Monday, January 31, 2011

Anthro Knock Off- Paper Mache Zebra Bust Mini Tutorial

I know the look is not for everyone, but if you like a little funk in your home, then this mini-tutorial is just for you.

Supplies needed:

*newspaper/lightweight paper

*painters tape


*paper mache clay {go here for the recipe}

*cardboard canister {from hot chocolate or powdered chocolate mix}

*And {perhaps} a some funk-i-licious music to get you in the mood.

First off, you have to create the foundation of your structure...and to do this you must channel your inner {Michaelangelo}. So quick, channel it.

I created the foundation of my zebra bust first, by cutting out a piece of cardboard in the shape of a zebra snout. Then I wadded up paper and used painters tape to tape it to the cardboard...both on the top and under side of it. After a few minutes of squooshing and taping, your snout will begin to emerge. I continued to wad up paper and tape it to the snout to create the head of the zebra. This is how it looked up to this point.

Ya, I know. It looks more like an alligator...but don't hate. This is my first time sculpting anything.

I contemplated how to create the neck of the zebra for some time. The only think I could think of was a carboard, hot cocoa canister, which you need to cut in two {otherwise you're zebra will begin to resemble a giraffe...with an alligator snout...a giralligator if you will}.

If you come up with a better idea, please feel free to share.

I filled the hollow end with paper

then taped it to the bottom of the head/snout structure...angling it slightly.

I know it looks like some strange, creature straight from the imagination of Dr. Seuss now, but I swear it gets better.

It happened by accident, but the top of the canister I used had a little lip on it, making it quite convenient for me to hang it on the wall. Double check to see if the canister you use has the same sort of lip. If not, you will have to devise another way to mount your bust.

I created the zebra ears using the same technique of smooshing and taping. Continue smooshing and taping until you get your zebra head shaped the way you want it. {I don't think I made it very clear, but be sure to cover all of the wadded up paper with the painters tape, so that you have a smooth surface to work with for the next step}.

Now it's time to {frost} your structure. I mixed up a batch of paper mache clay using the recipe above. It will be thicker than frosting, but not really thick enough to mold...hence the {frosting} technique.

Here's what my structure looked like with a coat of {clay}. It isn't completely smooth, but after it has had time to harden and dry you can take sandpaper to it and smooth it out to your liking.

I was concerned about the ears falling off, with the weight of the clay on them. So, I propped them up with whatever condiment bottle I could find.

After the clay has had time to dry, about 24 hours, I hot glued on a mane. I used leftover cardboard scraps that I cut into strips.

Then I covered it with old, book pages using mod podge.

Once the mod podge was dry, I painted on all of the details...snout, stripes, eyes etc.
I will be perfectly honest, this was probably the most challenging task of the whole project. Painting authentic, natural looking zebra stripes is a little tricky. I found a couple pictures on the net of zebras and used them as my reference. Here's how the final project turned out.
It isn't an exact replica of Anthro's version, but the resulting funkification is the same. Aaaand, Anthro's zebra bust cost $68 while mine came in at only $10...and that's with enough supplies left over to make another one.
So, if you are feeling the need to let your funky freshness fly, give the old zebra head a try.

Linking to:
The DIY Show Off


  1. this is so stinking adorable I may have to totally redecorate a room so that I will need to make one!

  2. I love it! When I find the time, I think I will do one of my dogs' heads, or a leopard...or both! I love how you recruited the syrup and ketchup bottles to help!

  3. that came out realy good , wish I COULD DARE TO TRY IT.

  4. I like it! I find sanding something like that is not easy. Next time consider just using newspaper strips and flour and water paste over the basic form. No sanding, easy to work with. Just a thought. Still your project turned out great!

  5. This is very fun! Love the blue frame.

  6. Wow! I am VERY impressed, I was concerned a little at the beginning, but it looks GREAT!

    lol @ giralligator

  7. visiting via knock off decor. this is an awesome project! super job!

  8. This is absolutely fabulous! I love it!

  9. Just found your blog from DIY Showoff. And I LOVE this! Nice work!

  10. Ha, I love it! I've had it in my mind for a while now to make an elephant bust in papier mache but just haven't gotten around to it yet. I'm waiting for warmer weather to get my crafting back on :) I like that you had an almost identical idea, must check out the rest of your blog now :)


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