DIY Holiday Craft: How to Make a Woodland Twig Reindeer

Updated on November 22, 2017
purl3agony profile image

Donna enjoys using her arts background to create fun craft projects with a special focus on using repurposed or handy household materials.

How to Make a Woodland Twig Reindeer
How to Make a Woodland Twig Reindeer | Source

I had been looking for a set of reindeer figurines to display on my mantle during the Christmas season, but couldn't find exactly what I wanted. With a few basic craft supplies and some twigs from my yard, I made this cute woodland reindeer pair. These rustic reindeer are adorable additions to your home or Christmas tree decorating. This holiday project tutorial includes different ideas about how to decorate your deer, and adjust them in size to hang on your tree.

Materials for making twig reindeer
Materials for making twig reindeer | Source

Materials for Making Woodland Twig Reindeer

  • a sheet of stiff, but bendable cardboard (like from a cereal box) - this cardboard will form the body of your reindeer. The size is variable, depending on the finished size of your reindeer. I used a piece that was 5 inches by 4 1/2 inches. Read the directions below for more detail.
  • twigs of varying sizes and thicknesses (you can also use dowels) - for the limbs of your reindeer
  • small piece of thick twig or a bottle cork for your reindeer's head
  • material for decorating the body of your reindeer - I used wrapping paper and some laser cut wood pieces. But you could also use images from Christmas cards, scrapbook paper, paper doilies, popsicle sticks, and other decorative elements.
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • drill or screwdriver to make holes to assemble head and neck
  • scissors, ruler, and pencil
  • (optional) red pom pom or bead to use as nose

Starting to make your twig reindeer
Starting to make your twig reindeer | Source

How to Make a Woodland Twig Reindeer

1. The first step for creating a twig reindeer is to cut a piece of cardboard to make your deer's body. Your cardboard should be stiff, but bendable. The size of this cardboard is variable. I cut my cardboard to be 5 inches high (this will later be folded in half) by 4 1/2 inches wide. This is a good starting size, as it gives you some area to decorate your deer. My finished adult reindeer is about 9 1/2 inches tall by about 8 inches from nose to tail.


2. Next, fold your cardboard in half height-wise to form a tent shape. Using my measurements, your folded piece of cardboard will be 2 1/2 inches high by 4 1/2 inches wide.


3. Now you can decorate your piece of folded cardboard to form the body of your reindeer. Note - be careful to preserve the fold in your cardboard so it will still bend in half. Be sure to decorate both sides of your folded piece of cardboard.

There are many materials to use to decorate your reindeer. You can use old Christmas cards to cover your cardboard, or gift wrap. You can use popsicle sticks for a more rustic look, or decorative paper and glitter for a more festive feel.


I wanted a woodland look for my reindeer, so I chose first to cover my cardboard with holiday gift wrap. Then I took a few laser-cut wooden frames that I had bought at the craft store and cut them into pieces. I cut the top and bottom off the frames to create decorative wood pieces for decorating my deer (pieces of paper doilies would give you a similar look).


I had a few of these wooden frames in different styles. I cut each one as in the photo above, then took the longer frame pieces (top and bottom) and layered them on each side of my reindeer body. I glued them in place with hot glue, making sure not to cover the fold in my cardboard.

I like how the gift wrap shows through my wooden pieces. However you decide to decorate your deer's body, it will look great!

Cut four twigs of equal size to create the legs for your reindeer.
Cut four twigs of equal size to create the legs for your reindeer. | Source

Assembling Your Twig Reindeer

4. Cut four twigs or dowels of equal thickness to use as legs for your deer. I made the legs of my deer about 6 1/4 inches long. It's best to make the legs longer than you think you need, as you can always cut them shorter later.

5. Next, cut a piece of twig or dowel that is slightly shorter than the length of the fold of your cardboard.


6. Turn your cardboard over, so you are looking at the underbelly of your reindeer. Glue your short piece of twig or dowel (I used a dowel) down the center of your fold, but leave enough space so that your cardboard will still bend closed.

7. Next, glue your four legs in a splayed position, with the tops of your twigs almost touching your center stick. Test that you can still bend your cardboard into a tent shape with your legs in place.


8. Make sure the glue on the legs is dry. Then hold your deer like a taco with the legs facing up and the cardboard held in an inverted V shape. Use hot glue to attach you legs to the center stick or dowel (see photo above). My husband was a little heavy-handed when gluing these pieces together, but the legs did stay in place.


9. When your glue is dry, you can turn your deer over and trim the legs to your desired length, making sure your reindeer stands straight and level.

10. Find a short piece of twig or dowel to use as a tail. Glue it in place between the back legs so it hangs out the end of your deer's body.

Making the head for a twig reindeer
Making the head for a twig reindeer | Source

Making a Head for Your Twig Reindeer

11. I used a two inch length of twig for my deer head that was about one inch in diameter. You could also use a thick piece of dowel or a bottle cork for the head.

12. (Optional) I used a sturdy utility knife to whittle down one end of my twig to give my deer head some shape. This may be harder to do with a piece of dowel, but should be easy with a twig or cork if you have a sturdy, sharp knife.

13. Put your head aside and find a piece of twig or dowel to use as the neck of your reindeer. My neck is about 3 inches long.

14. Drill a small hole in the base of your deer's head that is large enough to accept the twig you will use as a neck. If you are using a cork for the head, you can probably make the hole by using a screwdriver and twisting it into the cork.

Putting a neck on your twig reindeer
Putting a neck on your twig reindeer | Source

15. Leave the head aside for the moment. Glue your neck in place between the front legs of your reindeer. I glued mine so that it also rested against the center stick of my deer's body.

16. Place the head onto the neck with no glue to check the length of the neck in relationship to the head. Trim the length of neck if needed.

17. (Optional) If you want to add a wreath to your deer's decoration, do it before adding your deer head. I knitted my wreath using dk weight yarn and this free knitting pattern. I wove some twine through my wreath and tied the ends in a bow, then placed it around my reindeer's neck. You can also buy small wreaths in the Christmas section at most craft stores.

Adding antlers to your twig reindeer
Adding antlers to your twig reindeer | Source

Adding Antlers

18. Before attaching the head to the body, decide whether you want to add antlers to your reindeer. I cut some arms off these wooden snowflakes I had to use as antlers. You could also use small twigs or wire pieces for antlers.

19. If you want to add antlers, decide the placement for them on your deer's head, then drill some small pilot holes to accept them. Glue your antlers in position with a small drop of hot glue or superglue. Let dry completely.


20. When you deer head is dry, glue it on to the neck by putting a little bit of hot glue or superglue into the hole in the head. Let dry.


21. (Optional) I added a small red pom pom for a nose on my reindeer. I attached this with a small drop of hot glue. You can also use a bead or button for the nose.


22. I made a smaller reindeer using the same tutorial. For this smaller deer, I used the shorter sides from my wooden frames that were left over when I cut them apart. The piece of cardboard for my smaller deer's body was 4 inches high by 2 1/2 inches wide (2 inches high when folded in half).

23. You could add a loop of ribbon to the back of the smaller deer if you wish to use it as a Christmas tree ornament.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Donna Herron


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • purl3agony profile imageAUTHOR

        Donna Herron 

        18 months ago from USA

        Hi Sheila - So glad you liked this project and are sharing it with your grandson! Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it!

      • profile image


        18 months ago

        What a great idea, I made one ,my grandson love it. I will teach them how to make them. Thank you!

      • purl3agony profile imageAUTHOR

        Donna Herron 

        20 months ago from USA

        Hi Patricia - Thanks so much! So glad you like these little reindeer. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      • profile image


        20 months ago

        These are adorable!

      • purl3agony profile imageAUTHOR

        Donna Herron 

        21 months ago from USA

        Hi Shasta - Thanks! These little guys were fun to make and decorate. So glad you like them. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it!

      • purl3agony profile imageAUTHOR

        Donna Herron 

        21 months ago from USA

        Hi Heidi - Thanks so much! So glad you like these twig reindeer. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

      • Millionaire Tips profile image

        Shasta Matova 

        21 months ago from USA

        These are adorable! What a cute and clever project!

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        21 months ago from Chicago Area

        When I see you've published a new post in the email notifications, I can't wait to see what cuteness you've come up with. And this is certainly cute by combining nature with some crafty cleverness.

        If I don't connect with you prior, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)