76 Responses

  1. Lori
    Lori at |

    Could you please explain how to rig up a mask so it could be hung on a wall ? Or, would you recommend a site or book that would tell how, hopefully with photos ?
    I don’t know anything about the best way to hang a mask — and if you make holes in it to string something thru, do you need a drill ?

    Thanks very much.

  2. alan shu
    alan shu at |

    What kind of white paint should I use? Wall paint or another type of paint?

  3. Jennifer (Allen Tx.)
    Jennifer (Allen Tx.) at |


    Hi I have bought your book How to Make Masks. Your gesso recipe works great for texture of my mask. I am having a problem with the back of my 1st mask. I painted it forest green the put some soft linen backing. I am wondering if should mold silicone or something rubbery to get the full effect. don’t want someone to feel uncomfortable. should I put some more layers of paper mache’ for the backing?

    also can you recommend some repair for the front of my mask. As I tried to shape after I finished the formation and design. This is my first mask so please if you can give me some constructive thought. Thank you for taking time to answer my question. I love your technique and hope to sell my masks for people to enjoy. I used gold leafing for the effect of midsummers night dream…

    thank you,

    Jennifer Davis
    Allen, TX.

  4. Mary
    Mary at |

    Hi Jonni,

    Have you, or would you recommend using the paper mache’ clay for masks? I’ve retrofitted some cheap cat masks for Halloween, and I want to use the clay rather than paper.



  5. cathy
    cathy at |

    great, actually the aluminium foil and duct tape sound like a good standby when i run out of gumstrip- nearest seller an hours drive away in Sligo. Think I cracked the Orangutan head, thanks for the inspiration! now all i need to do is get the body in low relief and I’ll have it finished. Orang feet are ‘Interesting’ too! hope you don’t mind that i put an image of yours on pinterest.com let me know if that doesn’t suit you. good luck. Cathy

  6. cathy
    cathy at |

    hi, I have been making papier mache animal mirrors for some time and was recently asked to make an orang u tan mirror which I have started and ripped apart several times because she keeps looking like a neadathal – and scary with it! Your mask has re-inspired me!
    As to making a mask sit well on the head, I was taught to make a skull cap in 4 layers of gum-strip over paper towel taped around the head and attach the mask to that. Gum- strip is the brown paper tape that is used to seal the back of picture frames. Art shops usually have it in Ireland/U.K

  7. Jennifer Hickey
    Jennifer Hickey at |

    Well, here she is…. Ophelia :)
    Paper mache orangutan mask

  8. Jennifer Hickey
    Jennifer Hickey at |

    You really inspired me to try paper mache and I must say….. it is working out beautifully!!! Thank you so much! I have my orangutan face completed, just have to add the hair. I was going to post a pic of what I have done so far but unfortunately cannot figure out how to post a pic in here :(

    1. Jennifer Hickey
      Jennifer Hickey at |

      Ahhh read up on it and found out how… Here is a pic of my orangutan without her hair! I will post a picture of the finished product later :)

      Paper Mache orangutan

  9. Alyssa
    Alyssa at |

    Wow, this is amazing looking! I almost can’t believe it’s paper mache. I’ve never worked in paper mache before, but I will be working on several masks from Bioshock here soon using this method.

    Thanks for posting this lovely site!

    1. julie vangee
      julie vangee at |

      Love your work. Thanks for posting and explaining in details. I wanted to suggest using a few drops of essential oils to the paste to help with mold issues (the oils are antibacterial). It makes the working even more sensual. I have tried using clove oil and Lavender in the past. I think lemon and or orange would be nice also.

  10. Isaac
    Isaac at |

    Hey Jonni, im new to the paper mache world and I just want to say thank you so much for all the help you have given me through your website. I recently moved to New Mexico so we some new decorations for around the house. Your site has helped me create some of my own paper mache pieces. Im currently working on a smiling Mexican sun and moon, bowls, vases, Mexican masks, and an English Bulldog all with paper mache. I am also an acrylic abstract painter so i have a little experience with it.

  11. Joanne Gennarella
    Joanne Gennarella at |

    Hi Jonni – love the way you mold that newspaper for your masks!

    Anyway, if anyone is interested – the way I make my masks is to form them over a face form made from my own face – plaster strips applied to my face, omitting my eyes, over lots of vaseline. Once this sets take it off your face. It’s a little risky but some of me goes into every one of my masks this way! When this is dry you close the eye holes and build it up with lots more plaster strips for rigidity, paint it with acrylic of your choice to waterproof, then secure it to a painted board with some plastalina clay. Can’t say this is my secret I learned it from master maskermaker – Jackie Miller from her video. Works for me.

  12. Shelly Waters
    Shelly Waters at |

    I am in charge of costumes for a jr. high homeschool production of Junglebook. I love the mask and want to adapt it to a half mask. Something that could be worn more as a hat, leaving the face open for singing. Any ideas??

  13. M.Rohan
    M.Rohan at |

    Hi Jonni,
    I was just wondering whether you use the masking tape which has a paper-type surface or the one which has a plastic-type surface?
    Anyhow, your tutorials are amazing, and you explain each step very well. I would surely try some of your paper-mache sculptures.

  14. Meetta Martin
    Meetta Martin at |

    Help! I need to know how to make a giraffe head and a zebra head to wear for storytelling time.

  15. Shirley
    Shirley at |

    I am trying to help my son make a paper mache gollum. Any suggestions.


  16. Ricky
    Ricky at |

    Hi, Jonni
    I hope I gave justice to this project. It didn’t quite turned out as I imagined it would, but I guess this one is of different species. Thanks for the instructions.

    paper mache orangutan mask

    Best regards.

  17. Unkown
    Unkown at |

    I really love that mask! Im going to make an egyption one now. You have inspired me!

  18. Veronica Mosser
    Veronica Mosser at |

    I am working on a dragon mask for my daughter for Halloween. Does anyone have any ideas on what would be the best material for a lining?

  19. Michelle
    Michelle at |

    Hi Jonni
    I’m a little confused. For this mask you say that the paper mache will not stick to the masking tape which is good for removing the initial form, yet you use a lot of masking tape for your other projects which don’t have a form to be removed. How come it sticks to your other armatures? Sorry, maybe a silly question, but has me puzzled.
    Stay inspired!

  20. Leonard Llewellyn Godwin
    Leonard Llewellyn Godwin at |

    Another pic of Coyote.

    Paper Mache Coyote Mask

    1. Isabel D.
      Isabel D. at |

      I saw this before I even found the site, I was browsing paper mache masks and POOF! I saw you “Coyote”, You’ve really inspired me to make one for myself, not neccesarily a coyote, but something canine for sure. I think you did an awesome job! Hopefully mine will come out pretty decently!

  21. Leonard Llewellyn Godwin
    Leonard Llewellyn Godwin at |

    Finally got ‘Coyote’ all finished up. Thanks so much for your expertise on the craft, I had a blast making this mask and have another in the works.

    To make it wearable, I made the original paper shape the same size as my head and kept checking the size to make sure it was about right. Because of the shape, I had to leave some of the tape/newspaper/cardboard base sculpture in the finished mask. I made two small holes in the sides and used fabric grommet eyelets and the cooresponding punching tool to secure them in the mask, then looped some thick elastic thru them to make a headband. Added some foam inside the face area to make it more comfortable against the skin, but it’s still pretty uncomfortable over time, and hard to see out of. But all in all, it will work great for my photo project.

    Paper Mache Coyote Mask

  22. David
    David at |

    I enjoy your web site a great deal and can’r wait to try the paper clay.
    In reading about the mask wall sculpture…I remember seeing foam heads that I believe were used to store wigs on. Cheap in cost, might make a full head attempt possibile. Also by cutting through the clay/foam you would end up with a 3-D mask. Possibile? Also pre-soaking the cardboard cut out and pressing it over your face somewhat, then removing it and letting it dry before building the mask would give it a rounded closer fit if you wanted to wear it. Just some thoughts.

  23. Leonard Llewellyn Godwin
    Leonard Llewellyn Godwin at |

    I really love your tutorials! I haven’t made paper mache since middle school, but I wanted to create a couple of animal masks for an upcoming photo project, so I browsed the internet and found this site. Just looking at the quality of your work kicked my butt into gear, and I started my Coyote mask that night (2 days ago). I’m now letting the second newsprint coat dry, and had planned on one more layer of brown paper bag, then possibly the ‘skin’ layer you mentioned. Is that enough layers for a mask that will be worn? A lot of the original cardboard in the form will have to stay there once it’s done, so that will help with the strength, but how many layers of paper would you recommend?

  24. Emily
    Emily at |

    This is amazing, I wish I could be as artistic as that. AT my school we are doing a topic called animal magic, we have to construct a face mask for a chosen animal. Any ideas?

  25. Kenny
    Kenny at |

    Could you give an approximate estimate of how long this lesson would take with 9 and 10 year olds?

  26. Colin Rowe
    Colin Rowe at |

    that is awsome!!!

  27. paula
    paula at |

    Why did you stop at step 2? I’d love to see all the steps!

  28. Tahna
    Tahna at |

    I’d like to make the entire body… any ideas?


  29. Dan Reeder
    Dan Reeder at |

    Magnificent mask! Simply stunning.

    1. G
      G at |

      I have a quick question. The shiny finish on the mask do you do that or does it turn out like that. I would like to know this because Im making a life size spartan shield and it has a shiny surface. Just wondering how to do that with paper mache

  30. Nora Epinephron
    Nora Epinephron at |

    Do you ever use clay molds for your papier mache instead of building up?

  31. Nancy Bonkowski
    Nancy Bonkowski at |

    I think it is facinating. I would love to study with you. Your talent is unique. I am attempting to make a deer mask for a ballet and love this organic, batina that you acheived. Bravo!

  32. christopher
    christopher at |

    I likey monkey! I make paper mache sculpture too. I usually finish the paper mache with gesso before I paint. Do you know of any other primers that I could finish with… preferably environmentally friendly? I tried making my own milk paint once, but the lime in that totally destroyed the piece. More Masks Please! Here is an example of one of my masks.

    1. Jim
      Jim at |

      Christopher, I usually finish the pasting with a final layer of white xerox paper, torn into smaller pieces to wrap around better. This will give the mask a smoother look AND take care of the white primer coat!

      Hope this is helpful, if late.

      Jim W.

  33. Robin Mark Coyner
    Robin Mark Coyner at |

    This mask is well done. The processes you used and a little creativity exhibit how a few low cost materials can turn newspaper into a great class project. I certainly will adopt this lesson into my class curriculum because it obviously forces the students to think outside the box and have a good plan to achieve this level of success.

  34. connie vanmatre
    connie vanmatre at |

    what i always love to do, is teach the kids, then grandkids, nieces and nephews…all how to make a mask. kids love making them. and all of these children have grown into artistic people..my family credits me because i always think of making a mask or a different Valentinesday box..
    but this story made me remeber the good times with all the kids.
    this mask i must say…is by no beginner…it looks real.


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