Doll makers have used papier mache for a long time to make dolls of many kinds, including Santa Clauses. You can make a papier mache Santa Claus from scrap materials you have around the house. The resulting Santa figurine will have a rough, folk art-like quality to it and can become a charming addition to a Christmas display on your mantel or your dining table.
Lay down newspapers on your work area. Tear up the newspapers into small pieces and strips. Place the pieces and strips in separate piles.
Insert a wooden chopstick into the Styrofoam ball. Add a little glue to the hole made by the stick to keep it in place. Let the glue dry.
Add undiluted glue to the bottom of the ball where you inserted the stick into the ball and place the ball and stick on an emply plastic water bottle. The stick should go inside the bottle, leaving the ball sticking out on top. Press down on the ball, keeping pressure on it. It should look as if the bottle has a head. Let the glue dry.
Mix equal parts craft glue and water in a bowl. Dip a thin strip of newspaper into the glue mixture and carefully wrap it around the base of the ball and the neck of the bottle. Do this two or three times, making sure that you cover the ball and the bottle with the newspaper strips. These act as a reinforcing collar to keep the ball on the bottle. Allow the glue to dry.
Paste strips of glue-coated newspapers down the entire bottle, covering the bottle completely with strips of paper. Form the newspaper strips toward the bottom of the bottle so that they look a little like a skirt. This creates the basis for Santa Claus's long coat. Add several layers of newspaper strips. Let dry.
Form a small nose from clay. Roll a tiny bead-shaped piece that's proportionate to the styrofoam ball head. Glue it onto the styrofoam ball.
Make a beard using newspaper strips and glue. Use a toothpick to make curly grooves in the beard. Glue it onto the ball.
Make a hat-shaped piece out of clay. Glue it onto the top of the ball.
Create arms from the clay. Make them so that they'll fit snugly against the body. Glue them on and allow to dry. This may take up to 48 hours.
Cover the head with the small bits of torn newspaper. You don't want strips for this portion. The glue-coated bits of paper will better conform to Santa's head. Add two or three layers to the head.
Coat the arms with the bits of glue-coated newspaper in the same manner that you did the head. Let dry.
Add several coats of gesso to the Santa. Gesso is a primer. Look for it in arts and crafts stores. Let dry.
Paint Santa Claus's face, hat and coat using the acrylic paint.
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