An Update for Dasher and Christmas Centerpiece

8 Materials
3 Hours

Create an evergreen centerpiece for Christmas and provide a quick update with paint!

I’ve had this reindeer sleigh, Dasher, for several years. He was a gift that I *deerly* love using at Christmas as a centerpiece filled with greenery and / or ornaments. You can see him at a Merry and Bright Plaid Table, HERE.

I decided he could use a makeover to warm him up and blend with the wood tones of the room and marry the rusty sleigh bells on the garland and wreath I’m using this year.

I picked some acrylic paint from the craft store in assorted shades of brown. I used 4 shades of FolkArt Matte Acrylic Paint and some antiquing medium I already had. The 2 oz. bottles of paint run around $1.69 each, but the day I stopped in Michaels to buy the paint, the bottles were on sale for 57 cents each! Tip: Download Michaels mobile app to your smartphone to access their weekly coupons when you shop.

Dasher had a matte finish so I didn’t have to do any surface prep before painting, but if your item has a glossy or shiny finish, you would want to sand it first so the paint will adhere. 

The matte paint dries quickly, ready to recoat in an hour. After an initial first coat of paint, I used a dry brush technique to layer the other brown shades and cover the original gray tones and finish.

If you’re not familiar with ‘dry brushing’, it’s a paint technique using an almost dry brush to apply paint:

Dip the ends of your brush in the paint, then blot your brush on a some paper towels or newspaper (I used a piece of cardboard), wiping most of the paint off, before lightly dragging your brush over the surface. Experiment your dry brushing technique on a scrap piece of wood or on an inconspicuous spot before beginning.

After Dasher was dry, I filled a plastic container I had with wet floral foam to place inside the body of the sleigh. Plastic bags from the grocery store help keep the container in place and provide some protection from any water spilling.

Wet floral foam is available at the craft store with the floral supplies. It can be trimmed easily with a knife to the size you need.

Tip: When using wet floral foam, use the “float soak” method and place the floral foam brick on top of the water. Let the floral foam gradually absorb the water until it’s fully saturated. Plunging the floral foam in the water traps air bubbles and will prohibit the transfer of water from the foam to the flower stems.

Dasher is filled with a mixture of evergreens clipped from the shrubs and trees. . . cypress, juniper, boxwood, magnolia leaves. . . along with a bit of red plaid ribbon, red ornaments and pine cones. Nandina berries cut from the shrubs provide an additional pop of seasonal red.

Here is Dasher his makeover and greenery for Christmas. More photos of the wreath and garland at the blog link below.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Bre32407945
    on Dec 18, 2019

    Just wondering where you got your bichon frise dogs from.

    they are adorable .

    could you tell me the breeder ?


    • Mcgypsy9
      on Dec 18, 2019

      If you read through her posts you will find she got them from a. Breeder in Tennessee but could not remember or find the name.

Join the conversation

3 of 7 comments
  • Mcgypsy9
    on Dec 18, 2019

    I’m pleasantly surprised that you didn’t go with shiny golds or silvers or whatever metallic. I love the colors you chose as it makes a more authentic look. Very nice display!

    • MaryAnn
      on Dec 29, 2019

      I agree, many sleighs were covered in hardened leather or painted wood. The reindeer are brown or white depending on season. The only "brite work" would be the metal work on the harness. Even the bells were bronze. Dasher looks really nice and blends beautifully. A few years ago the "aged pewter" look was big, that is likely where he dates too.

  • Robyn Garner
    on Dec 20, 2019

    Thanks so much for tip about saturating floral foam! I never knew that plunging it into water wasn't a good way to wet it. 😎

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