(Crazy) Craft: DIY Faux Taxidermy

I know. I know. Just the title makes you say ‘what?!?’

Rest assured, no real animals were harmed in the doing of this DIY. Though, Buzz and Woody and that cute little Slinky from Toy Story are probably never going to forgive me.

Let’s start, as we always do, at the beginning. There is a land, a trendy land, full of faux taxidermy like this and this and this and this. I enjoy a trend, but I never want to spend a bucket load to indulge in it. So, I finagled a way to create my own faux, gold, taxidermy animals for our spare room/nursery for less than $10.

Faux Taxidermy 13If we are actually going to start at the beginning, it was with that black and white frame. As part of my 30-day challenge to get rid of/use something unused every day for a month, I had a brand new wooden frame that I painted up.

It’s actually a knock-off of this frame from West Elm that is no longer available online or in store. Striped Frame 1

Basically, I just used a ruler, mapped out my zigs, coloured in my zags and there you have it. I also painted the outer edge hunter green, just because. It prompted me to find a printable to put IN the frame. A quick google search brought me to the one I used, which referenced a rhino, an elephant and a polar bear. *DING!* This calls for faux taxidermy jungle animals, I thought!

So, into my craft cupboard I went, where I found two unused (also applicable to my challenge) wooden plaques from Michael’s. Then a trip to Walmart came up with two plastic animals for $3 each.

Faux Taxidermy 1

They both look rather menacing in that photo. Why are the eyes and noses red?! Gah. I settled on a cool, crisp blue for the plaques to keep things simple and fun. The shade is Surf by Martha Stewart. I gave each plaque two good coats. I didn’t want my taxidermy to look ‘real’, so I decided to paint my animals gold. I did a test spot on the rump of the rhino to see how the plastic took the paint. Sorry, rhino – but there’s much worse to come.

Faux Taxidermy 2

Knowing the gold would work and as the plaques were drying, I took to figuring out how to *gulp* decapitate my newly acquired plastic pachyderms. First I tried an exacto blade. Nope. Didn’t do a thing. Then I tried a serrated knife, it just made a mess. The trick to cutting the heads of plastic animals is…. a chicken boning knife. (Weird right, because Dan just wrote about deboning a chicken!)

Faux Taxidermy 3You have to get the tip of the knife into the plastic and then pull down. I can’t describe it any other way. It’s not easy or elegant, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll work. And for a split second you will feel incredibly guilty and be a little concerned that people will judge you. (Please don’t judge me, the final product is so cute!)😛

Faux Taxidermy 5

Okay, now take your heads and paint ’em up. I ended up using spray paint because it was easier than using a brush. Now, I thought the painting was the tricky part. Nope. The trickiest part was getting the heads to stick on to the wooden plaques.

I tried hot glue. Nope. Not strong enough. Then I tried wood carpenter’s glue. It made a huge mess and didn’t stick to anything.

Enter – Bonding Putty, otherwise known as Mighty Putty. We had some in our tool box for odd jobs. I kneaded about a quarter size of it up for each plaque, stuck it to the backs of the heads and smooshed it down and held it for a good 30 seconds.

Then, I smoothed out the excess that oozed out the edges around the animal head, creating a seal.

Faux Taxidermy 6

I let them sit and dry for about an hour like that. The label says bonding putty dries ‘hard as steel’ in minutes. I don’t know that these have a Superman grip, but they’re on there tight enough to hang on the wall. Then, I just used my gold paint pen to colour over the grey putty to make everything match again.

Faux Taxidermy 7Now they, and the black and white frame, are hanging proudly in our new room! I think they are just swell. And for $6! (It’d cost you about $2 each if you needed to buy the wood plaques.)

Faux Taxidermy 12In case you can’t see it, the printable says “A Polar Bear, a Rhinoceros and an Elephant walk into a bar…” Cheeky, right? haha

Faux Taxidermy 11At first I thought these guys would be strong enough to be hooks for something, now, I’m skeptical. I think they’ll just be decorations. I think it’s funny how the theme of this room has evolved to what we’re calling ‘geometric jungle’. It was a happy accident that the blue paint on the plaques matches our ‘bookcase Raskog’ so well🙂

Faux Taxidermy 10

The room is definitely coming along. There are still elements missing, but its personality is starting to show.

Faux Taxidermy 9So, to all the toys out there, I’m sorry. But to all the DIYers who want to get in on a trend without spending lots of dough and without hurting real animals, this is how you do it! Embrace the Mighty Putty🙂 Even Optimus Prime can’t break that bond!

Happy Saturday everyone.

Thanks for reading,


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My Repurposed Life, Love of Family & Home, DIY Show-off, Making Monday, Home Stories A to Z, Tatertots and Jello

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