Dinosaur Décor for Grown-ups – DIY
When my son was knee-high to a grasshopper, he was dinosaur crazy. At the age of three, he dreamed of being a palaeontologist, and words like Pachycephalosaurus and Compsognathus rolled off his tongue easier than Mommy or Daddy. He’s all grown up and doing his honors in psychology but still loves those prehistoric creatures. He recently moved into an apartment, and I wanted to see if I could make him something as a housewarming gift that would fit his aesthetic décor style and his love of long-gone reptiles. Basically, dinosaur décor for grown-ups.
And I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. If dinosaurs aren’t your thing, you can replace the figurines inside with special keepsakes, farm animals, or cute knick-knacks.
Okay, before I share how to make dinosaur décor for grown-ups, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
What you need
- Cheap plastic dinosaurs
- Sturdy cardboard box
- Texture paste or make your own
- Free box template
- Glue gun and glue sticks
- Sharp craft knife or scissors
- Masking tape
- Battery-operated fairy lights
- Black and gold acrylic paint
How to make dinosaur décor for grown-ups
Turning the dinosaurs into something more classy and grownup
This is a super easy décor idea and can be completed in a day. Sort through your stash of plastic dinosaurs and pick the ones that stand on their own. I chose a T-Rex (of course), a Triceratops, and some kind of raptor.
If your dinosaurs are made from a rubbery material, paint them with gesso first.
The gesso stops the spray paint from becoming tacky. Spray or paint the dinosaurs a matt black.
Don’t they look so much more grown up already?
Making the lightbox for the dinosaurs
While you wait for the paint to dry, cut out the cardboard lightbox template.
You may need to adjust the size a little if your dinosaurs are bigger or smaller. Mine are roughly 12 cm x 12 cm x 12 cm ( 5 6/8“ x 5 6/8″ x 5 6/8″).
There are three pieces:
- A top,
- A bottom,
- And a long “Side, back and side” piece.
Use a craft knife to score along the sides and fold.
Temporarily tape the top and bottom of the box up and check that the dinosaur fits.
If you’re going to add fairy lights, measure the back, including the thickness of the cardboard on the sides, and cut a second back piece.
Using the battery pack of the fairy lights as a guide, cut a slot out of the second back piece to house the battery pack.
Dismantle the box so it’s flat again, and tape off the sides of all the pieces.
It helps neaten them up, especially if you made a boo-boo cutting them 😉
Apply texture paste to one side of all the pieces, including the flattened-out “back and sides”.
While the paste is still wet, fold the “back and sides” piece as shown below. Use a piece of masking tape to keep the sides up while the paste dries.
It should hold its shape well, once the texture paste dries.
Hot glue all the pieces together to form a box.
Don’t worry if there are slight gaps between the pieces. Once we apply the texture paste to the outside of the box, they’re hardly noticeable.
Glue the cardboard “battery pack” backpiece on.
Apply texture paste to the outside of the box and leave it to dry completely.
Giving the lightboxes a grown-up touch
Time to turn those boxes into something classy 😉 Paint the inside of the box in a color of your choice. I used a beautiful metallic copper. Paint the outside of the box black for a high contrast, classy look.
Once the paint dries, make a small hole in the back of the box. We’ll thread the fairy lights through it in a minute.
Tape or glue the battery pack in place. To disguise the tape, you can paint it black. The tape makes it easy to remove when you need to replace the batteries.
Pop a pre-historic creature inside, and that’s it. The dinosaur décor for grown-ups is all done.
Switch the lights on and enjoy.
Doesn’t it look like they’re coming out of some volcanic portal?
I staged these on a shelf with one of my all-time favorite paintings.
I usually paint portraits that are as realistic as possible, but this young lady was an experiment in breaking the rules 😀
My hubby framed her in copper pipes that have tarnished over time. You can get the same look on copper using a few simple household ingredients.
I do hope my son enjoys his housewarming gift. What do you think? Would you add dinosaurs to your decor?
If you like the idea of making dinosaur décor that a grown-up will love, don’t forget to pin it for later.
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Oh, and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry, it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us make more amazing crafts to share with you 😉
And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, then maybe these beauties will appeal.
And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.
6 thoughts on “Dinosaur Décor for Grown-ups – DIY”
How clever! My grandson is into dinosaurs and would love these even though he’s not an adult. 😉 For myself I would substitute a pig, cow and chicken for the dinosaur .
I’m convinced 99.9% of little boys love their dinosaurs. We donated a whole bunch of my son’s old ones to a friend of ours and her son enjoys them as much as what my son did
The dinosaurs are amazing! I saw them a few days ago on Facebook, but I didn’t have time to read the post until now. You are truly such a creative person, a mix of artist and engineer…and I’ve always known you were a fine artist as well, but wow. That portrait is just stunning. She’s clearly a beautiful woman, but you seem to have captured a bit of her soul. That is true artistry, my friend. And Merry Christmas to you and yours in your tropical paradise. It’s below zero here at the moment and nobody like that. Not even Santa!!
Eeeeek, below zero would make me want to crawl into bed and never leave. That’s sooo cold. Stay warm, Kim, and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.
This project is brillant, they look awesome with the light. Your portrait is stunning have have a beautiful talent for painting portraits.
Thanks so much, Anita. I wish I had more time to get back into painting portraits. I have three that are half-finished, but time is never on my side.