Easy Paper Mache Deer Head Makeover

December 18, 2023

Learn how to update the look of a basic paper mache deer head using joint compound from the hardware store.

CHRISTMAS   |   Updated December 17, 2023

I had a paper mache stag head that I had purchased at Hobby Lobby and wanted to do something more with him than just add a coat of paint. There had a been a pricey white version at Target that had caught my eye, so I decided to take a try at recreating the look of it at home with the deer I already had. And maybe you have a similar one hanging around as well.

Rather than just paint over the paper mache, I used a thin coat of joint compound from the hardware store to create some texture over the paper. Using this product gives the deer an almost stone like appearance. (I've used it to update a thrift store lamp in the past, too.)

Also, it is a great way to "fix" the paper mache when it breaks in places like where the horns meet the deer's head. The joint compound will hold it all together if you add a little more in these areas.

What You'll Need

There are just a few supplies you'll need to add texture to your own paper mache deer.

How to Give a Makeover to Your Paper Mache Deer

While it is a messy job using joint compound for a craft product, it is also easy and you can't mess up the project. You may even be able to get your kids to help out.

I just smear it on with my fingers, using more than I need to create a lot of texture. Just be sure that you don't put it on too thick or it will take forever to dry and may crack as it does. A couple thin coats is better than one thick one.

The compound will turn pure white when it is all dry. And when it does, use a fine grit sandpaper to gently smooth out the surface. Not enough that all that great texture disappears, but just enough so that the bumps and ridges of the compound even out.

After my deer was as smooth as I wanted, I painted him with one coat of Fusion Mineral Paint in Casement. It looked similar to one that I found in Target for more money, so I was pleased.

Until I saw one at Michaels that was painted dark gray with light gray dry brushing and fell in love with him as well. Are a few more coats of paint in this little guy's future?

I really do love the contrast between the pure white deer and the vibrant green and red boxwood and berry wreath, though. While neutrals are always my go to, those beautiful pops of red and green at Christmas really add something special to the decor.

READ NEXT: How to Make Your Own Boxwood and Berry Wreath

Thank you so much for visiting today and I hope that your Christmas season is continuing to be full of joy and that you are taking in all that the holiday has to offer.

More Christmas DIY Projects to Try

DIY GOLD BEAD GARLAND - Give a simple antique inspired makeover to your old discarded Christmas beads


NO-SEW TABLE RUNNER - Great for your Christmas table or make a few to give away as gifts!

DIY CLAY CANDY CANES - Perfect for any style home

HAND PAINTED CHRISTMAS PILLOW - Learn how to transform a basic neutral pillow into a holiday keepsake.

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