Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Up Cycled Menagerie - DIY Faux Animal Taxidermy from Recyclables

DIY Taxidermy Craft from Recyclables by Aaron Christensen
Be sure to check out the contest at the end of this post, ending Friday the 20th.  Comment to Win your favorite of the three animals shown here in the post.  

Take a long hard look in your recycling bin.  It's crawling with creatures great and small.  Hopefully, not real ones, but fun future faux ones.  With a little imagination, and some easy DIY instructions, you can create a zoo of animals out of common recyclables.

Welcome to my latest craft DIY brought to you by my friends at Rosenberry Rooms Very Rosenberry Blog.

Common recyclables like laundry detergent bottles, toilet tissue rolls
yogurt cups, styrofoam meat packing trays and cardboard are great components
for your own faux taxidermy.
When I design kid's spaces, for my clients, I want them to be filled with personality and some of their child's own handy work.  Often, I'll lead them in a craft project to create something unique.  These friendly taxidermy mounts would be a great project for them and would make wonderful room decor.  They would also be fun school auction projects or a DIY craft for parties.  The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.  You can follow along to make your own deer, rhino or circus giraffe version or experiment with the items in your recycling bin to create your own.

Two folded sour cream container lids make perfect ears.

upcycled recyclables crafted into a faux taxidermy giraffe DIY by Aaron Christensen
A whimsical circus giraffe can be crafted by creating a hat from a disposable
drinking cup, some chenille pipe cleaners and a few feathers.

upcycled recyclables crafted into a faux taxidermy rhino DIY by Aaron Christensen
By cutting the handle off of a bleach bottle and taping it to the spout
you have a fun filled rhino.

Getting started....

1)  Assemble your recyclables and decide upon the type of animal you want to create.  Remember, the materials can be cut, moved, folded and altered with tape, cardboard or things like bottle caps, straws and craft supplies.

2)  Using scissors or a blade knife, cut or trim your recyclables into the shapes and dimensions you need.  Also consider scoring and folding pieces to create new shapes. Always observe safety precautions when using tools.

3) Utilize masking tape and hot glue to assemble your creation.  Masking tape can be used to bridge voids, cover seams and close open ends.

Folding sour cream lids over and gluing them into a hole creates
ears perfect for a deer.  The handle of the bottle was covered with masking

With plastic spoons for tufts and folded tissue rolls for ears, the circus
giraffe takes shape.

The rhino's ears are corners off of a styrofoam meat packing
tray.  His horn is a cut and turned around handle from the bleach bottle.

4) Decide upon the type of mount you'd like to use.  Here I've provided three shapes to download.  You may have to adjust your printer settings to a size greater than 100% to create large ones.

 5)  Cut two copies of your mount out of cardboard.  Also cut enough inch or two inch strips to line the outside.  Pre-creasing or shaping the strips will make it easier to follow curves.

6) Using hot glue, attach the pre-creased shapes to follow the outside edge of your mount.  Let it cool.

7) Cut two triangles into your matching back piece.  Locate them towards the top.  These triangles will be the points in which you hang the piece from nails or screws.  Using hot glue, secure the back piece on.

8) Hot glue and/or tape your animal to the mount.

Paper Mache over your sculpture.

9)  Mix water, flour and a pinch of salt into a paste.  Dip scrap paper, newspaper or tissue into the paste and paper mache the outside of your animal shape.  The more layers you apply the stronger your piece will become.  Although the salt inhibits mold growth, you'll want to make sure your piece dries thoroughly before painting.

10)  Paint and decorate your piece.  Consider painting it in a solid fun color, decoupaging it with images and text or painting it like the original animal.

Your sculpture can be inspired by a jungle, farm, forest or sea.  There are unlimited animal combinations.  Or for something different you can consider making robots, friendly monsters or mythological creatures like unicorns and dragons.

Are there animals in your recycling bin?  You better find them before your trash service hauls away your craft supplies.  If they've already recycled your supplies, you can skip the craft and enter to win YOUR choice of the three pieces I created, the details are below.

Have fun!

As a bonus for dropping by, my readers and those visiting from Rosenberry Room's Very Rosenberry blog can enter to win the featured menagerie animal mount of your choice.  One winner will be chosen to select either the deer, rhino or circus giraffe, as my gift.  Here's how to win....

Leave me a comment here letting me know how you follow me?  Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook or Email...that's it.  Of course you could chat longer if you'd like.  I'd love to hear from you.

To follow me by email:  Enter your email address in the "Keep up with my mayhem" email subscription box in the upper right corner. 

To follow by Pinterest:  Visit my Pinterest page and click "Follow".

To follow by Twitter:  Visit my Twitter page and click "Follow".

To follow by Facebook: Visit my Facebook page and click "like".

The winner will be selected on July 20th.  Open to continental US residents only.


  1. Such a great idea and this is certainly not just for kids. Love, love, love it!

  2. Aaron, these are fabulous! Dr. seus would totally love these. Keep up your great creative work!

    1. Thank you Robin. Always great to have you stop by!

  3. So Cute- we follow you on Facebook. So creative and fun- thanks!

  4. How fun! I follow you on Pinterest and Facebook!

    1. Dawnzer....you're the winner! Can I have you email me your address and your choice from the three menagerie creations! Aaron(at)EmbellishmentsKids.com.

      Have a great weekend,

  5. These are adorable, and you are so creative LOVE your work!

  6. I LOVE these! I follow on Pinterest.

    1. Thanks for following me on Pinterest SoPickin&39;Cute! Wow, that's a virtual mouth full, I hope I spelled it right :)

  7. Fabu! I follow on FB. I should follow on Pinterest too.

    1. Hi Niki, thanks for dropping by and for following, see ya on the FB!

  8. Pick me, pick me!! Not sure which adorable critter will go best with the ark you painted years ago. Your creativity is endless!

    1. That was a fun mural, I'm glad it's still loved at the school! Thanks for dropping by, tell everyone hello for me!

  9. The super duper randomizer app has picked a winner and it's.......Dawnzer! WhooHooo!

    Thank you to all that commented! We'll have some more give-a-ways soon....oooohhhhh!

  10. What a great idea! I think it would also be fun to make up crazy animals that don't really exist.

    I'm going to tweet about this (@tutebot). Thanks for sharing. :)