Create a whimsical wall decoration by using our free downloadable patterns to jigsaw a rhinoceros, moose, or unicorn.
Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.
Missing anything? Shop Online
Download and print the animal head pattern or patterns of your choice. Separate the plaque pattern from the rest of the parts.
Rough-cut two 1/2 x 6 boards about 1 inch longer than the plaque pattern. Cut and attach small pieces of double-faced carpet tape to one board and add the second board with the edges and ends flush. Using repositionable spray adhesive, temporarily attach the plaque pattern to the top of the stack with the pattern’s straight edge flush with one edge of the wood.
Carpet tape has a strong grip, so use it sparingly in pieces no larger than 1 square inch. Avoid placing the tape beneath pattern lines to be cut to avoid getting adhesive on the saw blade.
Cut along the pattern lines, and sand the cut marks smooth along the edges. Carefully separate the two halves and remove the tape.
To separate the halves without cracking the wood, slide the blade of a putty knife into any gaps and pry gently until the tape pops loose.
Working on a flat surface, dab glue along one of the straight edges of a plaque half. Butt the two halves together and hold them until the glue sets. (Allow about 60 seconds, although the time can vary with the glue and conditions.)
If you need an alternative to pressing the halves together, apply taut strips of painter’s tape to both sides so that it holds the pieces together.
After the glue sets, sand the faces of the plaque and the edges where the pieces meet. Wipe clean and set the plaque aside.
This technique works for cutting pairs of parts and individual parts, regardless of which animal head you plan to make. Separate the rest of the printed pattern into individual pieces, one group for pairs of parts and another for single parts. Use a ruler or straightedge when cutting straight pattern lines. Apply spray adhesive to the pair pattern parts, and fasten them to one of the 1/4-inch-thick boards. Orient the arrows on the patterns with the grain direction of the wood. Use the straight board edges where possible for straight pattern lines.
Attach small pieces of double-faced carpet tape to the underside of the board with the pattern. Avoid placing the tape beneath pattern lines to be cut to avoid getting adhesive on the saw blade. Then attach the second board with the edges and ends flush.
Clamp the stacked boards to a steady work surface away from the edge. Starting with the smallest pieces, cut around the pattern to make pairs of parts. Reclamp the boards as needed. Then sand the cut edges smooth and separate the pieces.
From the remaining pieces of wood, cut the three internal spacers to size and sand them smooth.
You’ll need smooth, parallel edges plus uniform widths for the spacers, so use a miter saw or table saw, if you have one available.
Lay a head profile flat on the work surface and mark the three spacer locations using the head pattern as a guide. Dab glue on one edge of the head spacer, press it against the mark on the head profile, and hold it there until the glue sets.
Hold the neck part in place against the inside of the head profile. Note where the pieces overlap, and apply glue to the overlap area. Press and hold the neck against the head profile.
Glue the end and edge of an angled spacer and place it in position against the edge of the neck board until the glue sets.
Glue and hold the nose spacer in position on the head profile, parallel to the first spacer.
Glue and hold a narrow neck spacer against the neck piece.
Glue and hold the second neck piece with one edge against the angled spacer, the adjoining edge against the head spacer, and the bottom face resting on the narrow spacer. Hold or tape the neck in position while the glue sets.
Glue and hold the second head profile in position directly above the bottom one.
Use the pattern as a guide to glue the cheek, nose, and ear profiles in place on one side of the head. After the glue sets, flip the head over and repeat for the other side. Assemble the horn halves with the edges flush. Then glue and hold the horn centered on the angled spacer.
Check that the neck edges rest on a flat surface without gaps. If necessary, tape a sheet of sandpaper to a flat surface and rub the edges of the neck boards up and down the sandpaper until both edges are flattened. Glue and hold the head assembly centered on the plaque.
Sand the completed head as needed and wipe clean. Spray three coats of gloss white paint, lightly sanding between coats. After the last coat dries, nail a self-leveling picture hanger on the back of the plaque roughly 2 inches from the top. Estimated cost: $32 per animal head.
Before attaching the hanger, check that the nails will not break through the front of the plaque. If necessary, trim them slightly with wire cutters.
The main differences between the rhino or moose and the unicorn are the lack of neck pieces holding the head to the plaque and the use of only parallel spacers (shown). Begin by gluing the three spacers to the head profile using the pattern as a guide. Then add the other head profile.
Spacers beneath the profile pieces closest to the plaque create a shadow line and increase the amount of surface for gluing the head centered on the plaque. Glue the neck-profile spacers to the neck side profiles where shown on the pattern. Then glue spacers and profiles to the head profile. Glue the finished head centered on the plaque.
Spray-paint the completed head. Trim the hanger nails as needed and nail the self-leveling hanger in place centered on the back of the plaque about 2 inches from the top.
Assemble the head using techniques from both the unicorn and rhino sections.
After mounting the head to the plaque, add the antlers as a final step.
Trim the hanger nails as needed and nail the self-leveling hanger as high as possible on the back of the plaque to help it balance the antlers.