Amy’s Free Ideas


Seasons > Christmas > Decorations for the home > Paper Stand-up “NOEL” Christmas Decoration

These letters are made out of stiff metallic paper that was purchased at a dollar store. Some craft stores sell it as well. The paper does not have to be metallic, but it does have to be stiff enough to stand up. Regular copier paper will not work for this project. Stiff poster board will work, but choose carefully because some poster board is quite floppy. Any card stock should work alright for this project. The crown of thorns is optional; the pattern for the “O” has a front and back layer.

Cut two sets of letters out of stiff paper such as card stock or poster board, one set with wide letters for the back of the decoration, and one set of narrow letters for the front set. NOTE: If you want to make a crown of thorns, do not use the top layer of the “O”, but use the black crown of thorns in place of the narrow “O”.

Fasten the letters together with foam-style double stick tape, or make your own “connecters” out of paper: cut out 16 or so strips of copier paper 1/2 x 3 inches long. Make sure they are narrower than the front letters.

Glue one end and fasten it to the other end to form a ring.

Press the ring flat.

Pull the flattened ring into a ring again, and press it flat 1/8th inch away from the first fold. It should now form a narrow rectangle. Glue these to the back of the narrow letters, then glue the narrow letters onto the front of the thicker back letters. The rectangle “loops” will make the narrow letters stand out from the thicker background letters, and make it look more three dimensional.

To make the word stand up, lay the finished letters against a ruler or other straight edge, to make sure all the letters are straight when you glue them together. Glue the “N” and the “E”: to the edges of the “O”. Cut strips of paper to glue to the top and bottom of the backs of the “E: and “L” to hold them together (see photo above.) Once the glue has dried, fold the stands on the dotted line, then glue the stands to the backs of the “N” and “E.”

Optional: cut out a leaf and berries and glue them to one of the letters. A paper hole-punch is a good tool to cut the berries, if you have one.

Cut a crown of thorns out of black poster board, or cut it out of thin cardboard such as an empty cereal box or cracker box, then color it black with a wide tipped permanent marker, or paint it black with acrylic paint. Fasten the crown of thorns onto the “O” with loops made in the same way as explained above, except cut the strips of paper out of the same paper as the letters are cut out of, in this case the metallic red poster board.

NOTE: Make sure the colored side is on the inside of the loop so that when it is glued between the “O” and the crown of thorns, the loops will not show: the red-on-red will disappear. If you put the colored side on the outside of the loop, the white of the inside of the loop will show up behind the crown of thorns and look bad.


Strips to hold letters together


“NOEL” is a French word which means “Christmas.” The French word came from the Latin word, “natalis” meaning “birth.” That is also where we get English words like “nativity” (scenes or figures depicting Jesus’ birth) and “neonatal,” (the hospital ward for newborn babies. ) The Christmas song, “The First Noel” is speaking of the birth of Christ. The reason Jesus came to earth as a baby was not to look sweet and cute, but to take the punishment for the sin of every person who has ever lived. This Christmas decoration has a crown of thorns to remind us of the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

See the “Got Questions” website for a fuller explanation of the meaning of “noel.”

Download Large set of letters for “NOEL”

(about 5 inches tall)

Download smaller set of letters for “NOEL”

(about 3 inches tall)