Posted in Built

Faux taxidermy: Rhino and Dear

Let’s touch the dangerous topic of “faux” taxidermy… who would want the head of an animal (real or fake) in their living room?  Without the shadow of a doubt, this project gave Geek Mommy the creeps, but… well, it is interesting to put together, not very complicated (the kids will be happy to help), and it calls for a lot of different skills,… so there!

The first thing you want to do, is a research for “faux taxidermy pattern” on Google (or whatever search engine you prefer), look for images, or PDF. You should be able to find an array of animals (both existing and mythological) like: rhino, dear, bear, unicorn, moose, dragon, etc…

The structure of these patterns is usually broken down by layers, that you will pile up to form the whole head. Print your pattern on paper, at basically any size you want, but I would advise to be careful about the thickness of the construction material you want to use later on: the different “layers” are placed at regular intervals on the whole shape. If the thickness of your material is wider than these intervals, you risk to have an elongated model (like my rhino, I suspect), if it is thinner, you risk a smashed face (imagine the love child of whatever animal you want to make and a bulldog). Be careful, maybe double a thinner material, or try to experiment with a different thickness…

Anyway, when your pattern is done on paper, you need to report all pieces on your building material, and cut all the pieces.

Marking all your pieces with numbers can be a good idea (especially if there is a bunch of them). You don’t want the neck to be in the middle of the snout due to a wrong order in your pieces…

When everything is sorted, you can start glueing everything together.

For this one, I used corrugated plastic, which is Super light, but still maintains a good shape whatever happens. All pieces are glued with a bit of hot glue, in between the layers.

If you see that some details are not exactly what you want, now is a good time to “sculpt” these with a pen-knife. Some layers might have been cut a bit rough, or they don’t align very well with the rest: fix them now or keep your peace forever, because we are about to go to the next step! Paper-mâché !!!

For this step, take thin strips of an old newspaper, soak them in PBA glue and layer them on the structure. The idea is to cover everything, with at least 3 to 4 layers, while following the shape as close as possible. This is also a good time to add some details: the wrinkles in the skin of the rhino, for example, were achieved by symply crumpling the paper.

Let it dry well before painting. We chose a realistic finish here, but you can obviously let your imagination run wild: a purple Rhino, a unicorn with glitters or a storm trooper bear (note to self: have to try this one!) are also fun to do!

We did a Rhino and a Dear, with basically the same technique. 

And you can now hang these trophies on your wall, with the satisfaction that no animal was harmed in the process, but with a weird question at the back of your head: “do I really want to look at this while I am on the sofa?”…



Originally from the North of France, I have great fun doing illustrations and drawing Nutons... happy Husband and Father of 3 teenage boys, we make things, props, and live a geek life in Singapore.

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