Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Make a Palm Frond Reindeer

Palm Fond Reindeer
Palm frond reindeer, especially red-nosed Rudolph, are found all over the coastal regions in the winter.  Having grown up in the north, I never heard of them.  Then I moved south and a neighbor of mine, who happened to hail from Tampa, FL, gave me one.  I've been a fan ever since.

Making your own palm frond reindeer is a snap, and can be a great kid's craft activity - I've made them with my own kids as playdate and pre-school activities.  They make great decorations inside and outside of the house and are always an appreciated gift.  Want to make one yourself?  Keep reading to see how you can.

Where to Find Fronds
Since not everyone has palm trees in their yard, even along the coast, keep an eye out for palm fronds in the following places:
  • Felled Fronds:  When we lived in Savannah, our yard was home to several palm trees, including cabbage palm trees.  These are the ideal trees for this simple craft.
Cabbage Palm trunk with fronds
Palm fronds fell from the trees often enough that we could keep an eye out for craft-worthy fronds around the base of trees.
Backyard palm trees drop fronds throughout the year.
We even find palm fronds at base of palm tree in shopping center parking lots.
  • Nature Walks:  Walking and biking paths are great places to find fronds along the southern coast.  Fronds are always around the base of the palm trees.   And, the next time you are at a GA, SC, or FL beach, keep an eye out for palm fronds that wash in with the tide.  These feature a nice, weathered look
Walking path in Savannah, GA
A palm frond washed in by tide and found along the rack line in Hilton Head, Island, SC. 
  • Vacation Properties:  Next time you go on a beach vacation, take a look at the palm trees on the hotel property. Even the best maintained trees drop fronds. 
Palm about to drop its frond along hotel property walkway
I 'may' have helped it fall off.
  • Phone a Friend:  Someone always knows someone, right?  If you don't live near palm trees, and aren't planning to vacation anywhere near palm trees soon, but still want to make your own palm frond reindeer, you can always call a relative or friend.  Ask someone to send you a frond, send you a completed craft, etc.  And, thanks to lots of great resources online, you can always order a completed palm frond reindeer from Etsy or eBay, etc.
Preparing a Palm Frond:
Once you have gathered a palm frond or two, prepare it for your reindeer:
  • De-bugging:  Many tiny little bugs call palm trees home, and you definitely don't want these in your house.  The easiest way to de-bug a palm frond is to simply place it in an air-tight bag for a few days.  If you want to also spray some bug spray in there, feel free to do so.  
  • Trimming:  Use a rasp, saw, etc. to trim the frond as desired.    
Making the Reindeer:
  • All you need for the basic palm frond reindeer are googly eyes, mini pom-poms and a hook for the back.
Basic Supplies Needed for Palm Frond Reindeer
  • Get creative.  More artistic folks paint beautiful faces.  Others enjoy adding jingle bells, ribbons, etc. to personalize the reindeer even more.  
Hot Glue Eyes and a nose.
  • Add a hook by adhering a floral wire hoop by applying a generous amount of glue - I find hot glue holds the best.
Hot glue holds floral wire to the back.
That's all it takes. The reindeer is complete.  Hang him on display and enjoy!
Reindeer hung by screened porch door
Reindeer hanging on interior wall.
Reindeer hanging in the plants.
Next time you are in a coastal setting, take a look and see if there are any palm fronds waiting to become a reindeer!

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