Giraffes are absolutely fascinating creatures, don’t you think? Giraffes are the tallest mammals in the world, with the tallest giraffe ever recorded at 5.9m high. That’s higher than a double decker bus! Even new born giraffes are around 6 feet tall. That’s a whole 1 foot taller that an adult me! But what I found most interesting is the fact that despite being 4-5m tall, a giraffe’s neck has the exact same number of bones as a human neck! These bad boys sleep for just 10 minutes to 2 hours a day, and they sleep standing up. And just like human fingerprints, the patterns on a giraffe are unique and no two giraffes are the same.
Sadly, these magnificent creatures have been threatened by human activities. Recently, for the first time, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species listed two giraffe sub species as Critically Endangered. In the last 30 years, human activities such as agricultural expansion, civil unrest and human-wildlife conflict and poaching have led to the decline of giraffe populations by an astonishing 40%!
Before we get to our project, here’s a few points on how you can help the giraffes:
The first step to saving these magnificent creatures is awareness. The giraffes’ endangered status seems to be relatively invisible, simply because unlike the elephants and rhinos that get their tusks carved off and horns hacked away, the giraffe is not the target of in international poaching network. Take the time to research about how habitat loss and hunting for meat has impacted giraffe populations and do what you can do spread awareness.
Now let’s get to our project!
Things you’ll need:
• A tall jar with a lid
• Giraffe Felt
• Polymer Clay: Beige, Brown & Black OR Air Dry Clay
• PVA Glue
• Hot Glue Gun & 1 glue stick
• Optional: A bow tie embellishment, buttons
Using polymer clay
Polymer clay is an extremely simple and versatile medium to work with. One of the biggest advantages of working with polymer clay is that you can cure it by baking it in a home oven. Even if you don’t have access to an oven, there are many types of polymer clays that you can harden by air drying. If you are using an oven to cure your creations, read your manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid any problems. Over heating polymer clay can release toxic fumes.
Steps to make the giraffe head:
- Roll the beige clay into a ball. This is the base for the head.
2. Press out the centre of the ball to form a small protrusion, like the nose area of a giraffe would be.
3. Roll small balls of beige clay and flatten them slightly for the ears. Attach these to the head.
Follow steps 4,5 &6 if you’re using polymer clay or steps 4 & 5 if you’re using coloured air drying clay. If you are using white air dry clay that can be painted on later, skip steps 4-6 and let your giraffe head dry to harden. You can paint the giraffe patches, eyes and nose once the head is dry.
4. Roll some brown clay into a thin sheet. Tear out small bits and attach these to the giraffe head in a random pattern to mimic the markings on a giraffe.
5. Use the black clay to add eyes and a nose to your giraffe head.
6. Bake the head according to your manufacturer instructions, or air dry if you’re using coloured air dry clay.
Steps to make the lid
- Depending on the size of your jar lid, cut 3 equal pieces of rope that can cover the entire lid.
2. Braid the three pieces of rope.
3. Hot the rope onto the lid in a circular pattern. You may start gluing from the centre moving outwards, or the other way round.
4. Once your giraffe head has baked and cooled (or air-dry hardened and been painted & dry), use hot glue to secure the head to the centre of the lid.
Steps to make the body of the jar
Before you get started on the following steps, prep your jar. Clean, wash and dry your jar. Get rid of any labels. If you’re using a plastic jar and are struggling to get rid of the sticky label, check out my tips on Jar Hacks 101, or simply opt to cover your entire jar with rope.
- Measure the height and circumference of your jar and cut your felt accordingly.
2. Apply PVA glue to your jar.
3. Line the felt along the top edge of your jar and wrap it around. Press down to ensure that the felt adheres to the jar. Tie some rope across the centre of the jar as it helps keep the felt in place
4. Fold down any excess felt along the bottom of the jar and glue it to the base.
5. Wrap a piece of rope around the neck of the jar. You can do this as the jar is drying as the rope helps hold the felt in place as it dries.
6. Make buttons out of black polymer clay, or air dry clay. If you have button embellishments, you’re good to go!
7. Hot glue the bow and button embellishments onto the jar.
And that’s it! Your giraffe jar is complete! Let me know what you think of this project in the comments.