Painted Paper Mache Reindeer

Painted Paper Mache Reindeer

Learn to create paper mache reindeer that are perfect for the holidays

What you need

Paper Mache Reindeer:
1″ Flat for base Coating
Robert Simmons Expression Size 8 Flat brush
Robert Simmons Expression Size 3 Round brush
Robert Simmons Expression #8 Filbert
Heather Redick size 3/0 Liner
Used Sanding Scrubber/old Stocking


These paints have been selected by the artist and are used as a guideline to complete this project. You may use any brand of paint in similar colors to get the same effect.

Deco Art Americana Paints:
Glorious Gold
Emperors Gold
Champagne Gold
True OchreButtermilk
Midnite Green
Napa Red
Gooseberry Pink
Jade Green
Titanium White
Lamp Black
Dazzling metallic
Crystal Green

Seal the surface with one coat of Gesso.

Rub the surface gently with the sanding Scrubber or an old stocking.

Base with two coats of Glorious Gold. Dry.

Apply a coat of Weathered Wood. Do this carefully, starting on the underneath side of the reindeer. Work your way up the leg and over the body. Hold the Antlers as you finish this. Watch for runs and dribbles. Grab a cuppa. Take a rest and keep an eye on the crackle for ten minutes or so. Catch the drips with a brush.

Take your time with the coffee and hopefully the crackle will be dry enough if not get another task done then come back.

When the crackle is dry, coat the entire reindeer excluding the antlers with butter milk. Remember the best crackle comes from slapping on the paint, don’t play in it! Lay the paint onto the surface with a big flat brush and leave it alone. Let the crackle get on with it’s job by itself!

Painting the design:

I painted this design freehand, building it up as you go. I have provided a pattern as best I can from the surface, but if you are game give this a go free hand! If not, apply each step appropriate to the pattern as you go. It will not be easy to trace on, but you can try nicking into your tracing paper a bit to wrap it around the surface.

Use the #8 Flat and Napa red and run a brush width line around the neckline. (paint the ribbon in the design Napa red) Two coats will be needed.

Use the liner and Champagne gold to decorate this with fine lines. Do one on the very edge and one just inside the edge of the ribbon.

Use a coin or something round as a drawing template and group three circles at the front chest area of the reindeer, centred over the ribbon.

Base these with True Ochre. This will give a more solid cover for the gold. When dry paint with two coats of Emperors gold.

Imagine a half way line. Use the flat brush and float a shadow each side of the halfway line with Asphaltum. You should be left with a plain gold strip. Use the liner loaded in Asphaltum to paint Comma strokes in each half, starting near the center line and pulling up and out to the top. When these are dry float a little Asphaltum to the outer edge of each bell at the top and bottom.
Highlight the bells using the liner and a little Champagne gold. Highlight the inside of each comma and a little across the center stripe.

If you are free handing now is the time to sketch leaves and a spot for your flowers. I put a flower on each side of the bells, upward of the bells and ribbon, and one on the left below. Draw circles to show where these will be. Now look into the gaps and draw some leaves. These are best done by starting with a center line. Then scoop out the sides. Holly has lots more scoops than I have painted here so three scoops works and is a good starting point for free handing!

Base the leaves with Midnite green. Two coats.

Now we will work one leaf at a time.

Paint the leaf again with Midnite green, then while it is wet put a little Jade on your filbert brush. Lay some colour up the centre vein on the lower side of the middle. Identify the direction of the vein lines, and pull short sweeping strokes from the wet middle paint toward the outside edge, in the direction the veins would go. Repeat the procedure working from the top edge of the leaf.

If this sounds too complex, just float the jade down the center of the lower half of the leaf and across the top of the upper half.

When they are all done, outline them with a brush mix of Champagne Gold and Crystal green.


Yes you can free hand these too! It’s like painting a daisy! Locate the center of the flower. All the strokes will be pulled to here. Use a pencil and sketch an outer perimeter. How many strokes??? No idea what fits. Poinsettia flowers have various numbers of petals so that isn’t especially important. Now you are going right over the top of some very dark colors so I suggest a little blocking out color first such as white! Besides this gives you a practice run. Use the round brush and start in the center line up with the outer edge (know where you are aiming!) Start the petal stroke on the tip of the brush, gently apply pressure. Halfway through the stroke, begin to lift up to your point. If you work with a flat brush or filbert, begin on the chisel edge with the brush turned at a slight angle. Don’t change the angle through the stroke.

Complete all the strokes in this manner, be sure to overlap some for interest. You can also vary the length of strokes. (See the pattern)

Ok you have a pattern now lets put some color on there. Paint each petal with Napa red, using the same method. Paint strokes that are behind or under before the ones on top.

For our third and final coat we are going to side load to add a highlight color. (Flat brush people can float around brush people will side load the round!)

I used the round for this load in Napa red, pull through Gooseberry Pink on one side of the brush. Starting at the tip of each petal pull the pink down the outside edge of each petal. Some petals miss out on one side, some get both sides.

Load the Liner in Champagne gold and outline the petals.

Load the round in Midnite green, push the tip into Jade. Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle to the surface and press some dots into the flower centres. (Just like when you do forget me nots) When these are dry add a dot of Berry red to each one. Add some dots of Champagne gold.

Filler Foliage:

Load the liner with a brush mix of crystal green and Midnite green. Pull out one longish fine line, then pull more fine lines from it.

Eyes and nose.
Use the liner and paint a circle of black for the eyes and an oval for the nose. Location will be determined by the shape of your reindeer’s head , see if you can visualise an eye socket and nose tip! Add two commas either side of the eye circle in black. Use titanium white to add comma highlights.

Forehead: I added some filler greenery (as above) and some dots of Napa red just to give the deer a little head dress.

Above all..Have some fun!

Original Design By Jenny Langford. Copyright 1998 The Black Swan Decorative Art Studio, Victoria Australia.
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  1. Reindeers are beautiful, but if you are interested in making the project, it doesn’ tell how to make the reindeers

  2. those deers are very beautiful

  3. those are absolutly beautiful!

  4. it rocks

  5. i would like to know how to make the paper mache reindeer.

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