How To Make A Rustic Christmas Decoration – Rustic Santa

Ready to tackle a really unique DIY Rustic Christmas Decoration project?  

This Rustic Santa is sure to make your friends envious.  This project can be done in only a few hours and anyone from the complete amateur to the experienced craftsman is in for a treat!  

Tools & Materials

  • Approximately 2x2 piece of plywood.
  • Paint (Red, White, Yellow, Black, Blue...or whatever colors you have handy)
  • Stain
  • Wood Glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Pencil
rustic christmas decoration

Why Dremel Tools?

I think Dremel tools are a great asset for any DIY'er because they have such a wide range of capabilities. No matter what your project, trust me when I say, there will come a time that you will wish you had a Dremel.

Dremel Ultra Saw

Dremel Ultra Max

Dremel Rotary 4000

Dremel 4000
Let's get started on this awesome Rustic Christmas Decoration project!
rustic christmas decoration

We've broken down the video above into 8 simple steps for you to follow and make your own Santa.

Here's a look at the finished product: 

rustic christmas decoration

Step 1. Create Your Template

You can essentially use any design that you want.  Be creative and don't stress about being perfect.  Use the design below or find something else that you like and follow the same steps for your own Rustic Christmas Decoration creation!

Just make sure to use a straight edge to mark 2 equal halves on your plywood.  Then, just draw your design on one half of the board.  The blank half will be used for your base board.  ​

rustic christmas decoration

Step 2. Cut The Base Board to Size

In this tutorial, I started with a piece of 2x4 plywood (about 3/4" thick).  I simply drew a line in the center of my board and then drew another line in the center of one half of the board.  I ended up with approximately 24 inches with two equal halves of around 12 inches.  

I used a Dremel Ultra Saw to make my cuts.  You can also use any circular saw if you have one handy.

rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration

Step 3. Cut Out Your Design

Using my Dremel 4000 rotary tool, I attached a wood cutting bit and followed the general outline I drew on the plywood.  

Please note, it isn't necessary (or very easy) to follow the lines exactly.  Remember, this is a Rustic Christmas Decoration and imperfect lines are expected, if not desired.   

For this design you should have 8 total pieces not including the base board (body, beard, mustache, brim, hat, 2 stars, and nose).  ​

rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration

Step 4. Sand All Pieces

Because it is very difficult to create perfect lines, you will need to do some sanding to smooth the edges of all of your plywood pieces.  I used 120 grit sandpaper because it is coarse enough to handle rough edges, yet smooth enough to create soft edges.

rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration

Step 5. Paint All Pieces

For this Rustic Christmas Decoration I used red, blue, yellow, white, and black paint.  The colors you use is totally up to you.  I suggest finding a craft paint kit, or like me, go to Lowe's and peruse the sample paint section (I paid about $3 per sample).  

Don't worry about total coverage as you paint.  Learn why in the following step.

rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration

Once dry, move on to step 6! 

Step 6. Sand & Stain

Use a powered sander or just your two hands to sand all of your painted sections.  The goal is to allow some of the wood to show through the paint.  

After some light sanding, add some wood stain to all of the painted sections.  I know this sounds odd, but trust me, this is the most crucial step in creating a unique Rustic Christmas Decoration.  Essentially, stain adds the semblance of age to the piece and really makes it stand out.  ​

I used a dark walnut stain.  A general rule is, the darker the stain, the more "aged" your piece will ​appear.

rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration

Stain!

rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration

Step 7. Glue to Base Board

Use a generous amount of wood glue to attach all of your pieces to the base board.  Remember to wipe any excess glue away before it dries.  

It might help to add some weight (books, rocks, clamps, etc.) to the top of the piece to allow for maximum adhesion.  ​

rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration

Step 8. Enjoy!​

After an ample amount of drying time, it's time to enjoy!  This Rustic Christmas Decoration is versatile.  You can add picture hangers to hang on the wall or just simply place on the mantle above the fireplace.  

I hope you enjoyed making this incredibly simple Rustic Christmas Decoration and hopefully learned a few cool techniques along the way!   

rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration
rustic christmas decoration

Click here for more project ideas!