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How to Make a Life-Sized Baby Elephant with Paper Mache


painting paper mache elephantThis life-sized baby elephant pattern continues to be the most popular project on this site, and it’s been seen by over a million people on YouTube!.

Even though this sculpture is big and I used a power saw to make the armature, Elsie was not difficult to make. It isn’t a complicated sculpture, just a big one. She was one of the first sculptures I ever made with an internal pattern, and now I almost never make a sculpture without one.

In fact, she was part of the inspiration that eventually led to the creation of my book – How to Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay.


Download the pattern now for just $7.00:

Check out safely with PayPal. Use the pattern along with the video on this site to make your own baby elephant. The pattern also includes notes about the changes I might make if I made this sculpture again.


If you make a paper mache elephant of your own, I hope you’ll come back to the blog and show it off in the comments below. I would love to see how it turns out. To see just a few of the baby elephants that have been made by people with my pattern, click here. There are now baby elephants (and a few life-sized adult elephants, too!) keeping people company all over the world. I hope you’ll let me post your new baby elephant on that page, too. And to see how much fun a mother and son had when making their own baby elephant, click here.

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233 Comments

  • I’m working on Valentine’s Day boxes for my kids, would Elmers glue paste stick to plastic and masking tape?

    • I’ve never tried any kind of paste on plastic, but if you add the masking tape first, you should be able to use the paste to cover the boxes with paper mache. Try it, though – I’ve never done it myself.

    • Hi Steven. Did you try to upload a photo of the item you made out of card board? If so, the image was too large, and it wasn’t uploaded. Please edit the image to make it smaller and try again. We would like to see it.

  • Here is Jazmyn the baby elephant. Thanks for making this video and sharing this project online. It took me a year and a month but it was worth it. Happy that John cheered me on. It gives us a laugh and it’s nice to have around the house. I had to go back to the drawing board and try steps over to get a good shape and we modified the ears. Look forward to more paper mache experiences. Keep up the good work. Glad I can finally share this with you.

    • Hi Sparkle. Did you just now try to upload a photo? If you did, it didn’t come through, and I’d really like to see that elephant! Your photo was probably too large for the system, so I hope you’ll edit the photo to make it smaller, and try again.

  • Hi Jonni,
    I truly admire your work and I am amazed by your talent (art)!!! I was just wondering if there was a way with this pattern to only make its head not its body???
    Thank You

    • Sure – just transfer the head portion to cardboard instead of plywood. You would fill out the shapes of the head with crumpled paper, and build the trunk like I did, or use wire padded with more crumpled paper to make the trunk curve the way you want it to.

      The other option is to use my 3-D pattern for a baby African elephant wall sculpture, which fills out all the shapes for you. You can find it here. There is a charge for that pattern, because it took me so long to design.

      Have fun! And come back to show off your elephant when it’s done.

  • Is it possible to use cardboard or even card stock paper instead of wood? Also have you ever made a lion head video?

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