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Paper Zebra Art Project


I love zebras. From an art teacher’s point of view, zebras are a sure thing for an art lesson. Doesn’t matter how you draw the body, put some black and white stripes on it and you’ve got yourself a zebra. Easy Peasy.

Whether you use paint or decide to rip up paper to create these striped animals, your class is sure to have fun designing their zebra.

Here’s a photo I snapped of a zebra exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History where an art lesson idea was ignited!


These are the instructions to make torn paper zebras with your class.

Here’s what we did:

On a sheet of white sulphite paper, we drew a zebra with black oil pastel. I use this medium a lot when drawing larger pictures because it forces just that: larger drawings. Using a pencil encourages small, detailed drawings and that wouldn’t work for this type of project.


To make it easier for the kids, we start by drawing a dot for the eye and placing it near the top corner of the paper. Then, draw a short vertical line in front of the eye (nose). Place oil pastel on top of the line and draw a straight horizontal line for the top of the head. Put oil pastel on bottom of vertical line and draw a curved line for the jaw. Almost there…

From the bottom of the jaw, draw a straight line down to the bottom of the paper (legs). Draw a long neck, a back and then a back leg. Getting confused? Don’t worry. This drawing is designed to be boxy and simple. In many cases it won’t even look like a zebra until the stripes get added.

Now finish off the drawing by completing the legs (stress skinny rectangles), add a tail and a mane.

After the stripes are added with white glue or glue sticks (I used both, so use whichever works for you best) it’s time to create the background.

Have them chose between 2 or 3 colors of construction paper. Glue Zebra onto paper and use colored paper scraps to make grass, trees, and/or a sun. You might have to encourage some kids with questions about where zebras live, what do they eat, if it is a sunny day or a cloudy one…that sort of thing. I found that once the zebra found it’s home on the paper, a few kids were done. A little proding generally stirs up their creativity.

Now sit back and enjoy watching your little artists create.

National Art Standards:

  • Understand repetition and balance in nature, environment and works of art
  • Identify the elements of art in nature, the environment and works of art focusing on line, color, shape/form, texture and space
  • Demonstrate beginning skills in basic tools and art-making processes.

Second Grade Torn Paper Zebras

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  1. These zebras are beautiful.
    You are right you can’t go wrong with black and white.

    Marilena Linardatou

    July 23, 2011

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