What is Toyidermy you ask? Good question. To get the answer I spent Sunday afternoon laughing and crafting with the creator of Toyidermy; the blogger and my friend, Kelly McAuley. In the simplest terms Toyidermy is like taxidermy, but with toy animals instead of dead ones. Kelly’s creative juices started flowing after she saw a set of golden animal place card holders for sale at Anthropology. Crafty since childhood, the set’s price tag made Kelly wonder if she could make her own. She purchased a jug of rubber animal toys and got to work. She dubbed the result Toyidermy, and her creations are sweeping, if not yet the actual world, at least the etsy world!

Great Wide Open place card holders

After creating her place card holders, Kelly branched out to wall mounted animal heads – and butts – business card holders, pins, coasters and even wine stoppers. She is customizing some species for football fans (think the Auburn tiger), and with the election and then holiday season right around the corner I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

During our afternoon together Kelly let me make my own business card holder. She asked me what my favorite animal is, and although she did not have a llama (which seems to be popular only with me and other Sesame Street kids from the 80’s), my giraffe was clearly an amazing second choice.

We started by doing a little surgery on my own personal Sophie (please note, no plastic animals were killed in the writing of this blog). This was more challenging than it sounds. I learned I am not the most graceful or efficient with an exacto knife. I got a little intense while sawing my giraffe, which made both Kelly and me laugh once she broke me out of my stress-trance. Leave it to me to get bent out of shape over a rubber animal. But I snapped out of it, and quickly got back to having fun.

My mostly-painted giraffe

We created a shelf-like back section to hold the business cards and then started to paint! First we slathered on a white base coat, let it dry while we sipped some bubbly, chatted and touched up some other member’s of Kelly’s menagerie. Then the tough part: choosing the perfect color for my toyidermy masterpiece.  I went with a metallic gold, which I am loving, but Kelly has every color of the rainbow and then some. While I managed to get paint all over myself, I was also able to coat my giraffe as well.

I am really concentrating on painting…

On Monday my new friend from the jungle was situated on my desk with my business cards gently nestled in it’s back. I work in a “creative environment,” one in which I’m sometimes not sure I exactly fit, but my toyidermy seems to be earning me some much-needed imaginative street cred.

Finished product on my desk

Another aspect of the afternoon that was great was hearing more about Kelly’s toyidermy odyssey. She started creating these little creatures on a whim, but despite the serendipitous nature of the beginning of the toyidermy tale, Kelly is making it work and toyidermy is selling like hot cakes on etsy. She carves up animals late at night and paints them before work, and enjoys every minute of it. That is something I can admire!

Kelly, the creator of toyidermy

Check out more of Kelly’s creations:

The toyidermy menagerie

Lions and tigers and bears…oh my indeed

Dinosaur pins

Kelly’s cat Louise, making friends

My giraffe

Lion wine stopper

Cat coaster

Many thanks to Kelly McAuley for letting me spend the day with her. You can check out more of Kelly’s toyidermy on her website. They make great gifts and she takes custom orders. You can also check out her blog, Gets Me Every Time for more of her DIY projects as well as killer taco recipes.

5 thoughts on “Toyidermy

  1. Emily, I’m so glad we got explore Toyidermy together! Let me know if it really is your next passion and maybe we can set up a franchisee something or other.

  2. Pingback: On Writing | The Great Wide Open

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