Making a Zebra head from Jonni’s Paper Mache Horse Pattern

Made by Jean Davis

I used Jonni’s horse head pattern to create my zebra head. It was a much longer process than I first thought, adjusting the pattern and all the different stages to completion. I couldn’t have done it without the pattern and watching Jonni’s very helpful videos on various subjects – I’m grateful. I’m pleased with the final result and I’ve named her Zita. She’s sitting on top of my bookcase looking down on everything.

Pattern for a zebra sculpture

Zebra sculpture in progress

14 thoughts on “Making a Zebra head from Jonni’s Paper Mache Horse Pattern”

  1. Hi Jean, I’ve made my zebra, called Oreo! It took me ages to do as those stripes played havoc with my eyes! It was fiddly to adjust the pattern as you suggested but worth it in the end. Thanks again for the advice.

  2. Hi Jean, love your Zita! She’s beautiful. How did you change Jonni’s pattern to make her? Her eyes are fabulous! Love it ?!

    • Hi Pauline, Thank you for your kind comments and interest.
      It was only when I started scrutinising photos of zebras on Google images that I really noticed the differences between horses and zebra heads. I re-printed parts of Jonni’s pattern and made the sections for the muzzle about 3cm longer and the ears quite a bit bigger. Also later when it was assembled I cut the eyelids off to make the eyes more open. After painting the eyes I put a coat of clear varnish on them, that made a big difference.
      Also I bought some cheap false eyelashes and cut them to size.
      Have you put any of your sculptures on the website?

      • Hi Jean, thanks for the info. I myself have made a horse, giraffe, elephant and a jackrabbit (which isn’t on there yet)! All from Jonni’s patterns. Not sure how to use the links but if you look up “Sophie makes an entrance” for my giraffe. Ellie the baby elephant and Spirit the dapple grey horse and hopefully you will find them. There’s probably an easier way!
        I am now going to make a zebra and having Jonni’s horse pattern I was wondering how to utilise it! I will adjust like you have done and will be well chuffed if it turns out anything like Zita! Thanks again.

        • Hi Pauline, I found your giraffe, Sophie, Spirit the horse and Ellie the baby elephant. They are all really good, your attention to detail and getting them to look realistic is fantastic. The idea of using a wig for the mane was inspired. I look forward to seeing your finished zebra. I don’t know how long you take to make things but my zebra took ages as it was all new to me and I am a bit of a perfectionist! I’m not sure what I’ll make next, possibly a giraffe -unfortunately I haven’t got a lot of room in my house for big sculptures. I’ve got quite a lot of other crafty things around the place.

  3. Thank you for your kind comments Lisa Anne. I created the mane with several layers of paper mache and pva glue to make it stiff and snipped the top with scissors. I was hoping to use some kind of hair for it, like bristles from a broom, but they weren’t really long enough and the wrong colour.
    I would welcome any ideas for the mane.

    • What you did worked to great effect for a zebra…great idea!
      I might have used fabric fringe trim (I tend to use a lot of fabric in my creations), but that would not provide the same effect at all.
      I think what you did is much more realistic and works really well for a zebra.

          • Your creations are great and so innovative – you must have an amazing imagination to create them. I particularly like Whimsy the giraffe and the gecko. For Whimsy did you have an initial plan of what you wanted him to look like or do you create it as you go along – and where do you get all the lovely fabrics and embellishments from for your pieces?

            • I’m glad you like them!

              For Whimsy, I wanted something tall (I have high ceilings!), but didn’t want to constrain myself to trying to create realistically. So I started with foam pipe insulation for the legs and neck and went from there!!

              I am fortunate to have, not quite an hour away, a shop that is like a Goodwill for creative materials… scraps and oddities of anything you can think of! I go a few times a year, snag a bunch of stuff that ‘calls’ to me super-cheap, and then when I am creating, I raid my stash. The only downside is my stash takes up half a room in my place – but I’m ok with that…just gotta keep making stuff!


  4. A “long process” yes…but oh my, very much worth it!
    She’s gorgeous – the painting work is amazing.
    I particularly like the area around her nose and mouth …it is so well done.
    You really brought her to life!
    How did you create her mane?


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