Upcycle Your Stuffed Animals: Mount Them Big-Game Style

Bring the wild indoors with this adorable decor your animal-crazy child will love.

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Kids love animals. Exotic creatures help their imaginations dream up all sorts of adventures from a jungle safari to trekking across the Serengeti. To put the daydreams in motion, I’ve created a simple craft that will add plenty of furry charm, and nobody has to get hurt.

Mounted Animal Heads

Mounted Animal Heads

Make Mounted Stuffed Animal Heads

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

If you have some forgotten stuffed animals already, you’re in luck. If not, you will need to purchase some. How many you need will depend on the space you wish to fill. Go with either a couple of large animals or a group of smaller ones.

You will need:

  • stuffed animals
  • scissors
  • foam core
  • pencil
  • craft knife
  • hot glue gun
  • hot glue sticks
  • duct tape
  • pre-made plaques
  • paint or stain/varnish
  • nails to hang or adhesive strips

To begin, cut the head off of the animal. Allow for 1” of extra fabric to wrap around the back of the foam core. 

Mounted Animal Heads

Mounted Animal Heads

Make Mounted Stuffed Animal Heads

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Press as much of the filling inside the cavity as possible. With the cut side down, place the head/neck on a sheet of foam core, tucking the extra fabric under. Use a pencil to outline the the base of the head on the foam core. Set the head aside and tidy up your shape. Use a craft knife to carefully cut out the shape. Note: It is better to do this in two or three gentle passes than one forceful pass. 

Mounted Animal Heads

Mounted Animal Heads

Make Mounted Stuffed Animal Heads

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Place the foam core cutout inside the hole of the neck and begin securing the fabric with a hot glue gun. Starting at the top, add a dab of hot glue to the foam core and immediately press the fabric to it. Note: Always use caution with hot glue. It can cause serious burns if not handled properly. For extra security, place a piece of duct tape on the first spot to hold it in place as you continue.

Mounted Animal Heads

Mounted Animal Heads

Make Mounted Stuffed Animal Heads

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Continue adding glue liberally and attaching the fabric. Where fabric overlaps, pinch it together and allow it to stand taller than the rest of the fabric. This will be cut off later. When you have finished gluing, set the head aside to allow the glue to set completely. Meanwhile, paint or stain and varnish the plaques.

Mounted Animal Heads

Mounted Animal Heads

Make Mounted Stuffed Animal Heads

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

When the plaques have dried, use scissors to cut away the pinched points that you made with the overlapping fabric. At this time, also remove as much fur as possible from the glued fabric, leaving you with a surface that is as flat as possible.

Mounted Animal Heads

Mounted Animal Heads

Make Mounted Stuffed Animal Heads

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Use the hot glue gun again to attach the heads to the plaques. Apply a generous amount of hot glue to the back of the head. Keep the glue about 1” from the edge of the flat surface. Press the back of the head onto the center of the dry plaques and hold tightly for a moment to create a tight bond. If your plaque has a hanger or hole for hanging on the back be sure to line up the head appropriately. Allow the glue to set completely before proceeding.

Mounted Animal Heads

Mounted Animal Heads

Make Mounted Stuffed Animal Heads

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

If the plaques you have purchased already have hangers or holes drilled for hanging you are ready to hang your mounted heads. If not, you have a few options for hanging. You can either add a D-ring to the back, a picture hanging bracket, or drill a small hole just deep enough to fit over a nail. Alternatively, you could also use removable adhesive strips for hanging. Regardless of the method, be sure to line up the hanger or hole with the animal on the front for an even result.

Mounted Animal Heads

Mounted Animal Heads

Make Mounted Stuffed Animal Heads

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Arrange your mounted heads on a flat surface to determine the correct layout and then attach them to the wall.  

Mounted Animal Heads

Mounted Animal Heads

Make Mounted Stuffed Animal Heads

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

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