The Orange Dog

I feel like the title of this post sounds like a NY Times bestselling novel… or the name of a new social media outlet… or a fad children’s toy… or the name of a combo at Moe’s. Well, it’s none of those things (sorry), however it is a crafty thrift-tastic tutorial, so that’s exciting, yeah?! (Though not nearly as exciting as a combo at Moe’s.)

For my dad’s birthday, I wanted to give him an orange dog for his desk at work. I know… this sounds both terribly unexciting and random, but let me explain. My father is an avid University of Tennessee football fan, and this past season, their new coach created a visual reminder of positive thinking for the players (Tennessee didn’t exactly have the best season).

Taking an orange ceramic dog that he bought on a previous trip in Sweden and having it carted onto the field during practice, he encouraged them to “feed the orange dog” and not “the red dog,” i.e., negative thinking and pessimism. This quickly became a news story (well, in college-football-fan-land), and the orange dog quickly became a symbol admired by players and fans alike. So… I decided that Harold Foster, whose blood flows orange, should have one of his own. There’s a long and uninteresting story about me finding a life size dog statue on Craigslist in hopes of spray painting it orange, but it was all the way up in White Plains, NY and I couldn’t ever get the seller to respond to my e-mails (I said long and uninteresting, but then I told you the whole story anyway). That fell through (this was my Christmas gift idea for him), but I decided to go ahead and do it for his birthday anyway, just on a smaller, less ambitious scale. (What was he going to do with a life-size orange dog statue, anyway? I can’t imagine my mother welcoming that into her neutral colored, perfectly decorated home.)

Aside from the orange dog being a Tennessee football symbol, I’m a big fan of the whole solid colored, ceramic animal thing anyway, so I thought it would be fun to see if I could do a faux version.

Here’s the finished product:

Ta da! I like to think it’s fairly reminiscent of these ceramic animals that seem to be popping up everywhere as of late. Here’s a West Elm take on this trend:

West Elm ceramic owls

and here’s a Pier 1 version…

White Bird Salt & Pepper Set

The only difference being that these versions cost upwards of $20 and mine cost…


Fortunately, I live in an area of Brooklyn that is overrun with dollar stores, and these dollar stores are overrun with animal figurines. How convenient!

Yes!!! So gloriously tacky!

I thought the hound/mutt thing might be improved with a few layers of paint.

Here’s the dog figurine before:

I didn’t have any orange paint (which is sad, because I go out of my way to find reasons to use spray paint), so I used some acrylic paint that I already had. First I primed the dog:

Then I did two layers of orange (originally used in this Tennesse related project).

Once it fully dried, it was reading more matte than I cared for (and I really wanted that ceramic look). I didn’t have any clear gloss spray paint lying around, but I did have some clear topcoat (like the nail polish stuff), so I just applied a layer of that — it was such a small figurine and it only took a couple of minutes, even thought the brush was super tiny.

And voila!

I kinda want to keep it. I mean, doesn’t it look tres chic sitting on my dresser?

Yeah… I think I’ll be going back to that dollar store.

Happy Monday!


5 thoughts on “The Orange Dog

  1. You certainly improved on him ;-)! I have been playing with the thought of taking plastic animal toys, and painting time all red. (Not sure why, or which animal, maybe dinosaurs, since we have so many laying around).

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