Friday, April 25, 2014

Make It: Designer Inspired Zebra Dish

Hello from Milwaukee! I'm on a super quick school trip to Milwaukee today visiting the Kohl's headquarters. I was up at 4am to catch our 6am flight and heading back home later this evening. My marketing class had a competition with Kohl's and my group was selected as the winner, so we are presenting to Kohl's executives and touring the place. Wish us luck! 

Remember that failed DIY that went horribly wrong no matter how I tried to fix it? Well, you're looking at it!  I had a brilliant idea of recreating the Jonathan Adler Zebra dish I love for  a cheaper DIY version. Last week when working on this project, everything that could go wrong, did. I set the dumb thing aside and whipped up the flower necklace DIY so I had something to post last week. The rest of the week I was thinking about how I could salvage the zebra dish because I had already spent so much time on it and I was too stubborn to throw the whole thing out. I stopped obsessing over it and analyzing my every last mistake, and a few days later when I came back to it, it didn't actually look half bad!

While it took me way to many hours than I want to admit to complete this zebra dish, I learned my lesson so I can prevent you from making the same ones. Keep reading for the full tutorial.

Air-dry clay, $10 Hobby Lobby
White and turquoise acrylic paint, $1 Hobby Lobby
Paint brush
Gold spray paint
Rolling pin if you have one
Cutting board
Total $11 

Step 1
I followed the instructions on the package of clay which said to moisten the clay with water and knead until it was easy to work with. My clay was already pretty workable, so I just dampened my fingers with water and kneaded the clay for a few minutes. 

Step 2
Roll out the clay on your cutting board into an even sheet, about a half inch thick. I would use a rolling pin for this step if you have one so you can get an even layer. My kitchen is far from well-stocked (I only have one pan!) so I used the palms of my hands to flatten out the clay into an even sheet.

Step 3
Next, cut out your desired shape! I used a knife while looking at a picture of the Jonathan Adler zebra dish shape online. If you mess up it's not a big deal because you can always add or take away clay. 

Step 4
Once you cut out your shape, you want to smooth any edges and even out the layer as much as possible, but be careful to not make it too thin. Now it's time to start giving your zebra a little shape. I just worked with my hands to create "edges" along the side so the zebra isn't completely flat. I continually dipped my fingers in water when working with the clay because it made the clay more pliable and also helped smooth out finger prints and other indentations. 

Step 5
After you have smoothed out the zebra and are happy with your shape, it's time to let it dry! I let mine dry for a good 24 hours before touching it. When my zebra dried it also "raised" so only the feet touch the surface. Weird, but ended up working out nicely! 

Step 6
If there is any unevenness or edges you'd like to file down, do that after your zebra is completely dry. I used a glass nail file and it worked well. This step is totally optional! My zebra had some areas I wanted to file down and it worked pretty well, but didn't make it perfect.

Step 7
Spray paint the zebra gold. I just painted the top side, but that's up to you if you want to do the bottom as well. Once that dries, paint the outside edges of your zebra with acrylic paint to clean up the look. Now it's time to paint the stripes! I just looked at a picture and free-hand painted the stripes with a brush. I'm sure a paint pen would work great as well. I did about three coats of white paint in the stripes to make sure it was well-covered.

*Editor's note: I thought I was saving time by cutting out a stripe template in paper to then lay on top of the zebra while I spray painted it gold, creating stripes. The template took FOREVER to cut out and it ended up not working at all, so I just spray painted the whole zebra gold. 

This DIY takes a little bit of patience, but if you don't make my mistakes you should have it finished in a couple hours. Overall I'm happy with the result! $32 is not a lot of money for the real thing, but DIYs are all about customizing it to your own liking, right? You can paint it how ever your heart desires! Plus there is leftover clay to make at least 3 more. 

Do you have any fun plans this weekend? My sister who got engaged recently is trying on a few dresses this Saturday and I'm so excited!! One of the dresses I actually spotted online :)


  1. You are seriously talented! I'm thinking of all the other things I could make with the clay. This weekend I'm celebrating a good friends birthday with some drinks in the sun. Have a great weekend!

    26 and Not Counting

    1. Yes, there are so many things to do with the leftover clay! Sounds amazing have fun :)

  2. I love this! It is so creative and looks exactly like the Jonathan Adler one. Thanks for the idea!

    1. Thanks! It definitely took some trial and error before I got it :)

  3. Oh my gosh! This is such a cute idea!

  4. This is too cute! I love little dishes like this for jewelry, and love having one in my bathroom, one on my nightstand, one by the kitchen sink... you get the idea! This would make a great gift too... so many possibilities!

    1. Can never have too many jewelry dishes! Plus it's cheap to make! :)

  5. What a neat idea! There would be so many possibilities for this, tiger stripes or giraffe pattern maybe! Thanks a lot for the inspiration!

    1. I love your ideas! That's the fun part about DIYs, you customize them to your own liking :)


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