My first December in Minnesota has me embracing my Scandinavian roots in a major way. Norwegian traditions like lefse-making, putting up straw ornaments, and watching for the nisse have always been a part of our family’s holiday celebration, but this year I’ve found Christmas inspiration in other places…
Taking style cues from petroglyphs in the Alta Fjord, I designed a simple reindeer out of basic shapes – similar to the stylized art made way, way, waaaay back in 4200 B.C.
The bold and bright decoration is influenced by the colorful styles of Scandinavia’s Sámi – the only indigenous people of Scandinavia. The Sámi have a long tradition of herding reindeer, helping herds navigate their migration paths every year, and protecting them (throughout all seasons) from an ever-growing list of dangers.
Let Håkan introduce you to a true northern reindeer…
This artful project is a fun way for kids to decorate their own reindeer, but it’s also sprinkled with small reminders of the past and of these spectacular beauties.
For your own DIY cereal box reindeer:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- Scrap paper, felt, washi tape, etc.
- Jingle bells, feathers, or other decorative supplies
- Acrylic or tempera paint and brushes
- Markers, ink, or chalk pens (this is the white chalk marker I use)
DIY Cereal Box Reindeer Instructions:
- Cut out your cereal box sides and reindeer template pieces
Cut two large sides of a cereal box. Download, print & cut out our large free reindeer template pieces. 1 set will make a reindeer standing up tall, the other will make a reindeer bending down to hunt for lichen.
- Trace each templates onto a folded cereal box side
Fold both cereal box sides in half with the printed side facing OUT. Line the long edge of each template piece up at the fold in your box sides and trace each reindeer template piece onto each side.
- Cut out your reindeer cereal box pieces
Cut out your cereal box pieces along the traced lines, but DON’T cut at the fold.
With your cereal box pieces cut, open up and fold to the reverse so the brown cardboard side faces toward you. We’ll leave the body piece open, but glue the head piece together with craft glue so it’s flat.
Decorate your reindeer with art and craft supplies! I used black washi tape, strips of colorful foam sheets, and scrap paper, but you can use nature supplies, office label stickers, holiday wrapping supplies – anything you happen to have around.
You can use paper scraps, paint or a marker to make an eye and nose. Use cereal box scraps to cut simple ears and a tail.
- Cut a short line at the top of the main reindeer body piece
Cut a short line at the fold in your body piece. This is where we’ll insert the neck of the head piece and glue shortly.
- Add stick legs with a glue gun
Using four sticks that are equal in length (an adult might need to help trim them up) add two to one side of your reindeer body. These will be the legs! Try to make sure the bottom of your sticks are evenly aligned – this will keep your reindeer standing steady.
Once dry, flip over and add your other two legs. Again, you’ll want to make sure the bottom of the legs line up with the first two so your reindeer stands up.
- Insert the head piece and glue to secure
Slide the “neck” of your reindeer into the cut at the top fold of the body and secure with a little craft glue or hot glue.
- Add twig antlers!
This is the step that truly turns your cereal box assemblage into a reindeer! Use a hot glue gun to glue a twig or two to the top of your reindeer’s head.
Truly a MAGNIFICENT reindeer. The combination of graphic and natural elements make for a unique handmade addition to any winter windowsill, holiday tablescape, or other spot your reindeer might like to stop and pose for the paparazzi.
*A note about Amazon affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click-through to make a purchase, we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!