Ginger, the Whimsical Paper Mache Zebra

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Today we have a guest post by Barbara Corak, who made a zebra wall hanging to go with the other Africa-themed decor in her home. I love the mane, and the eyelashes – and all those stripes! Thanks, Barbara, for showing us how you made Ginger.

How I Made Ginger the Zebra

©2017 Barbara Corak

Hi! My name is Barbara, and I’m about to introduce you to my new pet Ginger.

I was recording an episode of the Property Bros on HGTV. When I finally watched it, there was an adorable large whimsical Zebra hanging on the wall of one of the houses. I quickly took a picture of it.

I have a tremendous love for animals. My condo is decorated with African artifacts and animals I purchased from various stores. I have water fountains and palm trees in every room.

My son always asks people who plan to visit me if they had their shots.  If it has an animal print on it, I buy it. I find the African designs to be so Spiritual and peaceful. My bedroom is the only room I used color, red, purple, silver, and black. My accent color is zebra stripes.

I tried to locate where I could buy the Zebra from the TV show but failed to find any place that sold it. So I decided to make it myself.

Now, I haven’t made anything out of paper mache since I’m in first grade, a long long long time ago. I’m basically a color and design artist. I design needlepoint, jewelry wall color paintings of flowers, and stain glass mirrors. I went on YouTube to watch videos on how to paper mache. It was very difficult for me because I have lost most of my hearing and what I hear I don’t always understand. I was determined to do it anyway. Thank Goodness for Jonni’s videos and website.

Step One, the Armature-

I didn’t know about patterns and armatures. The first video I watched was before I found Jonni’s videos. It showed making the form of the animal with balls of newspaper and masking tape. I then made a large oblong cardboard and attached it to the back of zebra so the back would be flat for hanging.

Starting to make the armature for the paper mache zebra.
Starting to make the armature for the paper mache zebra.

Step Two, the Ears –

I cut the ears out of poster board ( the pic is the first one I did, too small). I cut another set that was bigger and more whimsical. I used epoxy glue on a piece of heavy wire and ran it down the middle and extended it four inches so I could insert it into the head. Glued the four inches with epoxy glue so the glue would go into her head.

The zebra's ears, cut from poster board.
The zebra’s ears, cut from poster board.

Step Three, the Mane –

I used floral mesh wire from craft store to form the mane. I purchased different fringes to cover the mane but didn’t do that until I painted her.

Starting to make the zebra's mane with wire.
Starting to make the zebra’s mane with wire.
Covering the wire with paper mache.
Covering the wire with paper mache.
The fringe that will be added to the mane later.
The fringe that will be added to the mane later.

Step Four, Adding the Paper Mache to the Zebra –

I didn’t know about the air clay at this point. I used the method I learned in first grade. Messy but fun. My cat loved it. I almost paper mache’d my cat.

Adding the Paper Mache to the zebra.
Adding the Paper Mache to the zebra.

Step Five, the Eyes –

I went online and purchased glass animal eyes 30 mm. I pushed the eyes into Ginger’s head. After two layers of newspaper and paste I finally watched a video on air dry clay.

Step Six, the Inspection –

This photo show u my Supervisor checking to make sure I have the right ingredients and I’m mixing it correctly

Step Eight, Adding the Paper Mache Clay –

I loved icing Ginger with the clay. Not quite as smooth as I would like but OK. It reminded me of my cake decorating classes. I loved icing cakes. What I did not like was coming home and eating the whole cake. Icing Ginger is a win/win. I got to do what I enjoy doing without the weight gain and high cholesterol. I then used the clay to make eye lids and much needed bone structure.

Adding Paper Mache Clay.

Step Nine, Painting the Zebra.

Next photo shows that I started to paint.

Painting the Stripes on the Paper Mache Zebra.
Painting the Stripes on the Paper Mache Zebra.

Step Ten, Adding the Ear Fur, Fringe for the Mane, and Eyelashes –

I cut out fake fur to put inside her ears. I then wrapped and glued the fringe around the mane. I took black felt that I got from the scrapbook section at craft store. Cut two 1 1/2 inch squares cut the lashes and cut out a semi circle to fit around the eyes.

Fringe for the Zebra's Mane.
The felt eyelashes.
Fringe for the Zebra's Mane.
Adding fur to the inside of the ears.

Step Eleven, Adding the Hangers –

I used epoxy glue and attached three hinges to the back of Ginger. She weights 10.4 pounds and is 27 inches long. At first I thought how am I going to put hooks in the wall to line up with the hinges. I took a piece of tracing paper over the hinges and marked them with a pencil. I the scotched tape the tracing paper to the wall. Hammered in the hooks where I marked the location of hinges and up she went on the wall perfectly.

Adding the hangers to the back of the zebra.
Adding the hangers to the back of the zebra.

Ginger the Zebra is Finished!

Drum roll. Here she is. I never did anything like this and I’m so happy I tried. I have to thank Jonni for her assistance, patience and how she inspired me. What I love about Ginger is first she makes me smile and second I don’t have to feed her. But please don’t let her know she’s made with toilet paper. Don’t want her to have an inferior complex.

She brings me so much joy and she matches my zebra chair and bedsheets. My daughter now wants me to make her an elephant, so I ordered Jonni’s elephant pattern. Hope u like her as much as I do. Have a wonderful holiday everyone.

Ginger the Paper Mache Zebra, All Finished and Hanging on the Wall
Ginger the Paper Mache Zebra, All Finished and Hanging on the Wall

17 thoughts on “Ginger, the Whimsical Paper Mache Zebra”

  1. Ooooh I LOVE this, Barbara! ? I am busy making my own one, and then plan to teach this as a series of lessons for my class. We have been exploring mixing secondary colours, and making shades and tints if colours, so or zebras will be a bit rainbow-like! I teach a wonderful group of adults, all of whom have learning difficulties, and I think they will love the sensory aspects involved. I will post some pictures when we’re done, in a few weeks time ? Thank you for the inspiration, Barbara ??

    • Thank you for your comment. Ginger will be very proud to be of help to you and your class. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Good luck

    • Thanks for the comment. I will do two elephants, one for my daughter and one for me. Then a giraffe for my giraffe room. Then if I really get good at this, I’ll do a big standing up Grayhound for my niece who has two of the most lovable Grayhounds.. After that probably finish my mermaid stain glass mirror and a painting I didn’t finish of a leopard.

      • Barbara, I think you have a lot in common with our friend Rex. He also works with stained glass, and he paints. Plus his beautiful paper mache animals, of course. I’m really looking forward to seeing how your elephants and your giraffe and greyhounds turn out, so remember to come back and share them with us!

    • Thank u for the comment. I enjoy waking up and seeing her everyday. Great way to start the day. Just as long as my son doesn’t put me away for talking to her

    • Thank u. I wanted to show the picture of the tv version but forgot to include it. Mine doesn’t look anything like it. I tried at first to copy it exactly but didn’t really have enough infro so I created my own. Jonni likes mine better and so do I although the other one is so cute

  2. Ginger is a very sweet zebra with tons of character! Nice job especially since you haven’t done this since you were about 5! Your tutorial was good and you teach very well. I loved the background stories you injected. Thank you for a good read!

    • Thank u for ur comment. Means a lot to me. I love paper mache it’s so cool. Ginger looks so great in my bedroom. And absolutely makes me smile when I get up in the morning and each time I’m in my bedroom. Going deaf has left me pretty isolated so Ginger and my cat Peanut keep me company. At least I don’t have to hear what they r saying.

      • I love Ginger. And everyone needs a supervisor! Thank you for your instructions. The zebra is a work of art, and what a character she has. Love everything about it.

        I hope you will show us your elephant when you are finished.


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