How to Make a Cardboard Safari

Written by alex jakubik
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Make a Cardboard Safari
Safaris can be easily represented with self-made cardboard models. (Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Safaris are journeys through nature or uninhabited areas, usually in eastern Africa, with the purpose of hunting or exploring. In the past, they were usually expeditions of hunters and guides in a caravan-like group. Today a safari is usually for tourism or biological research. A cardboard safari can be an entertaining project for someone who wishes to represent the animals, travellers, scenery and any other aspect of a safari. The most familiar animals seen on a safari are lions, elephants, giraffes, water buffaloes, and antelopes. Less frequently observed animals include the leopard, rhinoceros, zebra, warthog and hippopotamus. With some supplies, plans and a bit of work and patience, anyone can make a cardboard safari.

Skill level:

Other People Are Reading

Things you need

  • Cardboard, card stock, or posterboard
  • Pencil
  • Scissors, x-acto knife, or other cutting tool
  • Crayons, magic markers, or paint for colouring
  • Glue
  • Decorative materials such as beads, string, felt (for fur)
  • Example images of animals

Show MoreHide


    Making a Giraffe for a Cardboard Safari

  1. 1

    Draw the form of a giraffe on the cardboard or card stock with the pencil. Begin with the head by making a triangle, like a pizza slice, with softened edges that points downward to the right. Add a small oval shape on the upper left of the triangle for an ear. Add a small point with a knob on the top for the small horn that giraffes have on the back of their head. Draw the neck down from the head as it expands slightly near the torso. Use an oval as the basis shape of the torso, making small alterations to fit the shape of the giraffe specifically in comparison with the example photo. Draw the legs below the torso by adding a thin column for each leg. Hind legs are slightly thicker close to the torso. The legs and the neck are generally the same height, which is a defining characteristic of the giraffe. The front legs are straighter than the back, and the knees bend backward slightly. A tail is optional since it is possible to add later with string. After drawing the body of the animal, do not forget to include a strip directly below the animal that will act as the support for it to stand freely once it is cut out. Most cardboard safari projects use smaller animals for stability reasons (one foot or 30 centimetres maximum). The strip should be one-third to one-half the height of the animal. Taller animals may require even larger support strips.

  2. 2

    Use the scissors or another cutting tool to cut out the form drawn on the cardboard. To remove cardboard for spaces between the legs, make a single cut toward the space you wish to remove. Then cut around the interior border until it is free to take away.

  3. 3

    Use the crayons, magic markers or paint to depict special markings. Giraffes generally have a base colour that ranges from cream or white through yellow to possibly orange. On top of the base colour are brown spots and trim. If using paint, wait for the paint to dry between colours and when finished before further handling. Use glue to attach a black bead for an eye. If you did not cut out a tail, then attach a piece of string with a knot on the end for a tail.

  4. 4

    Fold the supporting strip backward so the animal can stand on its own. Scoring the fold line with the dull edge of the scissors will allow the cardboard to fold more easily.

  5. 5

    Repeat the draw, cut and decorate steps to make the remaining safari characters desired. Pay attention to unique characteristics of the animals. The rhinoceros horn stands out quite prominently. The mane of the lion, possibly represented with fur made of felt, makes the head look quite large. Observing the proper ratio between leg height and body height improves your accuracy when drawing the animals.

Tips and warnings

  • Know the advantages and challenges of different thicknesses of cardboard. Thinner cardboard, card stock, or poster board are easier to cut with normal scissors. Thicker cardboard for taller animals may require heavier strength scissors or an X-acto blade. Use a photo of your animal of choice for reference when initially drawing the form on the cardboard. Remember that your animal is in sketch form until you start cutting it out. This allows for some reworking of the shape of the animal if you are not initially satisfied with it.
  • When using scissors or other sharp objects, always use controlled movements and keep sharp objects pointing away from you.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.