SMP Craft
13 May

How-To Tuesday: Plastic Animal Bookends

Now that summer is approaching it’s time for me to do my belated Spring Cleaning! One of the most important tasks was to do some major upkeep of my bookcase. I got in the bad habit of just stacking books I acquired instead of putting them in their rightful place. While re-organizing I found I needed some bookends and went searching online to see what I could find. It didn’t help that Huffington Post published an article about Quirky Bookends so I had my eyes on lots of bookends.

I thought the whale bookends were absolutely perfect and wanted to make bookends with animals cut in half. Once I found Mad in Crafts and their post on plastic animal bookends, I knew what I was doing on the weekend!

Some things to keep in mind that I didn’t:
– Make sure the animal you buy is somewhat hollow and plastic. I bought a variety of animals from Michaels and two of them were solid plastic and were not able to be cut. (Even with a bone-cutting kitchen knife.) I’m thinking maybe rubber dog toys might be something to try. Those would definitely be easier to cut in half.
– Use an animal a relative size to the picture frames
– BE CAREFUL CUTTING THE ANIMAL. We (my helpful crafty friends) ended up using pruning shears after a variety of sharp objects refused to work.
– I had trouble tracking down solid medal bookends so I used acrylic picture frames like Jessica from Mad in Crafts. They still work. In fact, I found if I had tall enough books, the frame would actually bend a bit to become a right angle.
– When placing the animal halves on the frames mark each side so your animal is even and doesn’t look like it’s leaping into the unknown. (As my tenacious turtle does.)
– I painted everything and then glued the frames to the turtle I had cut. Mad in Crafts has those steps reversed. I recommend their method. This will make it easier to get your bookend and animal to be the same shade of spraypaint.
– Because I had trouble cutting the turtle, I didn’t bother trimming the shape to fit the frame’s surface. I used hot glue to close up tiny gaps and re-sprayed everything. Not the best solution so again, choose an animal that will be easy to cut.

– sharp cutting tool
– cutting board or other surface
– plastic animal
– 2 acrylic picture frames
– newspaper
– spraypaint
– glue

1.  Cut your plastic animal in half. Tip from SMP Publicity Assistant Michelle Cashman – Put a wet paper towel underneath your cutting board to keep it from slipping. Super important with this craft. Things could have gotten very messy the way we were trying to slice these animals.

cutting turtle successfully

2. Spray paint frames and animal halves. (Be sure to clean the frames first! I did mine outside and got some flying dirt and lazily painted over it. I would not recommend.) I went with my favorite color, but try white to re-create a porcelain look!

spray paint

3. Bend the frames to desired angle and paste the animal halves onto the picture frames. Apply pressure for animal halves for a good minute.


That’s it! Pretty simple for something that looks so awesome. I was amazed how little time it took. This may just become my new housewarming present for all my fellow bibliophiles!

bookends   finished

No living animals were harmed in the making of this craft.


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