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How to Make a Rustic Santa Craft

Rustic Santa craft

Rustic Santa craft

Rustic Old World Santa Craft

This Santa craft is meant for any rustic Christmas lovers who would like to make a Santa to include in their Christmas decorations. The most difficult part of this project is bending and snipping the wire coat hangers. Once that is done, the remaining steps of making a rustic Santa are really quite easy.

The body of Santa is made using wire coat hangers to form the body and then covering it with papier-mâché. Although this takes a few days to finish, because you have to wait for the papier-mâché to dry, the time is well worth it. After painting the face, mittens, and shoes, Santa is dressed in burlap trousers and a hooded coat.

When completed, you have created a handmade, unique rustic Santa. While you are at it, make two. This is an outstanding gift to give to a Santa collector.

Supplies Needed

  • Two wire coat hangers
  • 2 ” Styrofoam ball
  • Board scrap (mine was a 1”x4”x5”)
  • Staples
  • Newspaper
  • Papier-mâché paste
  • Paint
  • Burlap

Step 1. Prepare the Wire Hangers

Bend the wire coat hangers to form arms and legs. Bend the folded ends of one hanger to form Santa’s feet. Straighten the curved hanger part of the body wire. From the second bent wire hanger, remove the curved hanger part of the hanger.


Step 2. Form the Santa Armature

Cut the hanger just above the bent end to form the arms. Shape the shoulders and elbows. Wire the two “neck” pieces of the hangers together and push the Styrofoam ball over them to form Santa’s head. I wired my Santa’s feet to a piece of cardboard and later to a piece of wood, but it makes more sense to just staple Santa’s feet to the piece of wood. Reference the photos.


Step 3. Add the Papier-Mâché

Cover the Styrofoam ball with a coat of papier-mâché paste before adding the papier-mâché pieces to the head. Using torn strips of newspaper dipped in the paste, glue a few strips over the ball and down the neck. Always smooth the strips well as you go along. Cover the body, arms, and legs with papier-mâché.


Step 4. Add the Details: Mittens, Shoes, Nose, Eyebrows, and Beard

Cover the ends of the arms to form mittens and the feet to form shoes. Scrunch pieces of newspaper pieces in paste and add to the face to form hair, beard, nose, and eyebrows. Let dry thoroughly. This could take a couple of days. Paint Santa’s face flesh-colored. Paint his mittens and shoes black. Optional: Paint eyes on Santa.


Step 5. Dress the Vintage Santa in Burlap

I took a narrow strip of burlap, about an inch wide, and starting at the bottom of one leg, glue the end of the wrap at the bottom of one leg and wrap around the leg to form a trouser leg. Do the same with the second leg.

Attach the burlap strip to the back of Santa’s body, right above the legs, and keep wrapping to finish dressing the body. Cut two rectangle pieces of burlap, about 6”x8” for the coat sleeves. On the 8” side of the rectangle, fold the piece into a cuff. Overlap and glue the 6” ends, and slide the sleeve over the arm. Glue the top and sides of the sleeve to the Santa body. Repeat for the second sleeve.

Cut a rectangle of burlap, about 12” x 12”. Center and glue the piece at Santa’s back, the bottom of the coat should just touch or almost touch the board. Snip down on the burlap to fit the burlap under Santa’s sleeves and to the front of Santa. Fold back the front of the coat to make a wide lapel, then with any extra burlap, form a tuck next to the sleeve to fit the coat onto the Santa.

The finished Santa Claus

The finished Santa Claus

How to Make Santa's Face

Ravel a couple of 3”x 2” pieces of burlap, but leave about and inch unraveled, to form Santa’s beard. Glue the beard to Santa’s face. Add a few strings of the raveled pieces to make a mustache and hair.

Cut a rectangle of burlap, 4”x 12”, and form a cuff on one long edge for the front of Santa’s hood. Center the strip over the Santa head, and glue in place. Overlap and glue the back of the hood. Paint eyes on Santa. Google "painting Santa's eyes" images for ideas.

© 2013 Loraine Brummer