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Animal Specimen Art

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animal specimen art diy homemade gift boys kids christmas

For the past few years, my family does a homemade Christmas gift exchange in addition to buying presents.  The adults switch names and the kids switch names, and I absolutely LOVE it!

Sometimes it’s a goofy gift, sometimes it’s a nice piece of art for your home, sometimes it needs a little explaining…  but it’s SO much fun and these have grown to be some of my favorite gifts that I’ve ever received!  Over the next week or so, I’m going to show you the gifts we made to give this year and then give you some peeks at what we received.

My 11 year-old son picked his 15 year-old cousin’s name.  Normally, anything to do with a 15 year-old boy would probably produce a lot of eye rolls and “what in the heck does he want besides electronics”, right??  But not my nephew!  As soon as you see his name, your brain goes straight to animals.  This kid has had some kind of magnetic pull with animals since he was a wee little one, and it’s still as strong as ever.  He’ll grow up and do something in the animal field, there’s no doubt about that!

So we knew we were going with animals and my son knew he wanted it to be funny.

I bring you…

animal specimen art boys gift diy idea

Animal Specimen Art- with butts!


Plastic Animals  (these are not the ones we bought. We got ours at Dollar Tree, but I’m just showing you the size)

Super Glue

Wooden board (we painted ours white)

Lettering (I’ll give you options later)

Sawtooth hanger

My husband and son used a hacksaw to cut each of the animals in half.  Just be sure it’s a clean, flat break without any rough edges. You want it to lay flat against the board.  Glue your animals to the board, trying not to get too much excess glue.  We used balled up newspapers in between our animals to support them upright while they dried.  We let them dry for 2 days before we attempted the lettering in between the animals.

For our lettering, I cut out black vinyl using my Cricut. This makes it really simple to just cut out the letters and quickly place them on.  You could also just use a black Sharpie or paint the letters on.

We attached the sawtooth hanger as the last step, because we wanted the board to be able to lay flat when we were gluing the animals down so they wouldn’t slide.

And that’s it!  My son was able to do quite a bit of this project too- he painted the board, helped cut the animals and glue them down and he transferred all the lettering onto the board.  It was cheap, fairly quick and made us giggle every time we looked at it!  And let’s face it, boys’ gifts are hard enough, but a boy’s handmade gift is pretty absurdly hard!

animal speciment art boys christmas gift diy



Shannah @ Just Us Four

Monday 13th of January 2014

What a cute and funny idea! LOVE it!


Friday 10th of January 2014

HAHA! This is great! My little boys would have a fit over it.

Dee Williamson

Thursday 9th of January 2014

OMG I love this! Haha such a cute idea. I have to share.