Make a 19th-Century-Inspired Ornament

Modeled after decorations in turn-of-the-19th-century style, these papier-mache ornaments spread good cheer whether they're hung from your tree or positioned around the house.


What You Need

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  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Celluclay instant papier-mache
  • White glue
  • 3-inch-diameter green plastic-foam ball (body)
  • Resealable plastic bag
  • Thin palette knife
  • Thin wire
  • Acrylic paints: antique white, brown, black, pink, and silver
  • Brush-on water-base clear finish
  • Mica flakes
  • Crafts glue
  • Silver glass glitter
  • Pink tinsel garland

How to Make It

  1. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix a few handfuls of instant papier-mache with warm water, following the manufacturer's instructions. It's best to mix small batches of dry papier-mache and keep the mixture in a resealable plastic bag while you work. Knead the mixture with your hands until it's a smooth, workable consistency. Keep a small bowl of water handy to dip your fingers in as you form the snowman on the cookie sheet.
  3. Apply a thin coat of white glue around the foam ball before coating it with the wet mixture. Note: The mixture adheres better if you use the glue.
  4. Apply a generous layer of the mixture over the entire ball for the body, smoothing out bumps and ridges with your hands. The finished ball should be about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.
  5. Place the wet ball on the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Gently press down on the body, creating a flat bottom so the snowman will sit upright.
  6. Complete the paper-mache sculpting as follows: Roll a 1-3/4-inch ball of mixture for the head. Set the ball on the top of the body, gently smoothing the ball into the body at the neck area. Insert a toothpick through the center of the head to secure it to the body.
  7. Roll tiny balls of the mixture for the nose and cheeks. Press the balls onto the face. Use a palette knife to smooth the features and a toothpick to shape the eyebrows, eyes, and mouth.
  8. Shape a small column of the mixture for the hat and attach it to the top of the head. Smooth the edges into the ball. Cut a 3-inch length of wire and fold it in half to create a loop. Twist the ends together. Insert the twisted end into the top of the hat. Smooth the mixture around the base of the loop.
  9. Place the cookie sheet with the snowman bauble in an oven set at a low temperature and bake for at least 2 hours or until hardened. Remove the snowman from the oven and let sit on the sheet until cool. Lightly sand the figure until the surface is smooth.
  10. Paint the head antique white. Paint the cheeks and nose pink. Use antique white and pink to paint stripes around the body and to add words, dotted borders, and stars. Paint the hat and wire loop silver. Use black for the eyebrows, eyes, and mouth. When the paint is dry, create an aged patina by mixing a small amount of brown paint with water; apply this mixture to the figure.
  11. When the paint is completely dry, brush clear finish on the areas that you want to sparkle. Immediately sprinkle mica flakes over the wet finish. Allow to dry and then brush off the excess mica flakes. Apply bands of glue around the snowman's body; immediately sprinkle glass glitter over the glue. Add glass glitter to the hat in the same way. Apply a band of glue around the neck and press a length of tinsel garland into the glue.
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