Sculpting Patterns for Paper Mache

Baby Indian Elephant PatternJonni’s patterns make sculpting easy!

All of these patterns were designed by Jonni Good, a paper mache sculptor and inventor of the now-famous Paper Mache Clay recipe. The patterns come as a printable PDF that can be downloaded instantly. Some are flat patterns that are used inside an armature made with cardboard and crumpled paper or foil, while others are 3-D paper craft patterns that create the shapes for you.

How do I finish my sculpture?

You can use one of Jonni’s recipes, (look for them in the Art Library), or you can use paper strips and paste, or you can use Apoxie Sculpt or Magic Sculpt. They all work very nicely with these patterns.

Questions?

If you have any questions at all about how the patterns work, or how to build your sculpture, I’m always happy to help in any way I can, so feel free to ask. I like questions. 🙂

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.

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.

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.

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.

Pattern for 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.

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.

Pattern for a paper mache baby panda.

You 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

49 Comments

  • Jonni,

    I am very new to sculpting. I have been playing with polymer clay for awhile now, but want to make bigger items. I came across you on you tube and can’t believe how easy you make it look. I will be trying to make some items in the very near future. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to put up all your videos and supplying us with so much valuable information.

    thanks from a new fan,

    Shauna

      • Jonni,

        I just got your book in the mail and am so excited to give this a try. I will post as soon as I do something. I ordered the make animal sculptures book from amazon and oh what a fantastic book. I definitely have the bug thanks to you. You are truly an inspiration.

        Shauna

          • I attempted to do the dachshund which is more complicated than I had anticipated. I had to set him aside for a bit. I think I will go onto something a little easier for now.
            Shauna

            • You did pick one of the more difficult projects – but if you go back to the beginning and do some of the earlier projects in the book, and then try the dachshund again, I think you’ll enjoy it a lot more. And you’ll have all the skills you need for it to turn out really nice. Just keep having fun!

  • You’re incredibly talented!!! I’m wondering if you have any patterns/instructions for mermaids, under water coral reef scenes, pirates or a pirate ship. If you have nothing like I’m looking for, could you graciously guide me to products to use and suggestions for sculpting items which would not blow away in the backyard? If you think this is too much for this old bird, please, your honesty is greatly welcomed. Thank you!

  • You’re incredibly talented!!! I’m wondering if you have any patterns/instructions for mermairmaids, under water coral reef scenes, pirates or a pirate ship. I’m a grandma who wanting to put on some incredible summer get together for her grandchildren while they’re with me this summer. I have one idea of a mermaid/pirate party, which I’m gathering lots of homemade ideas on Pinterest. Yet, most look homemade. These look so real, I don’t know if I could pull them off. I am an artist, but with drawing only. I seem to have failed at painting, which might mean I would fail at attempting anything in your amazing collections. Since I’ve not played with paper mache since grade school, over 45+ years ago, it may be something I wish I’d not started. Lol! If you have nothing like I’m looking for, could you graciously guide me to products to use and suggestions for sculpting items which would not blow away in the backyard? If you think this is too much for this old bird, please, your honesty is greatly welcomed. Thank you!

    • Hi Melanie. I have never made a mermaid, or a pirate, but I think your project will be a lot of fun, and I’m sure it will turn out really nice. If you can draw, you already have all the skills you need to create beautiful patterns for your mermaid (and pirates, and the rest…). As for painting, I think it’s way easier to paint a sculpture than paint on canvas. You just have to add color in the right places. You don’t have to worry about shadows or shapes. The sculp takes care of the shapes, while the sun takes care of the shadows. 😛

      There’s no such thing as “too much” when it comes to an art project. Just be sure to start on the piece that you’re most excited about. Once that’s done, you’ll have the bug and there’ll be no stopping you! And be sure to show off your projects on the Daily Sculptors page. You don’t need to wait until they’re finished. We love progress photos, and if you have specific questions about how to do a particular thing, I’ll be happy to help out – and you’ll get suggestions from other readers, too. Some of them probably have some experience making mermaids, too.

  • Hi Jonni,
    I am working on the baby elephant head right now. I have mounted it into a head piece as it will be used for a school theater costume. Is it possible to drill through the paper mache clay? I want to run ribbon on the head section so my actors can tie it under their chin. I’m worried this will crack the paper mache clay. I will definitely wear a mask when drilling this if you give the go ahead. Also, did you spray the gray paint right over the eyes or did you protect them prior?
    Thank you so much. Your pattern has been a life saver. My husband had serious doubts as he said both the pattern and the assembly were incredible works of engineering. Kudos on all the time and effort you took on the design of this pattern. I greatly appreciate your willingness to share such knowledge.
    Lisa

    • Hi Lisa. I can’t remember if I’ve ever tried to drill into the paper mache clay. It should work, but I think it would be a good idea to test it first. If you have time, you could smear some paper mache clay on a scrap of cardstock, allow it to dry, and then drill a hole. As you mentioned, there is a concern that it may crack or shatter. I doubt that it will, but with all the time and effort you’ve already put into making the elephant head, it seems that the extra day it would take would be a worthwhile investment.

      After you have the holes drilled, you may want to reinforce the holes from the back. Perhaps metal washers glued on with super glue, or even a piece of felt, would help prevent the ribbons from cutting through the mask. It probably isn’t needed, but it might not hurt to give that area a little extra support. You can also add additional paper mache clay on any area that might be stressed during the performance, to reinforce it.

      I’d love to see how the elephant head turned out. People have asked me if it could be used this way, so a photo or two would be really helpful to others who might want to do it, too. Besides, it would just be really fun to see how it looks. 🙂

      I hope your play is a huge success!

  • Jonni,

    I’m looking for a zebra head, giraffe, & rhino heads to mount. By chance would you have patterns for sale?

    • No, sorry. I don’t have patterns for those animals. And I don’t know of anyone else who sells patterns for paper mache. You might want to watch some of the how-to videos on this site, for some tips on making the sculptures from scratch.

  • Hi Jonni
    I was wondering what type of sandpaper you would use on Apoxie Sculpt, Does it have to be fine, medium or coarse.
    Thanks
    Carol

  • Hi Jonni, I want to make a life size chicken or Rooster and I can not find any instructions to get started. I have searched the web and can’t find anything. There are pictures on Pinterest but no one shares how they did it. Any ideas?

    • Hi Frances. I did one chicken, a long time ago. But that was before I was taking pictures, so I don’t have a pattern for you. If I made one now, I’d find some good photos of real chickens, where the photo was taken from the side. I’d use that to draw or trace a pattern onto cardboard, and cut it out. Then I’d fill in the rounded forms of the body with crumpled paper and masking tape, and cover it with paper mache.

      I did take photos when I built my chick, and there’s a stylized ‘vintage’ chicken in my book How to Make Animal Sculptures. If you’d like to use the paper mache clay, you can get some ideas about how to make your pattern and how to make the feather detailing if you watch my videos about making an owl. There are several different posts, beginning here.

    • I haven’t made a reindeer, but you should see Mona’s reindeer in this guest post. I did make a Bongo Antelope, (a very different animal, of course, but it does have horns). You can find all the faux trophy mounts on the site in the Art Library. The horns will be the biggest challenge, just because they’ll be so heavy. I wonder if you could make them by running a heavy wire on the inside of the head with a large attachment area, add more wires for all the branches, and then hit the wire with expanding foam. After the foam hardens, you could carve it with a serrated knife to get it smooth, and then cover with paper mache. Does that sound like it would work? I think I may actually have to try that – it might be a fun experiment.

    • I haven’t done a pattern for a human, but I’d probably stick with the side view. Just because it would be easier to get the arms and legs attached, since they go on the sides. I’d also do the face from the side view, because you’d have the main profile already built in, and that’s the best way to make a face look like a real person. But I haven’t done it, so I’m just guessing. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out.

      • I will, for sure. I love your technique, especially the way you use foil for sculpting and detail. Picked up joint compound today, so I am committed.

  • I tried to post an image with my comment. I don’t see either. The comment was just of appreciation Jonni. Thank you.

    Chaos
    Chaos was the nothingness from which all else sprang in Greek Mythology

  • Jonni, Thank you for sharing your knowledge. You are fun to watch! Your personality and energy is very uplifting and your excitement is contagious. Well done lady. I’m hoping I can create something worth sharing with you.

    Chaos
    (Chaos was the nothingness from which all else sprang in Greek Mythology)

    • Julia, thank you for such nice words – I’m glad you enjoy the videos. Did you try to show us a sculpture named Chaos? If you did, the cyber-gods did not let it come through with your comment. The image was probably too big. You can use one of the links at the top of this page (right under the Chihuahua) to make it smaller – and I do hope you’ll try again.

  • Hi Joni, Thank you so much for this site and your generous spirit! I am investigating paper mache for a mixed media project and appreciate your recipes and videos. What would you recommend as a beginner project? What is a good resource for learning to build armatures? Which of your books should I start with?
    I do so appreciate your willingness to share your experience! Thank you in advance. Jean

    • Hi Jean. For armatures, the best book would be the one about making animal sculptures. It was designed as a course in sculpting, starting with simple projects and adding new methods and skills as you complete the chapters. If you wanted to start with an individual pattern instead, I’d go with the Panda. It’s easy and fast, and you’d get the hang of it quickly. Once you see how the armatures are made, you can use the same techniques to make your own designs.

      Have fun! And do come back and show us how your projects turn out. I’m very interested in mixed media, and I’d really like to see how you combine paper mache with all the other interesting art materials that are used in mixed media projects.

      • Thank you for the quick reply! Ooppss on the photo, I will know what it is for next time! Photo of my project coming soon. You are appreciated!!

  • Hi Jonni

    Love you work. I am an amateur at this, tried my hand at paper mache. I made a caterpillar, gave it the shape using foil. Then covered it with layers of paper (paste: water and white glue). The project is dry, but when i feel it, it is soft to the touch. Please can you help me, what can i do to harden it?

    • Hi Catherine. If it’s totally dry, all the way through (and not just on the outside) and if it has enough layers, it should harden. If it’s soft, it’s still damp inside, or there aren’t enough layers. Put it in front of a fan overnight, and then test again. If it’s still soft, add a few more layers of paper mache.

      I would love to see that caterpillar when it’s done. I hope you’ll take a photo and share it when you get a chance.

  • Hi Dora, I am looking to make a paper Mache 1/2 egg for a photo prop. Do you know the best way to start one?

    • I’ve been asked that before, but I haven’t made one, and I don’t have a good solution for you. The only way I can think of to make it work would be to use a large exercise ball for the form, cover it with a few layers of plaster cloth to give you a good, solid base, and then cover that with several layers of paper mache. If you use paper mache alone, you’d need a lot of layers. Take a look at my Humpty Dumpty to see how I’d do it, but use a ball instead of a balloon.

  • HI JONNIE! Firstly, I would to say I love all of your paper mache creations. They are all so beautiful. You clearly are a true artist.
    My name is Dayna, I am a 27 year old newly stay at home mother of a beautiful 3 month old daughter. I also have a 7 year old step son who LOVES aliens. I’ve been studying your videos on how to make masks and I have gained a lot of knowledge from them. However, I would like your opinion on what would be the strongest and the most cost efficient materials that I can purchase at my local craft store ( store name; Michael’s) for an alien head mask I’d like to try and make. The mask would have a smooth, minimally textured skin appearance that I could also hang on the wall. Any bit of advice would be hugely appreciated. This Alien mask/wall decor piece is going to have an immense amount of sentimental value for our son. I’ve already subscribed to your youtube channel and plan on purchasing your book on how to make a paper mache mask. Keep up the phenomenal work!!!!!!

    • Hi Dayna. What a great project! Your stepson is going to love it. The shop-towel mache is probably the lightest way to go. That’s what I used in the mask book, although I would probably use the joint compound/glue paste now (we also use it for gesso) just because it doesn’t harden up in the bowl. It gives you more time to work, and it dries just as hard. For a preview of what you’ll find in the book, you might want to watch the videos I made for the Pantalone mask, if you haven’t found them already: one, two and three.

      I hope we get to see your son’s alien when it’ done!

      • You’re amazing 🙂 Thank you for the speedy response. I will look up your recommended video and I will definitely post pictures of my Alien project.

  • Hello Jonnie
    My name is Dora Byers.I am from Perrysburg Ohio.
    I am a designer for a furniture store in Maumee Ohio.The owner would like me to design his new store and purchase some unique pieces.I love the baby elephant. Do you sale your figures.We would be very interested in purchasing an elephant .We would like it to be 60″ in height.Do you think this is at all possible?I will enclose my email for you.We will pay for shipping .Hopefully you can help us out.
    Thank you
    Dora

    • Hi Dora. This sounds like a great project, but I don’t have the studio space to do something that large. I’m afraid I’ll need to turn down your request. Sorry! I do hope you find some great new items for your store.

Leave a Comment

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.

111 Shares
Tweet
Share4
Pin107
+1