How to Make a 3D Zebra Project

The three types of zebras inhabiting Africa include the Grevy's, mountain, and Burchell's or plains zebra species. The physical characteristics and habitats of the three vary slightly. Include all of these zebras in a three-dimensional zebra project by creating a three-part diorama that presents each zebra in its habitat. By using common art materials, the project can be adapted to any age student by simply adjusting the amount of assistance given and detail required.

Paint a large, detailed map of Africa in the centre section of the trifold project board. Label the map with the country names. In the upper left-hand section of the trifold, create a title for the zebra project.

Use white modelling clay to create three zebras small enough to fit in the shoeboxes. Create a Grevy's zebra with a long, narrow head and large ears. Create a mountain zebra with a slightly smaller body and narrow hooves. Create the Burchell's zebra with a more rounded body than the others.

Once dry, paint the zebra stripes and facial details with black acrylic paint. Paint thin, vertical stripes on the Grevy's zebra. Mountain zebras also have thin, vertical stripes but they are closer together than on the Grevy's and become wider on the horizontal hind quarter stripes. The Burchell's stripe pattern varies but like all zebras, starts broad and vertical on the head and body then becomes horizontal on the legs. Add a yarn tail to each zebra with glue.

Paint inside one shoebox with a background depicting African grasslands for the Grevy's zebra. Paint another shoebox with a background of African hills and mountains for the mountain zebra. Inside the third shoebox, paint a background of African savannahs and plains for the Burchell's zebra.

Paint the outside of the boxes solid black. Allow the boxes to dry completely, then place thick craft glue on the bottom of the boxes. Glue one box on the left panel of the project board under the title. Glue the other two boxes on the right panel, one near the top and one near the bottom.

Paint the name of the zebra that matches the painted habitat background on one of the sides of each of the shoeboxes. Add sand and raffia to the bottom of the Grevy's and Burchell's zebra's grassy habitat. Add small rocks to the bottom of the mountain zebra's habitat.

Attach the zebras to the correct habitat box with craft glue on the hooves. Glue a length of yarn to the edge of the box closest to the map on each box. Glue the other end of the yarn on the map in a location where that type of zebra is found.


Use quick-drying, child's clay for best results.


Allow all clay, paint and glue to dry completely between steps so project remains stable.

Things You'll Need

  • Trifold project board, large
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes
  • White modelling clay
  • Yarn
  • 3 small shoeboxes
  • Craft glue
  • Sand
  • Raffia
  • Small rocks
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About the Author

Elizabeth Stover, an 18 year veteran teacher and author, has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Maryland with a minor in sociology/writing. Stover earned a masters degree in education curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas, Arlington and continues to work on a masters in Educational Leadership from University of North Texas. Stover was published by Creative Teaching Press with the books "Science Tub Topics" and "Math Tub Topics."