DIY a Rustic Wooden Reindeer Family
Ever since Clement Moore composed the classic poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” way back in 1822, reindeers have featured prominently in Christmas stories and decor. Sadly we don’t see them here in South Africa, which makes me wonder. How does Santa deliver all those presents? Maybe he uses a taxi 🙂 Oh well, be that as it may, I thought it would be fun to make a rustic wooden reindeer family using our pallet scraps and repurpose a few of those rusty nails that hold the pallets together at the same time.
The reindeer family looks cute enough to use all year and you can keep them plain to celebrate that lovely worn, weathered wood, or you can dolly them up by doodling a design on the sides. They would look lovely painted too or curly, wurly wire shapes.
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What you need
The reindeer family was quite literally “born” out of our pallet scraps. Their bodies are made from a well-worn and weathered piece of pallet wood. It’s thicker than normal, so I’m guessing it was the running board on a Stringer pallet. The legs are the rusty nails we removed when we took the pallet apart.
You’ll need four nails that are the same length for each reindeer. We have a huge bucket full of them. They can be used in so many different ways, like pear stalks or wire-woven crosses.
You’ll also need the following:
- Leather or fabric scraps
- 100 grit sandpaper
- Wood glue
- Jigsaw and Drill
- Jewelry wire or a Branch
- Reindeer family template
How to make the wooden reindeer family
These little guys take about 30 minutes to put together, and they’re really easy to make. Start by tracing the reindeer family template of the mommy, daddy, and baby reindeer onto a piece of wood. You can freehand your own version too. They’re basically just blobs with heads, which is probably why the hubby calls them “Mr. and Mrs. Blob and their son Bob” 😀 No respect, I tell you 😉
Cut the reindeer blobs out using a jigsaw. If you’ve never used a jigsaw before, here’s a handy guide to get you started.
Sand the edges lightly to get rid of any rough bits, and cut out two ears and a tail for each reindeer.
To form the reindeer ears, cut a small slit at the bottom of each ear and fold and glue the slits together, as shown below.
Putting everything together
To put the reindeer family together, drill four holes in the bottom of each reindeer blob. Make sure the drill bit goes in the same depth; otherwise, you’ll end up with a reindeer family that looks like they had way too many beers 😀
Add a small drop of glue to the tips of the rusty nails and push them inside the holes.
Make some horns by rolling a piece of jewelry wire around a pencil. Drill a small hole on top of the reindeer’s head, and insert the horns. If you don’t have any wire, small twigs will work too. Glue the ears and the tail on, and your reindeer family is done.
If the legs are a little wobbly or uneven, you can bend the nails slightly until your little reindeer is stable.
Don’t you love how comical those rusty nail legs look?
And how the wood of those rough, weathered pallets adds to their charm.
I really had sooooo much fun posing these little guys and taking photos of them.
And if you look at the baby reindeer from the front, he almost looks like he’s smiling. Or am I just imagining things?
If weathered pallets are not your style, you can get creative and paint them or doodle some squiggles and patterns on to create that Scandi chic look. My doodling skills suck 😀 so I printed some gorgeous watercolor wildflowers on clear sticky paper and stuck that on one side instead. You can download them here.
So now I have two versions of the same reindeer family. The doodle version ………
………. and a plain, weathered, pallet version.
Which version do you like more?
If you like the idea of making a rustic reindeer family from pallet scraps, don’t forget to pin it for later.
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And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.
28 thoughts on “DIY a Rustic Wooden Reindeer Family”
You have some really cute ideas here.
Thank you so much, Nina
These are just too cute!
? Thank you Maria
Oh that family is adorable, Michelle! We don’t have reindeers here either but who needs them with your version?
Great idea as always 🙂
? Awww thanks so much, Pili. I don’t think real reindeers would cope in our hot, sunny weather so we just have to compromise ?
These are so gorgeous and cute.
Thanks so much CLaire ?
Come on, the cutest little reindeer EVER! Brilliant using the rusty pallet nails for the legs. They would make such fun hostess gifts.
? Those little reindeer blobs are getting a lot comments from our friends here at home. I’m guessing I’ll be cutting quite a few more ?
Oh my, these gave me such a giggle. They are so adorable, I would love to see what your house is like.
Not so sure you want to see what our home looks like right now Anita. It’s one big chaotic mess with all the craft projects we have going on ?
These are adorable! I love the repurposed materials used to make this sweet family! The artwork on the side is amazing!
Thanks so much, Audra. I really enjoyed making these little guys, it was such a quick and easy decor project
These are adorable! These are so much cuter than the ones seen in stores. Last week I tore a pallet apart for making signs but threw out the thicker pieces. 🙁
Oh dear, sorry to hear that Linda, but the thinner pieces should work too.
These are so adorable! The rusty nails as legs really make them look so original. No reindeer in South Africa, not even Rudolph?
Nope sadly not even Rudolph, but we do have lots of other buck types here and the only one I know of that has horns similar to a reindeer is the fallow buck.
Michelle, these are just the most darling reindeer! You are so creative my friend. I love them.
? Thank you Kim
Such a fun DIY project!
You come up with the best ideas!
Thank you Robin and hugs right back at you ?
These are so darling. The instructions are excellent, Michelle!
Glad you like the tutorial and the reindeer Lori, thank you
Michelle only you can come up with ideas to repurpose old rusty nails. And what a fantastic idea it is. Love these cute little reindeer. Why should Santa get all of the spotlight?
? Yes!!! Santa gets enough love, it’s the reindeer family’s turn
Oh Michelle, these reindeer are adorable! And what fun you had making them! You are my kind of people reusing scraps and bits and bobs. Well done!
Thanks for the inspiration.
? You’re most welcome Lynn and so happy you like the reindeer family.