Sculpting Patterns for Paper Mache and Apoxie Sculpt

Most of the projects and tutorials on UltimatePaperMache.com are free, but we added these special patterns because many of our readers asked for a way to help support the resources on this site.

The patterns are printable PDFs that can be downloaded instantly to your computer. You can get started right away using inexpensive materials. Instructions are included with the patterns, and many patterns also have videos available that you can watch online.

Life-sized baby Indian elephant pattern for paper mache

This life-sized Baby Indian Elephant has always been the most popular pattern on this site. Hundreds of people from all over the world have made baby elephants of their own, using the video and pattern. Click Here to Learn More.

Sculpting pattern for a paper mache chihuahua.

This tiny paper mache Chihuahua is easy to make with the pattern, a wire armature, paper mache, and the videos on this site. Click Here to Learn More.

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baby-african-elephant

Use this 3-D papercraft pattern to make your very own Baby African Elephant wall sculpture. It isn’t hard to make, but it will take time and patience to put the pieces together. Click Here to Learn More.

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Pattern for Jackrabbit wall sculpture

The pieces that come with this 3-D papercraft pattern are fairly small, which means that you’ll need some time and patience to tape them together, but the effort is worth it.  Click Here to Learn More

bullfrog

Yes, a Giant African Bullfrog “faux trophy mount” is a silly idea, but what child wouldn’t love this wall sculpture? It’s fun and fast to make with the 3-D papercraft pattern. You can finish it with colored tissue paper, like Jonni did, or use your acrylic paints. Click Here to Learn More.

3-D pattern for a hyena mask.

Use this pattern and cardboard to make a hyena mask for your next school production of The Lion King. The two videos on this site show you how. Click Here to Learn More.

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Baby Unicorn Made with Apoxie Sculpt

You can make this Baby Unicorn sculpture with cardboard, foil and Apoxie Sculpt. Or use the home-made Smooth Air Dry Clay recipe that you’ll find in the Art Library. This pattern comes as a 33-page downloadable PDF. Click Here to Learn More.

Patterns for the baby unicorn and European rabbit sculptures.

Buy the patterns for both the Baby Unicorn and his little Rabbit friend together and save $2.99. The downloadable Zip file comes with both printable PDF patterns and all instructions. Click Here to Learn More.

Sculpting pattern for a paper mache pandaYou can make your baby panda playing with a ball, like I did, or move his legs and arms so he’s sitting in a different position. This is a fun project, and the finished sculpture is adorable! Click Here to Learn More.

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black-bear

This Black Bear Faux Trophy Mount is an easy project, because the 3-D papercraft pattern creates all the shapes for you. Just download the pattern, print it on card stock, tape it together, and cover it with paper mache. Click Here to Learn More.

Pattern for a small rabbit sculpture made with Apoxie Sculpt

You can make this small European Rabbit sculpture with cardboard, foil and Apoxie Sculpt. 22-page printable PDF.  Click Here to Learn More.

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raccoon

You can use this pattern along with the videos on this site to create a paper mache raccoon of your own. Jonni “painted” her raccoon with colored tissue paper, but you can use acrylic paint if you prefer. Click Here to Learn More.

This is definitely not the paper mache you remember from grade school!

Jonni Good - bestselling author and founder of UltimatePaperMache.com

Jonni Good – bestselling author and founder of UltimatePaperMache.com

Jonni’s patterns make sculpting with paper mache easy. Even if this is your very first sculpture, these patterns will help you make a work of art that you can be proud of.

These patterns were designed by Jonni Good, a paper mache sculptor, the author of several popular books about paper mache, and the inventor of the now-famous paper mache clay recipe that can be used to replace messy paper strips and paste.

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About the Sculpting Patterns:

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Flat patterns:

Some of these patterns are used inside an armature. You print them out, add them to cardboard, and fill out the forms with crumpled paper or foil. Some of these patterns, like the Life Sized Baby Elephant, have been downloaded by thousands of people who have successfully created their own paper mache sculptures, even if they’ve never made a paper mache sculpture before.

Baby Indian Elephant Pattern

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3-D patterns:

The 3-D papercraft patterns create all the shapes for you. Just print them out, tape them together, and add paper mache or paper mache clay.

Paper mache sculpting patterns - cut out the pieces, tape them together, add paper mache, and paint.

Do you have to use paper mache to create sculptures with these patterns?

No. The patterns shown on this page can be made with traditional paper strips and paste, with Jonni’s paper mache clay recipe, or her silky-smooth air-dry clay recipe in place of the paper and paste. Or, you can use Apoxie Sculpt or any other brand of epoxy clay to make your sculpture, if you’d like it to be waterproof. Check out the Paper Mache Library for recipes.

Painting your finished paper mache sculpture:

You can use any type of paint that will work on paper. Most people use acrylic artists paint or craft paint.

You will want to wait until the paper mache is completely dry all the way through before painting, and be sure to give your sculpture plenty of time to dry – this is not an “instant” art form.

After painting, you might want to seal the sculpture with an acrylic varnish. If you live in a humid environment, this is very important, because you won’t want your sculpture to draw moisture from the air.

Share your new sculpture:

When your sculpture is finished, we would love to see it! Please post a photo in the comments below, or come visit our community on the Daily Sculptors page and post a photo there. You’ll find a link to it at the top of the page.

Would you like to know how to make your own original paper mache sculpture patterns or masks?

The best way to take your sculpting skills to the next level is to read one of Jonni’s paper mache books. The books are written with full instructions for the projects inside, but you’ll also learn all the skills you need to create completely original sculptures of your own, using her easy methods. Her books are almost always among the most popular paper mache books on Amazon.com, and many of our regular readers found this site after making the projects in the books.

You can find Jonni’s books here:

Do you have questions about these patterns?

Just ask! I respond to every comment as quickly as I can.

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98 Comments

  • Hi There, I’m from Rio de Janeiro and I was asked to make an ox head for the Carnival of my small community. Since the name of the carnival group is “slobbing ox”. Can you help me? Thanks

  • Dear Jonni, I bought your books “Make animal sculptures” and “How to make masks”, and I love them! And I love your work!
    I made my first piece of paper mache clay after your recipe, it worked well! It is an Orc head that I carry as a trophy, when I cosplay my Dwarf character in the world of Tolkien, I’ll try to upload a photo.
    I have a question: I want to make a mask, using the plaster mold that I already have. But then I should make a positive clay mold from it, that I can cover with paper mache. How can I avoid the clay stick to the plaster, and remove it without causing damage?

    • Hi Gerda. I’m so glad you liked the book. Thanks for letting me know!

      Did you try to upload a photo? They need to be under 250 kb, so if you tried and it didn’t work, please edit the image and try again,

      As for making a mask a sculpture when you have a plaster negative mold, you might want to check out the recent guest post by Sarah. The project is entirely different, but she was able to get a very nice casting in a plaster mold without first creating a new clay positive mold. She used paper pulp without any kind of thickener or paste. You could strengthen the mask with a thin layer of paper mache clay on the inside, or even with paper strips and paste. I don’t know how strong her paper pulp would be, but you could test it.

      I can’t remember ever making a clay casting using a plaster mold. A release agent, like petroleum jelly, might work, but you’d want to test it. The could be some damage when you pull the plaster off if there are any undercuts.

      • Dear Jonni, thank you very much for answering my question, and for your advice!
        I’ll try again to upload the photo .

      • Dear Jonni, congratulations on your amazing work, You have an amazing talent.
        I have a daughter that will be having a Quinceañera, with an “Under the Sea” theme, so I will need to create many props from starfish, seaweed, coral reef, sea horse, clam shell, a mermaid, etc.
        I would lime to ask if I could buy a mermaid pattern from you, to make the armature, and also what will be your book recomendation to learn to create the patterns for the other figures.
        I will attach a photo of a mermaid I would like as a reference. Side note, I am not a very good sketch artist. Please and thank you very much in advance on any assistance with this overwhelming project.
        Many blessings!

        • Hi Teresa,

          Your daughter must be very excited about the upcoming event! And what a great theme for it. I don’t have a pattern, though, for any human figures – and I don’t know anyone else who creates patterns for sculptures. I think the mermaid would need to be hand-sculpted the old fashioned way, but building up crumpled paper and masking tape until you achieve the shapes you need. The tail could be made with a piece of cardboard cut into the proper shapes, but the rest will need to be done by hand. It would be a fun project, but challenging. The Ballerina Bunny videos on this page might help you get started.

          My book about Making Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay does have a fish in it, and you could use the instructions in the book for making your own pattern for a seahorse. And I made a starfish a few years ago, which you can see here.

          How long do you have to complete the decorations?

  • Hello!!! I have so many questions your site is amazing, are this patterns reusable?

    Thanks a lot for your art!

    • Hi Leticia. Yes, the patterns can be used as many times as you want. If you sell your items, you would, of course, give me credit for the design. But if you need five pandas (or whatever) go for it!

  • Hi Jonni,

    I have been looking at Brendel botanical models for a while now. They are valuable antique teaching models. They look beautiful but are too expensive to buy. Also i want models of flowers they did not make. I found a shop for the wooden stands. My main worry is thinking of a way to make thin, yet stiff curved flower petals. Any tips?

  • I made the elephant head for a jungle theme birthday party…it was not only a fun project but it came out great! The template was like a 3D puzzle. Thanks Jonni!!

    • I’m so glad you had fun with it, Diane. Did you take a photo of your elephant head that you’d be willing to share with us? I’d love to see how it came out.

  • Hi Jonni: I’ve followed your site for quite awhile and want to add my thanks for your wonderful, researched info…you’ve helped so many of us venture into creativity…i love your work…it’s awesome!!!

  • Dear Jonni. I love your sculptures, and the generous way you share your knowledge and skills. I’m a kangaroo “mother’. My husband and I raise orphaned kangaroo joeys whose mothers have been killed on the roads, or sometimes by dogs or hunters, and our farm is a sanctuary where kangaroos and all other native wildlife is free to roam in safety
    I’m looking for ways to raise much needed income to help pay the large vet bills we receive when we have to take a joey or injured adult kangaroo to the vet for treatment, and am thinking of trying my hand at making small kangaroo ornaments for sale, and a large (possibly lifesize) kangaroo to place as a donation box . One thought was that donations could be ‘fed’ to the kangaroo so they drop through the body into a box the sculpture is standing on, and attached to as a means of stability for such a long-legged animal.
    Have you sculptured any kangaroos? And if so do you have a pattern and information I could use to guide me in making them? Creating anything like this would be a first for me, so I’m not sure how to go about it.
    Sending you greetings from “Down Under Down Under” on Kangaroo Island, Australia.

    • Hi Lorraine. What a wonderful place to live – right in the middle of a wildlife refuge with all those orphan kangaroos. Do they remember you as friends when they grow up?

      I have not made a kangaroo, although I would love to do it someday. However, you can make a pattern yourself using the instructions in my book How to Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay. I recommend doing one of the easier projects in the book first, then make the dachshund, because he’s sitting up on his hind legs. Very short legs, of course, but his stance is very similar to a kangaroo’s. Then use the instructions to make your kangaroo pattern. That part is easy, and you’ll already be an expert by then in sculpting an animal. I don’t know if you’ll have all the ingredients available for making the paper mache clay, but you can use traditional paper strips and paste, too.

      Once you have one pattern, and your first sculpture comes out nice, you can use the same pattern for an entire collection of kangaroos. They can all have a slightly different posture, and even different sizes, using the same pattern.

      Two-legged creatures are challenging when it comes to making them stand up, but the large feet on the kangaroo and his tail will create a triangle where the sculpture meets the table. I don’t think it will be at all difficult to make them stand up with three points. If you put them in a stance with the tail up and the head forward, a stand would be a great idea.

      If you do this, I really hope you’ll let us know how they turn out. Let me know if you have any more questions.

      • Hi Jonni. Thank you for your reply. Kangaroos are very social and family orientated animals, and stay together all their lives. To be a kangaroo mother means committing yourself to having a kangaroo family for the rest of your days (kangaroos can live 20 -25 years, and then there’s the children they have after growing up with us.) Yes, our kangaroos know us very well. As soon as they see us coming, or we call out to them, they come bounding to us.
        Life has been getting in the way of me making a start on practising, but I thank you for your suggestions and look forward to trying my hand at sculpting soon.

    • Hi Cindy. I didn’t make a pattern for the ballerina bunny. I just started with the wire armature and started adding padding until I was happy with it. That’s actually the traditional way to create an armature for paper mache, and for some sculptures (especially two-legged ones) it often works quite well. If you’d like to make your own pattern for the wire armature, draw out your sculpture to the size you’d like it to be, and then draw in the ‘bones’ for the body, legs, arms and skull. Then cut your wire to the right lengths and bend them so they fit the drawing. Put the wire armature together and start adding crumpled paper or foam. Because the wire would be made to fit your drawing, your proportions will already be set and your final sculpture should look just the way you want it to.

      Have fun!

  • Hi Angela. I have made a female paper mache torso. I made it with strips of newspaper and did about 16 layers. I now want to put a finishing coat over it to be able to smooth out the bumps and then sand it back to into a really even shape. Can I make up your recipe and apply it over the newspaper strips as a finishing coat. I then intend to paint it in flesh tonings and then dress it in draped material.
    Your comments would be greatly appreciated.
    Regards Gaye

    • Hi Gaye. You can use either my air dry clay recipe or the paper mache clay recipe over dried paper strips and paste. The paper mache clay will stick easily, but you will probably need to use a mixture of glue and water over the paper strips if you use my air dry clay recipe, which is smoother. Your project sounds like a lot of fun, and I hope you’ll let us see it when it’s done.

  • Jonni, I would like to attempt a life size horse for our community Christmas parade, any patterns, any help or suggestions how to accomplish such a task.

    • Hi Martha. I have a pattern for a horse in my book How to Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay. I used the pattern to make a small horse, but the size doesn’t really matter. You can just make the pattern larger by using larger squares on your grid (that makes sense after you read the first few chapters). I wouldn’t use a cardboard pattern for something that big, though. You would probably want to use 1/4″ plywood, or even thicker if you think it will be handled a lot.

      When I made my life-sized baby elephant I discovered that crumpled paper is really heavy. If I made another large animal, I’d fill out the rounded shapes with empty milk jugs or even bubble wrap, and then fill in the finer details with crumpled foil. It would make it a lot easier to move it around.

      And one last suggestion – horses have long legs, and it would be easy to tip a lightweight horse over if someone leaned on it. You might want to use some metal brackets to attach the plywood legs to another piece of plywood to act as a stand, then add your padding and paper mache. It would be a lot more stable that way.

      Have fun. And be sure to let us see your horse when it’s done!

  • Hi Jonni
    would this recipe be suitable for making a mascot head? I had planned on using traditional papier mache recipe with newspaper. I much prefer your recipe and the possibilities for more detail would be great, I just wondered if this would be too heavy.
    many thanks

    • Hi Mary. It will be heavier than just a few layers of paper strips and paste, but you can use a very thin layer of the paper mache clay if there’s something under it to give it support. Since the head will be hollow, you might want to experiment with using paper strips and paste first, with a thin layer of the paper mache clay over it to smooth everything out and make a nice surface to paint.

    • Hi Bela. It’s probably a good time to be thinking of the holidays – they always tend to sneak up on me when I’m not ready. 😉

      You might want to check out some of the holiday tutorials on the Paper Mache Library page. There may be something there that you would enjoy making.

  • Hi Jonni, I have made a baby Indian elephant using your plans in memory of my brother Andrew. Andrew was born with Downs syndrome and was recently diagnosed with liver cancer. The family made sure that Andrews final months were used to create as many memories as he could. One of the the activities that Andrew chose was a day out at the zoo, so from there I decided to make a baby Indian elephant and found your website. Thank you so much for sharing these plans…..I am very proud of my elephant named Andy. Sadly Andrew passed away on the 19th June, he did however get to see the elephant nearly finished and thought it was great!

    • What a wonderful idea – and I’m so glad Andrew got to see your elephant, even though it wasn’t quite done. It must have meant a lot to him. Did you try to upload an image with your comment? We would love to see Andy the elephant. If you tried and it didn’t work, you might need to edit the photo to make it smaller.

      Where will the elephant live now? Do you have a spot for it at home?

  • Where can I find the boer goat pattern? And maybe directions? This would be awesome for my daughter’s 4-h project…any tips for making a body

    • Hi Angela. I ended up sculpting this one free-hand, so there is no pattern. I did start with one, but there were so many changes along the way that I threw it out. That happens sometimes… 😉

      However, you can make a pattern for just the head of a goat if you can find a photo of a goat that’s taken directly from the side. Trace around the outside edge of the head, and you have your pattern. It would go on the inside of the sculpture, the way I made the Bongo faux trophy mount.

      If you want to make the whole goat, legs and all, there are a lot of tutorials for animal sculptures in the Paper Mache Library. And for a full course in how to make animal sculptures, I wrote a book called “Make Animal Sculptures With Paper Mache Clay.”

      And you can find some tips on posing your goat here.

      Have fun!

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