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to make a yule bock

i decided to try my hand at building a yule bock this holiday season.

materials used;

  • 2 bundles of wheat and rye straw from the garden.  about 36 inches long and as much as i can fit my thumbs and fore fingers around.
  • a spool of twine and scissors.
  • red kid skin (red ribbon would work well too)

i began by evening out my bundles of straw, flipping half of each bundle then evening em out and tying them up.

next i soaked them in hot water for about 5 hours to soften em. i placed a heavy baking sheet and full gallon jug to keep them fully submerged.

after soaking i stood them up to drain for half an hour.

i laid a towel on my work table then decided upon the length of legs and torso by sliding the string around. i settled on 13ish inch legs (both ends) and 10ish inch torso (middle section).

next i separated one end into two even sections and tied em off (this is now the hind legs) and pulled a few pieces out on the top center backside to braid into a tail.

once the hind legs where each tied off i hung them over the edge of the table and carefully bent them down.

now, on the other end (front legs and neck) i separated a quarter of the bundle nearest the top back (spine) to bend upward and begin forming the neck.

next i separated the rest into thirds-ish, tied off and bent the front legs and laied the 2nd bundle in place along in front of  legs and neck.

i separated the bottom half of the 2nd bundle into roughly thirds and tied them to the existing 3 bundles of front legs and belly. then i bent the middle belly bundle back up under the two front legs and tied it to the main torso part of the original body. i also tied the top part of my 2nd bundle to the existing neck of the original body.

after evening out the front legs/belly/neck area and re tying it’s time to move on the the head. first i bent down and tied off a small bunch of straw to create the under chin area. i also lashed it to the neck in order to keep it held at an appropriate angle.  i think attempting to bend the head down all at once wouldn’t work as it’s too thick.

now i bent over the rest of the head just a little higher up and tied it all together.

now, with scissors, i trim the nose flat and clean.

and the feet.

adjust the feet to make it stand solidly.

i used a little strap cutter to cut a long kid skin ribbon.. any sort of ribbon would work here.

after adding some braided sweet grass for horns i made up a nice pattern of criss crossed lashing around the yule bock with my red leather ribbon. you could set aside some straw early on to braid for horns…

just about done and looking pretty good but i’m not happy with how the legs are at slightly different angles..

so i tied em up to hold the legs in appropriate position and will let it dry in this position.

all done! notice the little cock and balls i gave him… i just braided it and tied off and bent the ends of the belly bundle from the step when i made the front legs/bell/neck.