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Make one of these easy projects for a wonderful handmade holiday!
I picked out 18 of my favorite easy ideas for gifts or holiday decor, but there are over 2,000 posts on this site. If you don’t see the perfect idea in the video or the list below, be sure to click on the Blog-Art Library and the Daily Sculptors page links at the top of the site for many more ideas.
Christmas decor ideas:
This little guy is one of the most popular projects on this site. It looks a lot like Santa, and many people call it a gnome, but it’s actually based on a Nordic mythological creature called a Tomte or Nisse. He’s small, fast adorable. Click here to see the full tutorial.
Angel Tree Topper
My little angel tree topper was made with the silky smooth air dry clay recipe on my site, but you could use paper strips and paste instead, and paint the feathers on the wings instead of sculpting them. It’s an easy project, and it will make your tree really special. Click here to see the tutorial.
You might also like to see my tutorial on an easy way to make feathers, in case you want to make a larger angel.
Santa Wall Sculpture
I made this portrait of Santa right during a blizzard after I moved to the Midwest. It’s made withe paper mache clay, and the base under it was made with paper stuffed inside a plastic bag. I enjoy sculpting faces, as long as it doesn’t have to be an exact likeness of a real person. Nobody knows what santa looks like, so you don’t have to worry about getting it right. I used the paper inside a plastic bag idea for the snowman that’s coming up soon. Click here for the tutorial.
This way to make a mask over wet clay is actually easier – and that’s probably how I’d make the Santa if I made it again. 🙂
Practical gift ideas:
This yarn bowl is made with plaster cloth and air dry clay. It’s a very strong combination, and I’m actually using mine right now while I crochet a new scarf. It doesn’t take much time to make, and anyone who knits or crochets would really enjoy receiving one. I left mine white, but it would be fun to add some painted designs around the outside. Click here for the tutorial.
The little chicken should go in the ‘good project to do with kids’ section down below, but she’s in the yarn bowl photo so I’ll mention her here. It’s a very easy project – just crumpled paper covered with paper mache clay, but if you’re making some chickens with kids, you might want to use paper strips and paste instead. A lot of people collect all sorts of chickens – wall art, clocks, ceramic figurines – and if you know one of those folks, this would be a great gift for them. Click here for the tutorial.
This was actually the very first project in my book Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay.
Speaking of chickens – this chicken clock was a personal challenge to see if I could make something in just three hours (not counting the drying time). I might not make it exactly the same way if I did it again. But it did work, and if you know someone who collects chicken figurines, they’d love a chicken clock, too. Click here for the tutorial.
If you like chickens but would like a more challenging project, see my video series on making a rooster portrait with epoxy clay.
Goose Pen Holder
This little goose pen holder didn’t take long to make, either, and it would be a great gift for someone to put on their desk. I love practical gift items like this, because they’re seen every day, and they remind you of the person who took the time to make it for you. Click here for the tutorial.
Paper mache projects to make with kids:
If you’d like to help your kids or grandkids make gifts, there are a few projects that I think you’ll enjoy creating together. The first two kind of go together, if you make them the same size.
Panda Wall Sculpture
This little panda face is quite small, and it’s really easy to make. You create the shapes with some foil and hot glue – or hold the pieces together with masking tape. Then cover it with one layer of newspaper strips and paste, let it dry, and paint it. He looks really cute on a small wooden plaque. Click here for the tutorial.
Baby Orangutan Wall Sculpture
I made my baby orangutan face a bit larger, but I used the same methods that were used to make the panda. If you make them both the same size, and perhaps add one more animal – maybe a raccoon or a baby sloth – and put them on three little plaques, they’d make a great gift for a new baby or anyone who likes animals. Click here for the tutorial.
Paper Mache Snowman
This silly snowman might belong with the holiday decor ideas, but he’s so easy to make that I decided to put him here, with projects to make with kids. It’s made over a plastic bag stuffed with paper, which is then covered with paper mache clay. If you don’t have the ingredients for paper mache clay, just use paper strips and paste instead. It doesn’t cost anything, but you’ll have a nice keepsake to bring out and show off every winter. Or make it for someone special, and let them enjoy it each year. Click here for the tutorial.
Gifts for a new baby
Woodland Baby Mobile
Eileen Gallagher wrote this tutorial to show us how to make this delightful mobile with woodland animals hanging on it. Her post includes photos of each of the animals, and she explains how to hang them. It would make a wonderful gift for a new baby. Click here for Eileen’s tutorial.
Baby Giraffe Wall Sculpture
Terry Czechowski made this giraffe with paper mache over foam, and wrote a complete tutorial showing us how to do it. This is a lot bigger than the other items on this list, but it isn’t hard to do – and wouldn’t it look wonderful in a baby’s nursery? Older kids who love animals would like to have one for their rooms, too. Click here for Terry’s tutorial.
Small but special gifts
This hummingbird ornament would make a really special gift for someone who loves decorating their Christmas tree with handmade ornaments. If you use a shimmery paint, it will reflect the Christmas lights on the tree, and really stand out. Click here for the tutorial.
These bluebirds were among the very first projects I made for my website, over 10 years ago. They’re very easy to make, but they’d make a great gift for anyone who loves birds. You can even turn them into tree ornaments, if you want. There are a lot of other kinds of birds that could be made just as easily, with basically the same shape but different colors. Click here for the tutorial.
This little mouse doesn’t take much more time to make, and it’s been one of the most popular projects on the site ever since it was shown on this site. There’s a pattern included on the post to make it even easier. I gave mine a piece of cheddar cheese, just to add a bit of color, and he’s standing on a wooden “bun foot” from the DIY store. They make great stands for small sculptures like this. Click here for the tutorial.
Saw Whet Owl
There’s a free pattern for this tiny owl, which is quite easy to make. You use crumpled foil over the pattern to fill out the forms, and then cover the foil with paper mache clay. It’s a very small owl, but with those big eyes he makes a big statement – and anyone would be delighted to receive it as a gift. Click here for the tutorial.
Folk Art Bunny
This little folk art bunny is a real reader favorite. He’s also sitting on a bun foot, and he’s made with crumpled foil over the free pattern that you can download to your device and print. I made mine with some air dry clay that I bought, just to try it out. But you could also use the air dry clay recipe on this site, or make him with paper strips and paste. Click here for the tutorial.
How to find more great paper mache gift ideas:
There are over 2,000 posts on this site. If you don’t see something that you want to make on this page, it will be easy to find more ideas.
- Click on the Blog/Art Library link (it’s also at the top of the site) for full tutorials.
- Check out the Daily Sculptors Page to see what other paper mache artists have made. We get new posts almost every day, so be sure to check back often.
- To find the patterns for the masks and sculptures behind me in the video, and many more, go to the Mask and Sculpture Patterns page.
Do you have a favorite paper mache Christmas idea that isn’t on this page? Tell us about it in the comment section below.