A life size paper mache Santa Claus makes a Christmas decoration that your family can pass down through the generations. Create your own holiday heirloom in a few easy steps. Put a few common objects and some paper mache to work constructing the perfect Santa Claus. You might want to pick up a enough supplies for more than one Santa, because when your friends and relatives see yours they will surely want one of their own.
Assemble Santa Claus using two wire tomato cages--the type that is shaped like a cone--these become the legs. Stand the top wires of the cages straight up and then push a large Styrofoam cooler, with the top taped on, into the wires to secure it to the cages. The cooler will be the foundation for Santa's torso.
Attach two dryer vent hoses--of the type that is flexible and resembles a fabric-covered coil--to the top sides of the cooler to be used as the arms. Use thin wire to pierce both the Styrofoam and the dryer vents to secure the arms to the cooler.
Use a piece of cardboard that is rolled up and taped for the neck. You need to judge the size of the neck and cut the cardboard roll accordingly. Use thin wire again to pierce both the Styrofoam and the cardboard to attach the two together.
Blow up a balloon to use for the head; judge the size by holding it up over the neck of the Santa. Use scotch tape to secure it to the cardboard neck. The paper mache will secure the pieces together once it dries. The head and the other parts need to be secured just enough to apply the paper mache.
Purchase enough boxed paper mache plaster for a project of this size. Gather as many newspapers as you can find. Cut the newspapers into four inch wide strips and mix the paper mache plaster according to the directions on the box.
Start at the bottom of the Santa around the area of the feet and wrap the paper mache plaster-soaked newspapers tight around the bottoms of the tomato cages. As you work your way up each leg, start hanging the pieces of plaster-soaked paper down from the cooler and attach them to the legs. This allows Santa's pant legs to take on a boxed appearance for straight up and down legs.
Mold the rest of the Santa with the plastered paper strips.
Bunch up dry newspaper and tape it to Santa's belly area Santa for a bulge to put paper mache over, giving Santa the pot belly he is usually depicted with. Improvise with bunched-up newspapers where you need to add curves or girth.
Apply extra plaster-soaked paper to the face so you can mold the features. Pinch the area for the eyes, build out the nose and pinch the area of the lips using the extra plaster soaked paper.
Lightly dip cotton balls in the plaster mixture and arrange them as a beard and mustache and pull other cotton balls apart for eyebrows. You can also use cotton around the rim of Santa’s hat.
Soak a pillow case in plaster and fill it with bunched dry newspaper. Arrange it over the shoulder of the Santa to dry in place.
Cut a pillow case to make Santa’s hat, using a corner of the pillow case as the cap’s tip. Soak it in plaster, stuff in some newspaper and apply it to his head.
Use a picture of Santa Claus as a model to paint the life-size figure when it is dry. Use acrylic paints. When you are done and all the paints are dry, spray Santa with polyurethane to preserve your creation for years to come.
Roz Zurko is a full time freelance writer who lives in Westfield, Massachusetts. She has been writing for 22 years and is published on several internet literary sites and in The Westfield Evening News. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The University of New Haven and Westfield State College.