REMEMBER : there is a 1 inch seam allowance here.

Cut down the short gathered piece and the draped piece to about ¼ away from the seam. Zig zag or serge the edges of the one inch seam together leaving about 3 inches open in the back. A good idea, if not serging, to zig zag twice. This is the pocket for the wire.

ARMS for the Drummer-boy

My arms are simulated with trumpet sleeves with hands, drum sticks and drum sewn directly onto the costume.

An arm is a tube that trumpets at the end

TRUMPETED SLEEVE/ARM for the Drummer-boy

To make a trumpeted sleeve, cut a triangular piece. . The arm length is going to be approximately 2/3 the height of the body. 3 foot body is a 1 1/2 foot arm length that has seam turned ends already accommodated. Draw a line five inches long, mark a point 18 inches from the 5 inch line. Draw a 12 inch line centered just below the 5 inch line. Draw a line that connects the end of the 5 inch line to the 12 inch line on both sides. Add 3 inches to the length of the 12 inch line straight down. In other words do not extend the line outward to make a larger triangle but straight down. This is adding the hem to the sleeve/arm. Cut two, Turn under ½ inch one each end of the short side of the arm. Sew length wise to make a tube. Turn the bottom of the arm up 3 inches to form the hem of the sleeve/arm.


To make hand that holds something, trace around your own hand with your fingers and thumb together. Put a mark where the second knuckle is on both sides of the hand and slightly round the end between those two points making a fist looking hand. Add about 3 inches for the wrist. Cut two.

Draw a ½ inch rectangle about 8 inches long and add a small oval to the end of it. This is the drum stick. The stick will go through the slot you cut in the hand at an angle simulating movement of the drum stick to beat the drum.

Then position the arm about 1/3 down from the seam at the top in the middle of the side body piece and slip stitch to side piece.


Keeping in mind that the drum will go onto the front section of the costume, draw a rectangle the will fit centered in about the middle of the front about mid way down. This will be a 12 x 12 inch square. The make a slight curve on the top and curve into the square on the top, this is the top of the drum. Add a contracting color to the bottom curved area or add a trim that looks like a band on the drum. Add the same contrast to the bottom of the drum.Add diagonal line with a zig zag stitch or more decorative trim.

Position the drum toward the bottom/middle of the front piece. Zig zag in place.

Sew wrists to the inside of the sleeve with the seam down. Position the hands, one lifting upward the other down ward close to the top sides of the drum, pin in place. Position a drum stick under each hand with motion upward or down ward. Pin in place and zig zag starting at the wrist then around the hand and stick down toward the wrist again.


Put wire into one side of the pocket in the top of the Wise man. Move it through the pocket until it pops out the other side. Overlap the wire about 2 inches. Tape the entire 2 inch section the duct tape making sure to cover the ends of the wire securely with the tape. I use a white tape color.

Insert a wire in the bottom of the Shepard the same as above.

All this is left is the

Stand for the Drummer-Boy

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How do you Decorate for Christmas?

Show and Tell Christmas, or just see what others do.