Make: A Cardboard Deer Spring Craft for Kids

It’s been a cold and rainy spring here in Minnesota, and although the chilly days have slowed my progress outside, Mother Nature works away unphased. Bees have started emerging from the little leaf piles in the back gardens, birds have started nesting in the pine tree line by the shed, and the new bunny population seems as healthy as ever. And in an extra lucky turn of events, I spotted my first fawn of spring this week!

EVERY spring baby animal is cause for squeals of delight, but there’s something particularly precious about fawns. 70 percent wobbly legs, 20 percent ears + eyes, and the rest all spots and softness. It’s a comically cute combination, and watching one conquer learning to stand is like Bambi come to life.

Our cardboard deer kids craft posed with a flower, rocks, and moss standing in front of a white background

Inspired by our fawn sighting, we repurposed an idea and template from last season and made this standing cereal box deer – all dolled up for spring with ACTUAL fleurs from le garden! I couldn’t love our little cardboard fawn more, and the stick legs seem to perfectly express that still-learning-to-walk wobble.

Grab your little and spend some sweet moments observing this young fawn for design inspiration!

This lovely spring project is a wonderful way for kids to learn more about deer as they decorate their own using fresh supplies gathered from the garden, and we’ve included some resources further down in the post.

Our deer makes an incredibly cute recycled kids craft for any season, but for a special winter or holiday version, visit the original stand-up cereal box reindeer DIY here! Or stick with spring babies and build a juice carton birdhouse (with surprise baby birds hidden inside!)

For your own DIY cardboard spring deer:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*


  • A cereal box
  • Our free printable PDF deer templates
  • Scissors (I love this kind for cutting cardboard!)
  • Acrylic or tempera paint and brushes
  • A glue gun or craft glue
  • 4 solid sticks (for legs)
  • A glue stick
  • Flowers or small foliage from the garden


  • Feathers, felt, scrap paper, washi tape, or other decorative supplies
  • Markers, ink, or chalk pens (this is the white chalk marker I use)

DIY Cereal Box Spring Deer Instructions:

  1. Cut out your cereal box sides and deer template pieces

    Cut two large sides of a cereal box. Download, print & cut out our large free deer template pieces. The set we used for this will make a deer bending down to hunt for food. The other set will make a deer standing tall. Print your deer template and cut the sides off of a cereal box

  2. 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 deer template piece onto each side.
    Trace your deer templates onto the folded cereal box sides
    Tip: you can create a simpler variation of this activity for younger kids by making it 2-D. Skip the box folding, trace around the head and body, then cut out and paste together for a flat deer they can decorate. You can use two sticks for legs, or cut your own out of the leftover cereal box sides.

  3. Cut out your deer cereal box pieces

    Cut out your cereal box pieces along the traced lines, but DON’T cut at the fold. Use cereal box scraps to cut simple ears and a tail.
    Cut out your cereal box pieces and glue your deer head piece
    With your cereal box pieces cut, open up, and fold so the brown cardboard side faces out toward you. We’ll leave the body piece open, but glue the headpiece together with craft glue so it’s flat.

  4. Decorate with paint dots and swashes

    We wanted our fawn to look like a little whitetail deer, so we added some white spots by using a pencil eraser stamped in white paint. We also added a few white swashes along the back, belly, and throat (just like a real whitetail deer!)
    Add simple painted spots and white fur strokes to your deer with white paint.

  5. Add a face

    You can use paper scraps, paint, or a marker to make an eye and nose. Use a glue stick to glue on your cardboard ears.
    Add a face with scrap paper or similar art supplies.

  6. Glue the head to the body and decorate with natural supplies from the garden

    Slide the “neck” of your reindeer into the top fold of the body and secure it with a little craft glue or hot glue. This is an optional step, but in the spring, the fresh growth in the garden can be a great decoration! We glued on fresh cuttings from the garden with a glue stick.

    For a 2-D variation shown above, skip the glue and create different arrangements with your flowers and foliage or other loose parts. We also cut and pasted on four legs from the leftover cereal box scraps. As a variation, you can create a 2D deer and decorate with nature supplies or loose parts.

  7. Use a glue gun to secure the stick legs to the body

    Use the glue gun to add legs on both sides of your deer. Try to make sure the bottoms of your sticks are evenly aligned – this will keep your deer standing steady. Once dry, flip over and add your other two legs. Again, you’ll want to make sure the bottom of the legs lines up with the first two so your reindeer stands up.

Spring fawns – they MUST be the sweetest of spring’s woodland babies! Your completed deer makes for a unique handmade addition to any spring windowsill, tablescape, or other spots a curious little fawn might like to stop to nuzzle a green mossy patch.

More ways to play with your cereal box spring fawn

Round up a few fun deer facts, create a mini deer habitat (we like these cool dioramas from Art Bar for inspiration) or find some engaging deer-themed picture books (I like Zoe and the Fawn, A Mystery in the Forest, and the In My Forest – an interactive board book for little ones) to turn this art project into a learning opportunity!

A close-up photo of our cardboard deer kids craft posed with a flower, rocks, and moss standing in front of a white background

And because we’re here celebrating deer, a quick PSA: should you happen to spot a fawn alone in the grass, keep your distance, stay quiet, and resist the urge to think it may need “rescuing”. Though it may seem alone or abandoned, its mother is likely nearby. Mother deer actually leave their fawns for long stretches every day. Adult deer have scents that attract predators, while fawns have almost no detectable scents at all, so while it may not be what we humans are used to, it’s protective, natural behavior for deer.

Our cardboard deer decorated with spring flowers and other natural decorations sitting on a green surface in front of a light blue background.

For more spring animal crafts and activities, make a set of (floating!) ducklings from egg cartons, or grab some playdough and try a handful of baby turtle invitations. Explore more ways to create artful odes to spring with our folk art bunny tutorial, melted crayon butterflies, or bunny and chick cardboard sculptures!

Our decorated cardboard deer nature art invitation sitting on a white background with spring flowers

For kids who enjoy creating a habitat for their crafted creations, try making a cardboard secret garden – a spring deer sanctuary! Or combine your leftover foliage with playdough for sensory play fairy forests your fawn can forage in.

*A note about 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 Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. 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!

Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.


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