Friday, 17 May 2013

A giraffe and a zebra roll up to the Zoo

I'm back on the cardboard animal trail - this time my mini maker asked for a zebra and a giraffe to add to the lions we've already made for our zoo. The challenge really was to come with suitable animal legs, that wouldn't drop out or fall off.. and I think I've cracked it...

All you'll need is:
3 toilet paper tubes
cereal box card
a black felt tip pen
PVA craft glue
general purpose scissors
straight-edged nail scissors or similar
(adult help/supervision with cutting)

Cut one of the tubes in half lengthways then use the ruler to measure and cut 4 long strips, each about 3cm/1" wide. Fold them in half lengthways to make the legs.

Shorten the other tubes by a few cms, so they're about 8cm/3" long.

Hold the ruler along the length of one of the tubes and use a pencil to mark two, 2cm/0.75" lines about 1cm/0.5" in from each end of the tube. Repeat this 3cm/1" further on round the tube so the leg slots line up.

With the nail scissors, make a hole on a pencil line (keep them closed, press down and twist from side to side until the tip pierces through), then carefully snip along the slot, making sure it's wide enough for a leg strip. Do the same for the other slots. Wiggle the end of a spoon or fork in and out of opposite slots to make it easier to thread the leg piece through.

Once the legs are level, fold them inwards and snip until the body stands steady and you're happy with the leg length (keep the giraffe's legs nice and long).

Paint the giraffe body yellow and the other one white. Paint a piece of cereal box card yellow and another piece white too, for the heads and tails.

If you want both sides of your zebra or giraffe's head painted, either rub a piece of sandpaper over the shiny side of the cereal box card to remove the sheen, so the paint goes on better, or us a glue stick to stick a piece of plain paper over the shiny side and leave it under something heavy like a pile of books until it dries, then paint.

TIP: once the paint has soaked in a little on the bodies, leave them to dry upside down or on their sides in an egg box lid - rather than leaving them upright when the legs can end up drying in the splits position! This helps make the animals more sturdy.

When dry, draw a head shape for your zebra/giraffe on the painted cereal box card and remember to include a mane.

Add a tab a few cms long at the bottom of the neck (see picture) - this extra bit will slot into the tube body.

Use a pencil to draw outlines for stripes, manes and spots, then paint or colour in.

Use a black felt tip pen for eyes and nostrils.

Once dry, snip carefully along the mane with small scissors.

About a cm/0.25" in from one end of the body, cut a slot for the head (same technique as for the legs) and wiggle the scissors in and out a bit to make it easier to push the head tab through.

Scrunch up two small pieces of newspaper and push them in, either side of the head tab to hold it steady. Push another scrunched up piece in the other end to help your animal balance.

Cut a thin strip from the painted card for a tail (cut it a little longer than you need). Colour the tip black and stick the extra part just under the top of the tube at the back. Bend into place when dry.

So our zoo so far....and we've added a rare white Bengal tiger, made like the lion, to pull in the crowds..
Next on the list, an elephant.

All these animals and more can be found in my book, 'Make Your Own Zoo'


  1. These are sweet! I love that they are made from cardboard tubes but that it doesn't really show in the final product. Great recycling craft!

  2. Super cute!! We adore all loo roll crafts and these are great!

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty.


    1. Thanks Maggy, we're having a lot of fun making them :)

  3. These are so gorgeous. I Pinterested them and bookmarked them and we are trying them today. But I have to say I am finding it a little bit tricky. I don't have your craft talent and ours are looking a little bit wonky!
    I also had to start again halfway through because I did't read the instructions properly. D'oh!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. just deleted my own reply! Sorry you found them tricky, which bit did you have a problem with? I'd be grateful for any tips/suggestions about making the instructions easier/clearer to follow Like to make these tutorials as user friendly as possible. Thanks for the feedback Jackie x

  4. You zoo animals are so adorable I am going to use them as a project for my learning center when we do the zoo theme. I cannot wait for your monkey to come out! I love the idea of adding "habitats" so I believe I am going to expand on that idea as we go through the program. I wonder how difficult it would be to do a flamingo or panda, polar bear or seal. My mind is racing with ideas you have unleased. Thank you very much for the creative nudge!

    1. you're so welcome! I'm really enjoying adding to our homemade zoo and spend ages pondering the possibilities too. Really keen now to think about a 'Roll up to the Zoo' book, just not sure how to go about it!

  5. Maxine Glasgow 13August at 21:0714 August 2018 at 02:08

    I can't wait for school to reopen to try some of your magnificent creativity they are so amazing I love them

  6. I will try to do it to my little girl for her School i like your idea ❤️