Christmas Decorations: Paper Mache Snowman

Don't feel like spending too much money on your Christmas decoration this year? Why not make these simple and inexpensive paper mache snowmen?

Christmas is a time for families and friends to come together and celebrate the holiday season and the birth of Christ. With office parties, family get-togethers and spur-of-the-moment parties with friends Christmas can also be a time of party stress. Menus need to be planned, guest lists need to be finalized and decorations need to be purchased to give the party area some extra flair. This year why not create your own Christmas decorations instead of dipping into your Christmas-gift fund to purchase expensive decorations? One of the simplest decorations you can create that will still look elegant is a paper mache snowman.

Before beginning this project, be sure to gather your materials together to make the production of the snowman smoother. Here is a list of the materials you will need:

* Three balloons blown up to three sizes: small, medium and large

* Large plastic bowl

* Regular white craft glue

* Water

* Newspaper cut into strips three to four inches long and one inch wide

* Butcher paper

* Wax paper

* Glue gun

* Two wooden skewers

* Various colors of poster paint

* Paintbrushes

* Snowman accessories including a pipe, hat, buttons (for eyes), branches (for arms)

Spread your working surface with butcher paper so you do not get your table or working surface dirty. In your large plastic bowl, pour in half your bottle of glue and mix in a few tablespoons of water to thin the glue out. You do not want the glue to be too thick or it will take much longer for the project to dry. Work with one balloon at a time, starting with the largest balloon (this will serve as the base of your snowman). Completely dip a strip of the newspaper into the glue, using your thumb and forefinger to squeeze the excess glue off the strip. Place the sticky strip of newspaper onto the balloon. Continue this process until the entire balloon is covered with newspaper. Once the balloon is covered with one layer of newspaper, put the balloon aside on a piece of wax paper and begin to work on the medium-sized balloon. Once the medium balloon has a layer of newspaper on it, put it aside on a separate piece of wax paper and begin work on the small balloon. Once each of the three balloons has a layer of newspaper on it, allow them to dry a bit and then put on a second layer of newspaper on each of them. Allow them to dry once more and add the final third layer of newspaper on the balloons. Once you have finished applying the newspaper layers to the balloons, allow them to dry completely (if you have time, let them dry overnight).

When the balloons have completely dried, use your paintbrush to paint each of the balloons white (if you would rather use spray paint, be sure to use it in a well-ventilated area). On the wider part of your large balloon, cut a small hole with a diameter of approximately three inches. This will give your snowman a base upon which to sit. Sit the largest balloon down and in the top and center part of the balloon, plunge the wooden skewer halfway in. Using a glue gun, glue the area around the skewer and allow it to dry. On the top and central part of the medium-sized balloon (on the narrow part), plunge the second skewer halfway in and reinforce it with the hot glue. Once the glue has completely dried, plunge the medium-sized balloon onto the skewer sticking out from the largest balloon and then plunge the small balloon onto the skewer sticking out from the medium balloon. You now have your "snowman" template.

Using your poster paint, you can now accessorize your snowman in whatever way you wish. You can paint clothes onto your snowman like a vest or a belt buckle. Use your snowman accessories (buttons, branches, etc) to add the final touches to your decorative snowman.

© High Speed Ventures 2011