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The other day Rob and I went to The Dollar Tree so that we could grab some items not in my craft stash for my frugal Christmas crafting challenge I’ve created for myself. The goal is, in a nut shell, to not spend much, if any, money for the vast array of Christmas ornaments and decor I want to make and share here with you. With a gigantic crafty stash, this really shouldn’t be terribly hard, but there are times when I simply don’t have something that I do need. And sometimes I have an idea that’s so neat that I feel like it’s okay to pick up a few items because, well, this is still a craft blog and awesome projects are awesome projects.
That being said, we headed into the dollar store, me with my frugal little list and Rob with an “I never want anything from here” attitude. But though he entered feeling that way he left with a “can you believe I can get 20 things for 20 dollars? I love this place” attitude 180. In fact as I stood at the check out with my 4 little plastic toys he kept asking me things like “do we need anything for the kitchen? I’m pretty sure all that stuff is a dollar.” No. We’re good. Please. Just stay here. Don’t walk off again. Please? I’m trying to be cheap, remember? Quit adding stuff to my basket!!! :)
Ah, the dollar store, where couples leave wondering just how they managed to spend so much at a place where everything costs so little :) Four little toys for $4 plus tax and a $2.99 package of plaques from Hobby Lobby a few doors down, I had everything I didn’t already have at home to make some of the cutest faux taxidermy Christmas ornaments you ever did see. Since I’m looking to add stuff that is fun, quirky and kid approved, I think these cheerful little fellas are the best!
For this project you will need:
- Plastic toys
- Wood plaques
- X-acto knife with a very sharp blade
- Hot glue or strong adhesive (I’d suggest e6000 or silicone caulk, more info below)
- Baker’s twine
These little wood plaques 3×5 inches and make a generously sized Christmas ornament that doesn’t seem TOO big.
Paint each plaque a different, bright color and allow to fully dry. Be sure to cover both sides, nothing like an ugly backside when the ornament eventually twists around, am I right?
Using a craft knife with a very sharp blade slice your animal in half taking care to keep the cut as straight up and down as possible so it will sit flush on the plaque.
As Rob reminded me a few times over, most taxidermy in real life is just the head. But I don’t like real taxidermy because those were real animals and so I don’t care. These are faux :) Plus using only the head on these tiny dollar store toys wouldn’t take up enough space on the plaques!
In order to get bright, vibrant colors you might want to first prime your animals. You can use spray primer but I used chalk paint from the stash, just a single coat did the trick.
Once primed (or not, your choice, I don’t judge) spray your animals bright colors. Be sure to go at it a few times from different angles to get all of the little nooks and crannies. Work with the colors of your painted base choosing contrasting colors does well for some vibrant pop.
If you’re going to plop these guys all finished up on your tree and never think about it again, I’d say go hot glue for this next step. But if you have kids that grab things and play with things and mess with them, I’m going to say go really strong, industrial strength glue instead. I decided to use 100% silicone because it was right there and it is a great option when looking for strong adhesion. If you don’t have silicone, I’d probably go with e6000 instead, something the vast majority of crafters already have in the stash, right?
If you want to make some jumbo ornaments out of beach balls, like I did last week, you might want to do these projects around the same time and use the same tube of silicone as adhesive.
Aaah, so cute, right? Get that tutorial over here: DIY Giant Christmas Ornaments.
But back to the tutorial at hand…
Place your animal in the center of the painted plaque and lay flat. Spread some craft glue (like Elmer’s or Tacky Glue) around the lip of the plaque.
Run a piece of baker’s twine around lip in the wet glue. Bring your string up and over to create a loop (to act as a hanger) and then continue gluing it down in the lip for an inch or 2. Allow to dry completely.
Now isn’t that hippo so cute? Sort of threatening looking with that big ol’ mouth but just about anything you paint a happy yellow looks far less dangerous :)
If you’re concerned with your hangers being the same length, be sure to measure out your string or twine beforehand. I only thought of it looking at this photo and since they’re going to be placed apart on my tree I’m not too concerned.
Because we’re making a big deal about being cheap here is my break down price-wise… I only had to purchase 4 plastic animals for a dollar apiece from the dollar store and a set of plaques for $2.99. I used adhesive I had purchased for another project and paints, glues, twine from the stash for the rest running this project under $8 with tax for 4 super cute, quirky, colorful and totally original faux taxidermy Christmas ornaments! Not bad! Check in again soon, we’ve got a heck of a lot of Christmas crafts coming your way!