How to Make Unicorn Bust With CD Mosaic!

by Rachel
6 Materials
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!

Resources for this project:
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3 of 23 questions
  • DORLIS DORLIS 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.

  • Sharon Sharon on May 15, 2018


  • Linda Linda on Dec 07, 2020

    The holographic layer 'splits' between the 2 halves when I pull them apart...any way to avoid this? Using DVD-R disks by Verbatim. Thanks in advance for your input!

    Sincerely, Linda Melton

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  • Patty Patty on May 29, 2021

    This is gorgeous!

  • Dur50325941 Dur50325941 on May 20, 2022

    I think this is a great beautiful project. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed looking at it and to know that a person used their talent to hand make the unicorn.