baby rhino pattern

Let’s Make a Baby Rhino with Paper Mache

Since the weather won’t cooperate very well, and I don’t like gardening in the rain, I decided to make a baby rhino. I haven’t made a four-legged critter for a long time.

The pattern I’ll be using, (possibly with some changes as we go along), is shown above. If you want to make a baby rhino with me, I’ll be using the same techniques to transfer the pattern onto cardboard that I used when I made the snowy owl.

So far, I’ve drawn the pattern, above, and I’ve drawn a grid with 3″ squares on a large piece of cardboard. I estimate that the finished baby rhino will be about 2 feet tall. It will be a challenge getting the crazy rhino feet to look realistic, and it will take some work to get all the nice skin folds in the right places.

Baby rhinos don’t have horns, which is a bit disappointing. Maybe I’ll make a momma rhino someday to go with the baby, but I have to wait for good weather for something that big. I don’t think I could get a full-sized adult rhinoceros through my door, and she would take up half my living room.

Baby Rhino Pattern for Paper Mache Sculpture

Baby Rhino Pattern for Paper Mache Sculpture
There will be two major differences between this project and the baby elephant. First, I’ll use a cardboard pattern instead of the particle board that I used for Elsie to reduce the weight. To strengthen the armature, I’ll use some heavy wire on the legs. A full-sized adult rhino would probably need rebar to make it strong enough, but this little guy should be fine with the wire I have on hand.

The other big difference is that I’ll use paper mache clay instead of the many layers of paper and paste that I used on the elephant. I may still use one final layer of paper towels for the skin because it gives such realistic bumps. Or maybe not — we’ll figure that out when we get to it.

And one final difference (that makes three, doesn’t it?) I think I’ll order some of that Powertex textile hardener so the baby rhino can go outside. It’s been recommended by a number of people and I want to see how it works. Since the clear formula isn’t weatherproof, I’ll need to choose between bronze, ivory, terra cotta or lead. Lead would probably match the real critter the best, but I haven’t really decided yet – another thing to worry about later.

OK – now I need to go transfer that pattern onto my cardboard. As soon as the armature is standing up and ready for some crumpled paper, I’ll let you see how he’s coming along. If you start a rhino, be sure to let us see your progress photos, too. And remember to keep those Practical Paper Mache ideas coming.


19 Responses

  1. Kimber Chessmore
    Kimber Chessmore at |

    On the baby rhino page, it refers to a pattern that I’m not seeing. Am a lost? has it been moved?

    Help Jonni, please.

    P.S. I love your books I have bought “How to Make Tiny Paper Mache Dogs….” and “Making Animal Sculptures ….”. I love them both. I love the care and understanding you put into each word.

  2. Larry Bacon
    Larry Bacon at |

    Great website. I love all of the wonderful ideas and tips.. peace

  3. Maddy
    Maddy at |

    I’ve got a several projects to finish up before I can start something new so it will be a week at least until I can start my little rhino.

  4. Maddy
    Maddy at |

    Yippee! It worked. I now have a copy of the pattern and can’t wait to get started. Thanks again for being the problem solver.

  5. Lisa
    Lisa at |

    Great website. I look forward to every new post!

    How do you plan on using the Powertex? As a overall sealer once all the papermache has been done, or dipping strips like they suggest? I emailed their competitor, Paverpol, a while back (have not rec’d a response) asking if their product could be used as a sealant coat instead of with fabric strips. And if so, would it still be weatherproof. I am curious as to what you know about these products — anyone, please chime in!! I would really want to use it as more of a sealer than using it with fabric strips.

    Thank you,


  6. Maddy
    Maddy at |

    Thanks for visiting Santa and the Mrs. and for the compliment on Bunny.
    No, I haven’t thought of selling them. I am however thinking about trying to make the baby rhino now that you’ve pointed out the obvious size solution. Now I’ve got a question for you. How do I get a copy of the pattern grid from above? I tried the copy/paste method but nada.

  7. Maddy
    Maddy at |

    Jonni, the rhino baby looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun and work. It will be interesting to see how many of your readers will follow you in the process of making one. I’d love to give it a try but don’t know if I would have room for a project that size. So far my largest peice has been only 15″ tall and about 6″ at it’s widest point. Since I started working with Jonniclay 3 1/2 months ago I’ve made 29 pieces. I wanted to thank you for providing me the means to express myself artistically. If you’d like to see some of what I’ve done, I’ve started a blog to share my creations with others. Come for a visit and see what you’ve started. I’d like to see what you think. Here’s where my work can be found:

  8. Julie
    Julie at |

    The concrete molds are very nice but expensive. You might want to look up plaster molds.

  9. laurie engstrom
    laurie engstrom at |

    Hi Jonni,
    Do you know of a good on-line source for 3-d molds, like candy molds? I want to make the old fashioned statues–like chicks, birds, christmas, etc. I have been looking, but they are scarce.
    I would appreciate any help you could give me!


Leave a Reply

Heads up! You are attempting to upload an invalid image. If saved, this image will not display with your comment.

Heads up! You are attempting to upload a file that's too large. Please try a smaller file smaller than 250KB.

Note that images greater than 250KB will not be uploaded.