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diy christmas menagerie

I’ve had these little paper doll animals floating around in my head forever, and now they finally exist in the real world!  I wanted to make a tiny menagerie of animals who were kind of peaceful and still and full of the quiet joy of Christmas, for you to use in any way you like — they can be ornaments, gift decorations or tags, shadow puppets, or just toys for your little ones.  Here’s how you do it.

First, download and print this template and this template on white or cream cardstock.  Cut out all the figures — animals, extra moving parts, and six holly wreaths.

Next, use a tiny paintbrush and some grey or silver paint to define the animals’ characteristics.  Just lightly trace the lines that are there for you already.  I didn’t trace the outlines of the animals — just the lines on the inside of each figure.

Then, glitter the animals if you like.  I used iridescent glitter on cream cardstock.  Use some tiny brads to attach the moving parts to each animal.  Make sure all the legs are in the right places!  Then glitter the holly wreaths.  I used light green glitter for these.

Once all of the animals are put together, glue a holly wreath around each of their necks.  Then use them however you like!  If you’d like to hang them as ornaments or on gift boxes, either tape some string to their backs or make a tiny hole to thread the string through.  Enjoy these — I sure love them.  Merry Christmas!  xoxo


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13 thoughts on “diy christmas menagerie

  1. Oh, Chelsea, I just love these and I love your comment about the animals and the quiet joy of Christmas. This is so funny–I have just been thinking of something I usually do at Christmas. When it’s very quiet, sometimes I can hear the swishing as the animals move in the hay in the stable in Bethlehem. It’s very quiet, and there are occasional baby noises, too. I love your animals and I love your idea. xoxoxoxo

  2. These are just precious – pinning to my christmas board so I can make them for next year!!!

  3. These are sooo cute and just like what I’m looking for to make my own wedding decos! Like, butterflies and deer perhaps? Oh, and….sparrows or something of that sort? Any idea where to get them? btw, I loooove your blog and I’m so glad I found it! Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Ellie,
      As I made these from scratch, I don’t know that there’s a place to get other specific animals. If you’re interested in commissioning a custom DIY, please contact me at hello{at}lovelyindeed{dot}com. Thanks!

  4. I love this idea. However when I printed the templates the outline of the animals is hardly visible! I’m not an artist, so I need your help.

    1. Hi Gloria! Sorry about the faint print — I actually did that on purpose, so that the faint line would be an actual outline on the piece once you cut it out. For a creative solution, see Shari’s comment below! Glad you like the project. 🙂

  5. I saw this in the Sunday paper and thought it would be fun to make these with my granddaughter. I agree with those who responded above, the print is very faint. So I printed them on plain paper and will take a sharpie and write over them and then copy on card stock. Thanks so much for this idea!

  6. Nice idea, to bad it is not printed darker. It is so faint I can’t see anything but the green garland. 🙁 Was going to make some.

    1. Hi Denise, thanks for your comment. They are printed light purposefully, so that the border is part of the gray design. However, when I did many test prints I was able to see the outlines clearly every time. Perhaps check that your printer settings are correct, or darken them for your purposes. Thanks!

  7. I love your animals, especially the dove. I love birds.. But I do not find anyplace to download the templets. Am I not looking in the right place?

  8. Andre,

    The templates are in a link in the second paragraph near the top of the article. Look for the green lettering. If you click on each link the template will open and then you can right click and save it as a pdf in your file manager (Documents). Make sure, when you save them, that you put them in your documents (or someplace easy) so you can find them later.

  9. I have tried everything to get these to print out so the images are actually visible, different types & colors of paper, adjusting printer settings, & like others have commented, they’re just too light to see. Is there any way you could offer a 2nd set of downloads that have darker outlines? I would just love to make some of these darling animals.