This fun DIY reindeer head can be made from wood or cardboard and can be decorated to fit your decor.
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We went away skiing last March and rented a cabin with an old stone fireplace. Above the fireplace was this giant moose head made entirely from grapevine and he was absolutely gorgeous. Ever since seeing him, I have thought how pretty and whimsical a FAKE animal bust is in winter decor.
I am a die-hard animal lover, so I do not condone any type of killing – a wood reindeer is a fantastic alternative and a cute addition to your Holiday decor. Today I’m sharing the free plans and printable template to make your own!
This printable pdf below is the template you will need to cut your wood reindeer parts. The slots in the neck and pieces are sized for ¼” plywood, so if you decide to make your DIY reindeer out of cardboard, you will need to adjust those cuts accordingly.
I started with roughly 2′ x 4′ of (underlayment) plywood – all the pieces will fit on a 48″ x 48″ sheet – which most home improvement stores carry.
You might be able to make this with a jig saw, but it’s definitely more of a scroll saw project.
I cut all the wood reindeer pieces and then adjusted the slots as needed for a snug fit.
The pieces on the template are all numbered and correspond to specific spots on the neck, so marking your pieces will help you put everything together afterwards – if not it’s a guessing game.
Once I was sure everything was going to fit, I gave all the edges a light sanding with 220 grit to get rid of the rough edges.
I primed and painted my wood reindeer while it was assembled so spray paint was the only way to go. If you want to take your deer bust apart after the season, then you might want to paint it while it’s apart to make sure you get every square inch.
Mine is going to stay together in storage because there were a couple of pieces where the slots were too big and pieces had to be glued into place.
You could cut an extra slot for the nose, but I wanted mine to be front and centre so again, I painted it (with Rust-Oleum red glitter spray paint) and then glued it into place.
I added a scarf after-the-fact to make it even more whimsical, although I’m thinking now that a plaid bow tie would be better.
Isn’t he gorgeous?!
I love the antlers! Not just a single flat surface, but with extra ‘appendages’ to give Rudolph more depth and interest.
None of the cuts for this DIY reindeer are very intricate; basically ovals and then a few straight cuts for the slots. I knocked the notches out by placing a flat head screwdriver at the base of the two cuts and then tapping it gently with a hammer until the piece just popped out. (use a screwdriver with a head that is approximately ¼” wide though)
Chloë thought our wood reindeer needed glasses:
The template for this DIY reindeer is printable on 8 ½” by 11″ printer paper – with the exception of the neck that needs to be printed on 11″ x 14″ paper. The finished size of your deer bust is 22″ tall (antlers in) by 12″ wide.
This is an easy and fun decor piece that you can customize to fit any colour scheme and even makes a fun puzzle for the kids to put together each year. Storage-wise, all the pieces will fit inside an 11″ x 14″ envelope – so it won’t add to your already over-packed Christmas decorations pile.
Or is that just me?
DIY Reindeer templates:
Give it a try and PLEASE post photos! I’d love to see everyone’s variations and takes on this wood reindeer project. (read: I’m hoping someone makes a unicorn version!)
Have a great one!