Friday, April 1, 2011

Rabbit Decoration DIY in 3 versions...

If you are like me and have various and sundry craft supplies and a few brown paper bags laying around then this craft may not cost you ANY additional money. Even if you have to purchase materials, they are super inexpensive and fun.

The basis for this project is layers of brown paper glued together to form stiffened material from which rabbit-shaped cutouts are made. These decorations can be used on egg trees, as gift tags, Easter garland or various other decoration applications.

The 3 style versions are verdigris, cracked leather & plain.
3 versions

Version 1 ~ Verdigris Rabbit
Verdigris RabbitLayering brown paper for stiffness & adding turquoise paint & soot give this rabbit the patina look of oxidized metal.

Brown craft paper or brown paper bag(s)
White glue such as Elmer’s
Large stiff bristled paint brush
Turquoise acrylic paint
Paper towels
Thick paper or cardboard for making pattern template
Optional Tweezers for holding piece while burning the glue
Matt clear finish spray, (such as Krylon clear coat)
Ribbon for bow

Step 1: Make pattern template by tracing rabbit silhouette onto card stock or thin cardboard. Cut out and set aside.

Step 2: Cut brown paper into 6 (or more) squares about 1 “ wider and 1” taller than the pattern template.
cut paper larger then template
Step 3: Using the brush or your fingers, spread a layer of white glue evenly across entire brown paper square. Immediately lay 2nd square on top and smooth out wrinkles. Brush glue evenly onto this layer and repeat the layering process until there are about 4 sheets glued to one another. Do not spread glue on the topmost layer. (For thinner craft paper, more layers may be added).
glue layers 1
Smooth layers, pressing out air bubbles and wrinkles. Some wrinkles are acceptable adding to the weathered look of the finished piece.
layers 2
Step 4: While the glue is still wet, gently trace the rabbit onto the layered paper.
trace pattern while still wet
Carefully cut out the shape. Cutting the shape out while the glue is still wet creates a nice sealed edge as the pressure from the scissor blades squeezes the layers together.
Set aside to dry.

cut shape out
Step 5: Once the piece is dry it’s time to paint. Place a dab of turquoise paint onto a saucer or piece of cardboard.
dry brush 2
Using a completely dry brush, dip just the very tip of the brush lightly into the paint. Using a paper towel wipe the brush back and forth a couple of times to get rid of excess paint.
dry brush 3
Using light pressure, brush the paint across the dry rabbit shape, using long strokes. With dry-brushing, the idea is to build up the color layer by layer so don’t rush but rather repeat the process until desired effect is achieved.
Let dry, then repeat steps for opposite side.
dry brush 4

dry brush 5
Step 6: Using the brush, spread a final coat of glue over the rabbit. Let dry and repeat for opposite side.
spread glue over turquoise paint

Step 7: Once the glue is dry on both sides, carefully hold the finished piece in the flames until it becomes sooty. The soot process happens very quickly so make certain to move it around so as not to catch fire & do both sides.
burning the glue
Step 8: Lay soot covered piece onto paper towel. With 2nd paper towel gently wipe away some of the soot on both sides.
wipe off soot
Once soot is wiped off spray both sides with matte finish clear coat spray. Embellish with a ribbon. Done.
Final note: if your rabbit is darker than you  would like, a white wash glaze of watered down acrylic paint can be applied and immediately wiped off to lighten the piece.

Version 2 ~ Cracked Leather
Using the same brown paper rabbit, torn masking tape and brown liquid shoe polish give it the look of old, cracked leather.
cracked leather

Brown craft paper or brown paper bag(s)
White glue such as Elmer’s
Thick paper or cardboard for making pattern template
Masking Tape
Liquid shoe polish in brown
Matt clear finish spray, (such as Krylon clear coat)
Ribbon for bow

Make up paper rabbit as in the previous version steps 1-4 & let dry.
Tear ½” pieces of masking tape and stick to rabbit, making certain to overlap pieces. Smooth down tape.
cracked leather 1a

masking tape competed

Once both sides are covered entirely, using the liquid shoe polish with sponge tip applicator, dab color all over the piece. Gently wipe off excess color with paper towel. Repeat as desired. 

If you can’t find liquid shoe polish you can use water-thinned acrylic paint. Make certain to dab excess of as you go since it dries sop quickly. To thin the acrylic paint, add ½ teaspoon or less to brown acrylic paint, (add just enough water to make a glaze). Paint onto finished rabbit and immediately dab, (do not rub/wipe), with paper towel to wipe off excess.

Let dry and spray with clear coat as desired

Version 3 ~ Plain Leather Rabbit
plain leather
Leave rabbit as is for super simple finish. Simply spray with clear coat, let dry & add ribbon.

What else can we do? Infinite possibilities... 
wrapping paper
Wrapping paper decoupage`

More Easter/springtime crafts coming. Until then TGIF y'all!


  1. Just saw you tweet about this. Love the bunnies! Wow, what a wonderful tutorial.

  2. Thank you!!Hope you have a wonderful weekend!