How to Make Unicorn Bust With CD Mosaic!

2 Days

Do you like unicorns? How about HOLOGRAPHIC unicorns? Well you’re in luck- for this project I’ll be showing you how to make your very own mosaic holographic unicorn bust!

You can check out the video above, or just keep reading!
I went a little overboard and made a unicorn bust completely from scratch. It’s totally not necessary to do this if you can find an already made one, but if you want to go overboard with me, I documented my process so you can use it as reference.

To make one from scratch, I took a toilet paper roll and cut one end at about a 45 degree angle. Then I traced this side on some cardboard, cut it out and taped it to that end to cap it off.

I took some packing paper and crumpled it into a ball roughly the size of a baseball and used tape to make it keep it’s shape. I snipped off a small curved piece from the other end of the roll that the ball could fit into and then taped the ball into place like so.

I made another ball, this time about the size of a golf ball or ping pong ball. I used the first piece of  toilet paper roll that I cut off to elongate the nose and then taped that and the smaller ball in place.

I taped on tissue paper to sort of beef up certain areas. I used some horse muscular anatomy images (thanks to Google Images) to help me out with where I should place these pieces.

When I was happy with the overall shape of the bust, it was time to add the horn! I sharpened one end of a small dowel down to a point, poked a hole in the forehead and stuck the dowel in, taping it in place. And then I finally added ears.
Then I further refined the bust with air drying paper clay, making sure to add the detail of the horn, eyes, nose, mane, etc. You can go as intricate or as simple as you want here.
When I was happy with it, I let it dry.
Attach a saw tooth hanger to back of the plaque.

Position the bust on the plaque, trace around it and then mark about ¼ inch in.
Stain the wood, avoiding the very center. You should leave that area raw because the glue will adhere to raw wood better than finished wood. Set that aside to dry.
If you want to, you can prime the unicorn bust. I primed mine with white gesso, but in the end I probably didn’t need to because the faux grout completely covered it anyway.

Paint the horn, mane, eyes and nostrils with black enamel paint. (I actually did this a little later, when I had already started gluing the mosaic on, so some of these next photos may look like they’re out of order.)

Now for what everyone has been waiting for, the holographic mosaic!
I went into this thinking I would just easily cut up some CDs and slap them onto the bust, however, when I started trying to cut the CD up, I realized this wasn’t as simple as I initially thought. Ultimately I ended up using DVD-Rs for this project. CDs have a thin holographic film on them that tends to flake off then you try to cut it. There are a few methods to cut up CDs that people have had varying degrees of success with, and I tried and failed with a few of them, which I’ll get into below.
School glue method: Spread a thin layer of school glue over the CD, let it dry, and cut like normal. I think the reasoning behind this is that it would make the holographic layer thicker which ideally would make it stronger, but that didn’t work out for me. It still flaked off like before. 

Hot water method: Let the CD sit in hot water for a few minutes and then cut. It seems like this one would just soften the plastic of the CD to make it easier to cut, but I didn’t have a problem with cutting it in the first place. I still tried it out though because people did say that it helped them but unfortunately I wasn’t so lucky. 

Boil method: Boil CD with water for a few minutes and then cut. Long story short, it didn’t work for me. (See above.) 

Utility knife: I tried using a ruler and utility knife to cut the CD. The holographic film still easily flaked off. 

Higher quality scissors: I used some higher quality scissors, but there was no difference between using these and my normal scissors.

It’s quite possible that I might not have had good results because I was using CD-Rs instead of normal CDs, but that’s all I had on hand.
I decided to try my hand at using DVD-Rs as a last ditch effort, and those worked perfectly. Use a utility knife to VERY carefully split the DVD-R apart. You should see a bit of a seam where the pieces are pressed together where you can stick the knife into. If you find it too hard to do that, you can make one initial cut, which should start to separate the DVD-R enough for you to use your fingers to pry it apart the rest of the way.
From there, just cut up the holographic side into small pieces.
Working in small sections, spread some black E6000 and stick the DVD pieces in place, leaving a small gap between each piece to give the illusion of grout.
Finish with more paint if you want. I painted the mane a silvery blue color.
Once everything is completely dry, squeeze out some more E6000 on the back of the bust and then stick it to the wooden plaque.
Once it’s dry, it’s done!

All that's left to do now is to hang it on your wall and admire it!

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Have a question about this project?

22 questions
  • Anne Fleischmann
    on Jul 4, 2017

    No question! Your tutorial is very clearly written. Most have so many typos, that it is distracting to read. You did a great job on the project and the writing@
    • Diane
      on Jul 4, 2017

      It always disturbs me when people get so picky. Put your red pen away and just be nice. It's nice that people share their crafts. Maybe some people just write in a hurry, or writing on a small pad, or don't have the spelling skills, etc. Who knows. who cares? Perhaps you should choose other reading material. Just saying...
    • Maryllier
      on Jul 4, 2017

      I used to have a blackberry. Never had typos. Now I use my phone and typos abound. Fat fingers. Sometimes it is difficult to scroll back to re-read and fix. Sometimes I just cant get the board to allow me to retype. So please understand we r trying!
    • Maryllier
      on Jul 4, 2017

      I used to have a blackberry. Never had typos. Now I use my phone and typos abound. Fat fingers. Sometimes it is difficult to scroll back to re-read and fix. Sometimes I just cant get the board to allow me to retype. So please understand we r trying!
    • M
      on Jul 4, 2017

      Agree tutorial is well written. Thanks for including your various experiments that didn't work out, saves the rest of us time and effort trying out variations.
      on Jul 4, 2017

      I was disappointed when I tried to cut cos for a project. Never thought to try dvd-r's!! Thanks!!
  • Birdz of a Feather
    on Jul 4, 2017

    Great project and tutorial! I didn't know that E6000 even came in black, so I learned something new! Also, thanks for differentiating between CDs and DVD R's - that information is so useful! Just one thing I was wondering if you could clarify; when you're gluing down the DVD Rs using just the holographic part, is there a particular side that should get the glue applied to it (i.e. is there a right and wrong side or it doesn't matter)?
  • Birdz of a Feather
    on Jul 4, 2017

    I should have asked my question here instead of in the comment section: when you're gluing down the DVD Rs using just the holographic part, is there a particular side that should get the glue applied to it (i.e. is there a right and wrong side or it doesn't matter)?
    • Touchedpainter
      on Jul 4, 2017

      Actually whichever side you like the best. I personally will be using both, maybe 1 or the other, or maybe a mixture of both. Depends on how differently they are.
  • Kathleen k parker
    on Jul 4, 2017

    What is E 6000?
    • Mumandp
      on Jul 4, 2017

      It is a super strong glue, it can be found at Walmart and any other big box store.
      It is excellent and works with everything!!
    • Sandy Grant
      on Jul 4, 2017

      It is a type of heavy duty glue that can be used with stones, rhinestones, etc unlike super glue which turns them foggy. You can find it in any craft store or Walmart however the black is new so I would say try calling before you go. Also be sure to work in a well ventilated area it smells worse than super glue.
    • Cathy Magan
      on Jul 4, 2017

      Glue. ✌🤘
    • Di
      on Jul 4, 2017

      It is a very sticky glue sold in tubes. It works well for slick surfaces like glass and metal. You can get it in the craft store as well as the hardware store. It also comes in clear. It has a strong odor so use in a well ventilated area.
    • Brenda Brandt Deason
      on Jul 4, 2017

      I get it from Amazon.
    • Kathleen k parker
      on Jul 4, 2017

      Thanks, everyone!! :) kkp
  • Sue Sanders
    on Jul 4, 2017

    How did you get so many colors with the CDR's?

  • Esther Davies
    on Jul 4, 2017

    I'm in the UK....what is an equivalent glue?
    • Zoe Emiko
      on Jul 4, 2017

      E6000 is available on
    • Beth
      on Jul 4, 2017

      Clear gorilla glue, or any clear glue. You can color the glue, or paint first. 6000 is stinky!
  • Kacoo
    on Jul 4, 2017

    Great artist, you!! Absolutely beautiful... great tutorial.
  • Christina Darnell
    on Jul 4, 2017

    I have a box full of CD's I've been holding onto to hopefully find something to make out of them. I'm wondering if you could just break them instead of trying to cut them? Thinking about trying this on a bowling ball to sit in a bird bath. 😊
  • Misty
    on Jul 4, 2017

    Hi there! About how many discs/disc films did it take to cover this? Beautiful job btw!!!
  • Jdprice
    on Jul 4, 2017

    Way out of my league, but insanely gorgeous! Your sculpting & embellishing should be sold in gallerys! Amazing!
  • Annabelle Davin Koglin
    on Jul 4, 2017

    How long did this project take? Looks like many hours! But it's beautiful!
  • Bernice H
    on Jul 4, 2017

    I LOVE this! But how about a cat? How would I go about forming a cat,seeing as I am still in the stick people era,artistically speaking! And the secret is DVD.r's?
    • M. M..
      on Jul 4, 2017

      I've seen at craft stores, paper mache cats that are slightly smaller than life size. You could easily cut one in half, if you're thinking to make a "front half" plaque like the unicorn head-neck-shoulders piece. Cover it with air dry clay, and follow the rest of the directions.. show us what you do!
  • Bar8474703
    on Jul 4, 2017

    Do you think this was stand up to being put outside. Was thinking this would be a cool technique on a bowling ball.
    • Kirsty Merrell
      on Jul 4, 2017

      I don't see why not. Just make sure to coat it with an outdoor grade polyurethane.
  • Alice
    on Jul 4, 2017

    No questions - just want to say how much I admire your talent. It's fun to watch you and listen to you. Thank you
  • Bkl23578862
    on Jul 4, 2017

    No question. just want to tell you it's gorgeous and thank you for sharing. Happy 4th of July 💥
  • Pol16284750
    on Jul 4, 2017

    Love this idea. Do you think I could make a mosaic table top using this techniqu? It would probably need a sealer to allow cleaning, would this remove or lessen the colours?
    • Earlene
      on Jul 4, 2017

      Epoxy resin over all to make tabletop....have seen this in restaurants.
    • Jewellmartin
      on Jul 5, 2017

      I love it, too. I need to confirm: are DVD-R the ones you buy blank to use for recording? Between satellite tv and Netflix, I haven't bought any for years. Best wishes 😇
  • Jmr15231038
    on Jul 5, 2017

    So adorable! You are very artistic. You could have stopped with the paper clay and had a saleable item! Btw, what in the world is paper clay? I've never heard of it. Thanks for sharing!
    • Rul10791984
      on Jul 5, 2017

      Paperclip is a great product that is a clay and paper combo and air drys. I use it on an armature for a sculpture or around styrofoam shapes. It air drys really hard and can be sanded and carved and then painted with acrylics.

  • Eileen B.
    on Jul 5, 2017

    Do you think this would work on glass. I have a couple of clear glass light covers and I thought I would try and make a mosaic gazing ball.
    • Kym
      on Jul 5, 2017

      It does work! The dark E6000 helps the film reflect the prismatic light back out. I've used them for large plates with designs in them I put into my garden for gazing pools. If you want the light to shine back through them you would need to use a clear adhesive on the balls.
    • Christy Roppel
      on Dec 21, 2017

      I would be concerned that if used as light shade that it may get too hot and the glue would melt. Any thoughts?
    • LBuser
      on Dec 21, 2017

      The new LED bulbs don’t get hot so you can use them instead of the old ones.
  • Lyd27102436
    on Jul 17, 2017

    Can you do the mosaic print on plexiglass for an entry window?
  • Birdz of a Feather
    on Dec 21, 2017

    Does it matter which side of the DVD you glue down?
    on Dec 21, 2017

    I love it, but have one question: What do you mean by CD-R AND DVD-R> i KNOW, A DUMB QUESTION, BUT i AM 76 AND NOT MUCH INTO ALL THIS STUFF.
    • Judy
      on Dec 21, 2017

      Dorlis: I do not know much about this either. They all look the same to me but I guess they do different things. They are labeled as to which they are so just read carefully. Good luck.

    • Lisa
      on Dec 21, 2017

      It certainly is NOT a dumb question... the "R" after these items, I believe, means you have the ability to record music on the CD's and movies on the DVD's.
    • JustJane
      on Dec 27, 2017

      The "R" means rewrite-able (can reformat and reuse). They are a little thicker, so that may be the reason they work better.
    • Kellie
      on Mar 15, 2019

      The people asking have to be alot younger then me

  • Sharon
    on May 15, 2018


Join the conversation

3 of 163 comments
  • Pencil Protractor
    on Feb 8, 2019

    Hi I wanna try it but I can't because i dont have money soooo, yeah but I wanna try it.

  • Charlotte Koch
    on Jan 24, 2020

    Totally great. I still have CD's from my days as a computer tech (we never throw away anything) so a wonderful way to use them. You are talented!

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