Introduction: Make a Cardboard Giraffe Bust (or Any Other Animal!)

I had a large cardboard box lying around that I really wanted to make something out of, and I happened across this website:

Inspired by their products, I decided to design and create my own cardboard animal bust.  It was a pretty fun process with a satisfying result, so I thought I'd share my experience.  Here's what you'll need:

*Cardboard - lots of it, preferably the same thickness
*Box cutter or good knife
*Glue (optional - a wire coathanger could work too)

Step 1: Imagine Your Design

I decided to make a giraffe because their horns and head shape are iconic and would hopefully be recognizable even if I messed up a bit.  In order to create the bust, you'll need to have a good concept of the 3-d shape of the animal head.  I just looked at lots of pictures of giraffes from different angles, until I felt that I had a good idea of what they were shaped like.

Step 2: Draw and Cut the Profile Slices

You'll need to decide how many profile slices you want, and whether they will be parallel to each other or not.  My design has three profile slices, so the center one is simply a regular profile, while the other two are slices from a quarter-way through the giraffe's head.  I decided to angle those two slices inwards on the bottom so that they could go through the center of the horns at the top and help shape the giraffe's thin neck at the bottom.  Giraffe's heads are wider at the top than the bottom when viewed from the front.

Once you've decided on your slices, draw them onto the cardboard and cut them out.

Step 3: Plan and Cut the Coronal Slices

You'll need to decide how many slices you want to have perpendicular to your profile slices (the coronal slices).  Once you've decided on their number and spacing, draw vertical lines on the profile slices everywhere they will intersect with the coronal slices.  You can then measure the length of the lines that each coronal piece will intersect, and use those as a guide for designing your slices.

Draw out the intersection lines and the actual shape of each slice, and cut them out.

Step 4: Cut Slots in Every Slice

Measure halfway along every intersection line on all of the slices, and make a mark.  The profile slices will have slots cut from the bottom to that center mark, while the coronal slices will be cut from the top to the center.  Make sure each slot is as wide as the cardboard is thick.

Step 5: Assemble Your Bust!

Simply slide all of the pieces together!  Since my design's profile slices weren't parallel, I had to attach all of the coronal slices to one of the profiles, then slide in the other two profile slices one at a time.  If your slices are all parallel, it shouldn't matter what order you go about assembling them.

You can use some craft glue to secure any loose joints, but if you're lucky and the slots are the right width it should hold together by itself pretty well.

In the next step, I'll describe how to make the mounting board!

Step 6: Mount It!

I made a little mounting board to attach my bust to.  I didn't have any good glue at the time, so I took advantage of the cardboard's corrugation and used a piece of a wire coathanger.  I bent it and stuck one end into the corrugation of a profile piece, and the other into a hole giving access to the corrugation of the mounting board.  I don't really recommend this method, as it wasn't as sturdy as I would have liked.  You're probably better off just using a good craft glue.

Well, that's it!  Pick your favorite animal, or invent one!  You can make whatever shapes you want - this is an all-purpose method for cardboard sculpture creation.