Bronze Leopard

Leopards are depicted in sculpture from the Kingdom of Benin as a symbol of power. They were kept in the palace of the king, or ‘Oba’. Make your own bronze-effec leopard with a textured surface

Bronze Leopard

Skill Level


Time to Make

2.5 hours + drying time for paint + glue

Adult Supervision Needed


How to Make

  1. Download the template. Use a pencil to draw a leopard outline onto A4 tracing paper. Make the shape as big as possible.
  2. Turn the tracing paper over then scribble over the outline. Turn the paper back over then place it over a polystyrene sheet. Draw over the pencil outline to lightly transfer the leopard shape onto the polystyrene.
  3. Remove the tracing paper. Carefully draw over the pencil outlines with a ballpoint pen to etch the leopard shape into the polystyrene. Follow the outlines using short strokes, moving the ballpoint pen backwards and forwards over the design. Etch over the lines for the leopard’s eye, ear and mouth.
  4. Press a marker pen lid into the polystyrene to make circle patterns on the leopard’s body. Use a felt pen top to make smaller circles and the end of a brush for dots to make a textured pattern.
  5. Brush dark brown paint over the leopard shape, working the paint into the lines in the polystyrene surface. Leave to dry.
  6. Brush bronze paint over the leopard to highlight the textured pattern. Leave to dry.
  7. Carefully cut out the leopard leaving 2-3mm of polystyrene as a border outside the etched outline. Cover the white edges of the polystyrene with dark brown paint.
  8. To make a base, cut a 6cm wide strip from the width of a polystyrene sheet (21cm) and a smaller strip 4cm x 18cm. Glue the strips together, paint dark brown and leave to dry.
  9. Turn the leopard over, glue 2 wooden cubes to the backs of the feet in line with the bottom edge on the polystyrene. Leave to dry. Glue the cubes onto the base so the leopard stands up. Leave to dry then brush over the cubes with dark brown or black paint.To finish the base, lightly brush the edges with bronze or gold paint.
Bronze Leopard Bronze Leopard Bronze Leopard

Top Tip

To etch small curves and details, press the ballpoint pen into the polystyrene using very short strokes so the surface doesn’t tear. Practice making patterns on some left over polystyrene before working on the leopard.



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