Dollar Store Plastic Animal Bookends

diy faux bronze lion bookend square
First of all, thank you so much to all of you who voted on the first round of So You Think You’re Crafty.  Weren’t the projects fantastic?  I have my work cut out for me in this competition!
My animal bookends didn’t quite take first place, but I was ecstatic to see how many people liked my project the best.  Besserina’s adorable Flour Sack Outfit received the most votes and for great reason.  Be sure to check out the tutorial for her project on the SYTYC blog.
Since I wasn’t the first week’s winner, it means that I get to share the tutorial for my project here for you!  The process is remarkably simple, but the results are pretty dang cool… if I do say so myself.
bookend materials
To make plastic animal bookends, you will need:
dollar store plastic animals
sharp scissors
strong craft glue
acrylic photo frames
spray paint (optional)
I was so excited to get started on this project, that I didn’t take a before picture of the plastic toys.  Whoops.  Just picture the tiger, you know, with a heiney.
To bisect the toys, I just pierced the animal in the midsection (this is beginning to sound like a biology lab) with my scissors, and cut all the way around.  I was careful to keep my cutline as straight as possible.
apply glue
Once the toy was halved, I applied a generous layer of glue to the cut edge and stuck the toy onto the frame.  It took a little trial and error to correctly place the toy so that the animal’s feet touched the ground when the bookend was standing.
let glue dry
Once the animal halves were in place, I left them to dry.  This is always the hardest part for me.
Is it weird that this picture makes me want to make a set of these with only animal backsides? 
Yes?  Nevermind.
childrens dollar store bookends
I think these tiger bookends are hilarious, but I can’t tell you exactly why.
Can you tell that Sandra Boyton books are well-loved in my house?
tiger head bookend dollar store
Animal bookends would work equally well in a circus- or  a jungle-themed room.  If you are lucky enough to have a favorite professional sports team with an animal mascot (Go, Detroit Tigers!), these could even find a place in a teen’s room or Man Cave!
elephant and lion before
To take the project one step further, I hit an elephant and a lion head bookend with a coat of Krylon’s Oil Rubbed Bronze.  Satin-finished gold or antique copper spray paint would look very chic too.
elephant and lion after spray paint
The plastic toy and acrylic frame took the spray paint well, no priming necessary.  Just use a light hand on the frame to avoid drips.
dollar store faux bronze elephant bookend
I adore the curve of the elephant’s trunk.  I would be really surprised if a house guest could pick these out as dollar store toys!
For a funkier take, you could choose less traditional animals (my dollar store also had hippos and giraffes) and paint them in a trendy neon color.  It would be a snarky nod to the traditional animal bookend with a modern twist.
faxu bronze animal bookends
I hope you will give these bookends a try.  It’s a project that can easily be completed in an afternoon with such satisfying results!

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Thanks,  Jessica Hill
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  1. cara says

    I LOVE this idea and tried it. I got picture frames from the dollar store, animals too. Someone said she tried super glue and it didn’t work well. But that gorilla glue did work well for her. I have had the hardest time with gorilla glue because I guess I didn’t close it well last project or something…I guess you really have to get all the air bubbles out, etc. I have never used E-6000…can you buy it at walmart? about how much? do you like it a lot? what are your thoughts about my gorilla glue predicament? Thank you!!

    • madincrafts says

      Gorilla glue is activated with water, so that might have been your issue. Yes, you can buy E6000 just about anywhere you can get craft supplies, including Walmart. It should cost you around $5-6, and there is a lot of glue in the tube. Hope that helps!


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