How to make a birch wood reindeer
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When the Christmas approaches, an eco-friendly, handmade birch wood reindeer with a bow or wreath around its neck is a festive decoration. This reindeer can be disassembled after the season and stored until next year. Birch wood is relatively easy to cut, carve and shave.
If birch is not naturally found in your area, you can purchase birch logs online. Since natural materials are used, no two reindeer will look exactly alike.
Gather wood pieces
- The length and diameter of the other body parts will be in proportion to this log.
- The legs are the same length as the torso but about one-quarter the diameter.
Saw a log for the torso. The length and diameter of the other body parts will be in proportion to this log.
Saw two logs for the neck and head. The lengths for these logs are half of the torso log and about half the diameter.
Cut four logs of the same length for the legs. The legs are the same length as the torso but about one-quarter the diameter.
Use the pruning clippers and cut two branches for the antlers. Make sure they are in proportion to the size of your reindeer and about 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) in diameter. Also clip a small 7.5 cm (3 inch) twig, 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) diameter for the tail.
Drill holes in logs
- Drill a straight hole on the top of the body torso about 7.5 cm (3 inches) from the front for the neck log and one hole 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the back end of the body for the tail.
- The bottom peg will fit into the top, front hole of the torso.
Drill a straight hole on the top of the body torso about 7.5 cm (3 inches) from the front for the neck log and one hole 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the back end of the body for the tail. The tail twig will fit directly into this hole. Underneath the body, drill four holes for the legs. Angle the holes in so the legs will stand naturally.
Drill a straight hole in the top centre of each leg. Saw four 5 cm (2 inch) dowel pegs and glue the pegs into the leg holes with wood glue. The leg pegs will fit into the four leg holes of the torso.
Drill a straight hole in the centre top and bottom of the neck piece. Saw two 5 cm (2 inch) dowel pegs and glue the pegs into the holes with wood glue. The bottom peg will fit into the top, front hole of the torso.
Drill one angled-in hole in the bottom centre of the head piece. The top neck peg will fit into this hole. Decide on the placement of the antlers and drill 2 angled-in holes on the top of the head. The antler branches will fit directly into these holes.
- Shave the bark from half of the front of the head for the face using the draw knife.
- Paint a pair of round black eyes on the shaved face.
Shave the bark from half of the front of the head for the face using the draw knife. Shave enough to angle the face so that it resembles a deer's muzzle.
Paint a pair of round black eyes on the shaved face. Add eyebrows by arching the eyes with white paint. Craft eyes can be glued on instead if you prefer.
Assemble the reindeer after the glue and paint dries. Decorate the reindeer to fit your particular colour or Christmas theme.
- Wear gloves and goggles when using the saw and drill.
Cassandra Walters is a professional educator and freelance writer. She co-edited a published novel and elementary curricula, and covers DIY projects and home-and-garden topics in her articles. Walters graduated from Pan American University with a Bachelor of Arts in education and a minor in English.