As I was working on Don’s big boy bed, I wanted something fun and whimsical for over his bed. I also had the goal for making it affordable, because we’re moving soon so it doesn’t make sense to invest in something right now.
Years ago, Anthropologie had the cutest safari animal heads. I mostly loved the zebra one:
I decided that I could make my own! The best part is that the materials are mostly things I had at home. I think I spent less than $2 on this project!
- paper towels
- paper (I used computer paper because I had it on hand, but newspaper will work better)
- tape (I used gaffers tape, but masking tape will work fine too)
- wood plaque (painted the color of your choice)
- old book
- black paint
- paint brush
- saw tooth picture hanger
Start by wadding up three balls of paper and securing with tape. The biggest ball will end up being the head and the two small balls will be the nose.
Use tape to connect the three balls.
Make one more ball of paper and tape and connect it to the head. This ball is the neck.
Use paper to smooth out the seams.
Cut out a circle of cardboard- this will be the base of the neck.
I then connected the base to the bottom of the neck. I messed up on this step- so make sure the cardboard base is mounted on the neck straight and centered. My zebra head ended up a little crowked, so I wish I would have spent more time on this step.
Now its time to make the paste! I used one cup flour and 4 cups of boiling water. I prepared this in a glass bowl- stirring until combined. This is enough paste to complete the whole project- I covered it up each night and then microwaved it when I was ready to work with it.
Now is the fun part! I tore up the paper towels into small, index card size pieces. These pieces are how I sculpted and added dimension and the “flesh” to your zebra head.
Soak the paper towels in the paste and cover all of the head. You can use more paper towels to cover seams or to add bulk where needed.
Make sure to smooth down the seams as you go. Because you are working with paste, this is a multi day project so that each layer can dry. Leave the head out over night.
Next, on day 2, you’re going to make the ears for your zebra. I used cardboard and attached them with towels and the paste.
For this step, I added paper towels to the head to give it more details- eye sockets, nostrils, and hair.
This is when the zebra started coming alive- before it just looked like a generic head.
Keep adding paper towels soaked in the paste until you are happy with how the zebra head looks.
Now, the face is sculpted. Once again, I left it out overnight again for this layer to dry.
For the next step, I started to add the “skin” to the head- the pages of an old book. I just used a book I no longer wanted that I had on hand. I cut the pages of the book into small pieces. To attach the page pieces, I again used the paste.
Now he really, really looks like a zebra! This is the third night I let him dry on the table overnight (you can guess how thrilled my husband was with having this project out for so long 🙂 ).
To complete the transformation, I added the stripes with black acrylic paint. This part was so fun and satisfying! The little guy came alive and I was so pleased with how it looked! I used screws to attached the head to a $2 plaque I got from Micheal’s and painted.
Don came and sat on my lap to “help.” He did give me lots of kisses, so I’ll count it 😉
Finally, I added a hanger to the back and hung it on the wall. Aren’t the stripes fun- I love how the paint came out! I just wish I would have mounted the head straighter!
The thing that I love about this project is that this zebra could easily become a horse or unicorn depending on paint and a horn!
I love that I was able to create this sweet head using flour and paper! It really felt like I was making something from scratch. This is totally a doable project even there are a lot of steps (and nights of drying time). Don loves his “zebra guy” so I call it a win. Question, is this something you’d make?
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