DIY Birch Reindeer
December, 2015 · By Coryanne Ettiene
Everyone needs a DIY Birch Reindeer amongst their holiday decor, right? Over the last few years, I’ve become so smitten with Nordic decorations that it seems there is no end to my supply of woodland Christmas Decor, and the large corner of my craft room dedicated to DIY Christmas decorations. I blame pinterest and craft stores. You can hardly walk into a craft store without being greeting by any number of cardboard shapes or decorative ribbons right now. I know because I’ve got a craft room full of letters, shapes and ornaments I simply had to have, that time never allowed me to play with, and that now sit perched on my shelf, heckling me each time I open the door.
The most vocal of the assortment has been the cardboard reindeer I bought last year; and it was not until I cleaned up my craft room a few weeks back and found….quite frankly a treasure trove of goodies, and a borderline foam brush hoarding situation, that I decided to get crafty with a spool of birch paper ribbon that had sat also untouched since last year. I am the first to admit the I’m a Jack of all trades and master of none…. evidence of which is my craft room. It’s shameful and inspiring at the same time. But I digress, when it comes to DIY is papier-mâché, or découpage if you are feeling ever so fancy, I can’t get enough of it.
While there is some skill to the layering and positioning of the paper, there really is no way you can ruin a project that requires you to rip tiny pieces of paper, and glue it on to an object; especially if you are going for the rustic look. The only honest advice is to use a clean brush, use smaller pieces of paper and set aside time to allow the layers to dry. And then the obvious, when creating a wood finish, like this DIY birch reindeer, make sure you are positioning your birch so that when finished, the wood grain goes in the same direction.
DIY Birch Reindeer
You’ll need a foam brush, a bottle of Mod Podge (I used the antique finish, but the standard finish will work just as well), a spool of paper ribbon with a birch wood design, and a cardboard reindeer.
- Like a puzzel, tear off tiny bits of the ribbon so that you have long thin pieces, and small round pieces. Then sort them according to shade. I wanted the eyes and ears of the reindeer to stand out so I used darker shades for those areas, and then left the rest to alternating between dark and light. Because there are so many small curves on the reindeer, you will use an equal number of long and round pieces. To be sure that you have enough for special areas that require a custom shape, leave a few inches of ribbon intact so you can measure out what you need when you need it.
- Apply a small patch of Mod Podge to the location on the reindeer you want to cover, then place your ribbon piece atop that section and then lightly brush the top with Mod Podge. Repeat this process for each piece, taking care to brush in the same direction with each step. Once you have a sizable patch, allow it to dry for an hour before starting again to prevent your hands from sticking to completed sections. I found that starting on the lower side, and moving up that same side allowed me to work more quickly.
- The patching, drying, patching again cycle takes around 3 hours in total. I did mine over the course of a few days to allow each section to fully dry; but I’m sure you can skip this step if you take care to not touch those parts that are drying while you apply new patches.
If you try your hand at making this DIY birch reindeer this holiday season, or any papier-mâché project – tag @CoryanneEttiene on Instagram so I can shower you with praise for your crafty holiday cheer.