Paper Mache Tutorials

Some of the tutorials on this site are shown below – but there are many more. (At last count, there were 400+ tutorials, with more coming all the time). To see all the paper mache tutorials on the blog, click here. And to see all of the other posts on this site (over 200 and counting) click here. You can also download the free Practical Paper Mache ebook, which was created by readers of this blog, here.

Paper Mache Clay Tutorials

Paper Mache Clay Frog:

Paper Mache Clay Frog

Paper Mache Clay Frog

Paper Mache Clay Butterflies:

Paper Mache Clay Butterflies

Paper Mache Clay Butterflies

Paper Mache Clay Snowman:

Paper Mache Clay Snowman

Paper Mache Clay Snowman

Traditional Paper Mache Tutorials:

Life-Sized Baby Elephant Sculpture:

Large Paper Mache Baby Indian Elephant

Large Paper Mache Baby Indian Elephant

Paper Mache Bluebirds:

Paper Mache Bluebirds

Paper Mache Bluebirds

Paper Mache Piggy Bank

Paper Mache Piggy Bank

Paper Mache Piggy Bank

Paper Mache Baby Sperm Whale Wall Hanging

Paper Mache Whale Wall Hanging

Paper Mache Whale Wall Hanging

Paper Mache Orangutan Mask

Paper Mache Orangutan Mask

Paper Mache Orangutan Mask

African Ceremonial Mask

African Ceremonial Mask

African Ceremonial Mask

Paper Mache Dragon

Paper Mache Dragon

Paper Mache Dragon

Paper Mache Lop-Eared Bunny

Paper Mache Lop-Eared Bunny

Paper Mache Lop-Eared Bunny

Paper Mache Rabbit Sculpture

Paper Mache Rabbit Sculpture

Paper Mache Rabbit Sculpture

Paper Mache Panda Sculpture

Paper Mache Panda Sculpture

Paper Mache Panda Sculpture

Paper Mache Long-Beaked Echidna Sculpture

Paper Mache Long-Beaked Echidna Sculpture

Paper Mache Long-Beaked Echidna Sculpture

Paper Mache Horse Sculpture (see links below)

Paper Mache Horse Sculpture

Paper Mache Horse Sculpture

This last tutorial is a series of posts showing my progress with a fairly complicated and advanced animal sculpture that took two weeks to complete. To read the posts from first to last, follow these links:

Seasonal Decorations:

Christmas Tree Ornaments

Christmas Tree Ornaments

Valentines Day Bouquet

Valentines Day Bouquet

Be sure to also check out the many other tutorials and posts on this site.

If you have any questions about any of the tutorials, or just want to sound off, please remember to leave a comment. Your comments make this blog much more fun for me to create.

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309 Comments

  • Hey people! Love this site.!
    I have few questions of the technique and everything! So. I’m making a 1meter wide and let’s say 1m high butterfly. At the moment I’m on the construction that I made with chicken wire that I doubled up. My question is ( I’m hoping that somebody will read this till tomorrow) if it is possible to fill this chicken wire shaped butterfly directly with paper mache clay or I first fill the gaps with paper that is mixed with glue ?

    • The paper mache would fall through the mesh and onto the floor. You’ll need to cover the wire. The easiest way to do that is to use masking tape. You can use big sheets of newspaper instead, held together with either flour and water paste or glue. The masking tape is a lot easier, because it will stick to the wire better.

      I hope you’ll let us see your butterfly when it’s done!

      • Okay, thank you! I was looking online and I saw that everybody did paper mache butterfly only with cardboard and then I thought that I will do it too, I think it’s faster cause we need it done by tomorrow because on Saturday it goes on a party like a decoration.. Do you think I have to switch to the cardboard because of the fastest way? Thank you gain so much 🙂

        • Cardboard would certainly be faster, and a whole lot easier. I didn’t see this comment before answering your other comment, so you might need to ignore that one. I was thinking the wings would be made out of chicken wire (and I kind of forgot what item you were making – sorry). For the cardboard, you actually need to add paper mache to both sides at the same time, to keep them from warping. Use just one of two layers, and then put the butterfly in front of a fan to help it dry quickly. You’ll still need to check it often to make sure the wings don’t bend as they dry, and keep turning the butterfly so it dries evenly on both sides.

      • I continued with the chicken wire construction, pict is below, I like it how it feels to bend it :). Next questions are : can I put with paper from the both sides immediately considering the time or I have to wait till one side is dry enough? Then about the body between the wings do I have to do it attach it to wings and then put newspaper,? Actually I think yes.. Ok do I have to fill the vodi with newspaper or smth or just I put i t empty..?

        • Hi Aeon. I don’t think your photo came through with your comment, unless you were referring to a photo you submitted earlier. You might want to try again, after editing the image to make it smaller. You can add paper mache to both sides at once, although you will have to deal with gravity. Wet paper is really heavy. You don’t have to put anything on the inside, but chicken wire will bend easily, as you’ve experienced while forming it into the shapes you want. That also means that it offers almost no support in case the piece is dropped. If you intend to put the paper mache clay over the paper strips and paste, that would create a pretty strong shell, and if the piece isn’t going to be handled very much, that would probably work just fine, without anything inside the wire.

  • Hi Jonni,my name is jacques martino better known as THE COW MAN. Ihave 8 cows posted on pinterest have a look. I have been working on a papier mache book for about 6 months now and I’Mat a stand still. I’ve taken hundreds of photos and writing. I’ve looked at your vidoes on how to make a papier mache book and the soft ware you take about. the problem here is to show 1 cow in a small book or 8 cows that will be about 400 or more pages and color prints.the cost will be quite different. plus the illustrations that i put in. I don’t know and would like your thoughts on this. Thank you waiting for your reply.

    • Jacques, will it be a how-to book? Or is it a coffee-table book for showing off your work?

      I only know how to work with CreateSpace, and they print the books one at a time, when someone orders one. If you go to their site they’ll tell you how much the printing will cost, and how much you’ll need to charge for you to make a profit. I just checked their site, and if you print 400 pages in color and charged $50.00 per book, you would make $1.14 for every one Amazon sells. I’m pretty sure you would not get any sales at that price.

      Just for price alone, it sounds like you would need to limit your book to one cow. The other option would be to create a video of your work. The number of photos wouldn’t matter, and you could tell your viewers as much as you want to about your process. I’ve never done that, either, but I know CreateSpace, which is owned by Amazon.com, will print and sell your video for you if you want them to. I have no idea if you would have an audience – marketing would be up to you.

      I hope that’s at least a little bit helpful. Good luck with your project!

      • Hi Jonni. This is a big help, it is a how to book on my cows. Now i know that it will be a small book on one cow. 1.14 is not what i want. I will send you photos of my work. thanks again and send you up dates on my work. Jacques Martino’ THE COW MAN

  • Hi, I’m trying to make a astronaut helment for my 8 year old son. I’ve never done this and his project is due in 4 days. Also I’ve lost my ballon to start should I go ahead and buy a new ballon or is there another option also any help would be appreciated! Thanks so much!!!

    • Hi Ashley. The fastest way to do it would be to crumple up some newspaper into the shape you want, cover it with masking tape and then a layer of plastic wrap, and use two layers of plaster cloth over the paper. Let it harden for a few minutes, remove the paper, and cover the plaster cloth with a layer of two, inside and out, with paper strips and paste.

      Balloons are difficult to use, because they change shape, and you can end up with either cracks or wrinkles, depending on the temperature of the air. I don’t use them unless I have to. If you don’t have any plaster cloth and you don’t have a hobby store nearby, use eight or more layers of paper mache, and let it dry in front of a fan. It will take a long time to dry, and you don’t have a lot of time, so the plaster cloth would really give you a nice head start.

      Good luck with your project.

  • I started working with your clay recipe except using mineral oil instead of the boiled linseed oil. I’ve been trying to make old fashion paper mâché candy containers the you see on ebay a lot, most are from Germany. I’ve watched a lot of your you tube videos but had some issues with mine. At first I had a molding problem on a few, a couple of days wasn’t enough try times so I’ve been waiting a week plus instead so I hope that helps. Second thing that came up is still after a month or so they still have a paper mâché or elders glue spell to them, some projects seem to smell more then others. Some even appear to be really good but then spell like the spray finish I use to seal them. Is there a way to lessen these smells since the goal was to put wrapped candies inside just like the old German ones did. FYI, on some projects I’ve used plastic test tubes or plastic balls from Michele’s as the structure to build around.

    • Hi Scott. I think you tried to upload a photo, several times, but the images didn’t show up. Was the file size less than 250K? If so, you can make the images smaller with this online tool. If your image was small enough, but didn’t work anyway, please let me know. A lot of people are having trouble lately with the image uploader, and I’d like to find out why.

      As for the smell – I don’t think I have an answer for you. Except that you might want to use the traditional paper strips and paste made with flour and water, which doesn’t really have a smell. And you would need to find a varnish to seal the containers that has no smell of its own – which won’t be easy. Does anyone else some ideas for Scott?

  • Hi Jonni-
    I have recently gave birth to my son and while I was pregnant I did a paper mache cast of my belly and bust. Problem is the bust is detaching from the belly portion as the paper while drying did not get a good bond. Do you know of any way I could repair the bust to the belly? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Diana

    • If there’s a split between the upper and lower portions of the cast, I think the easiest way to tie them together again would be with plaster cloth. You will want to wait until the paper mache is entirely dry.

      When the paper mache is dry, get a roll of plaster cloth from the hobby store and lay the two pieces – upside down – on a table. Use a few pieces of tape to keep them together at the seam while you’re working, and then add two layers of dampened plaster cloth right over the seam, working rather quickly. You’ll need to turn them over before the plaster cloth is entirely set, so the two pieces sit flat on a table. That way, when the plaster cloth is hard, the back will lie flat against a wall, if you want to hang it. You may need to use a few pieces of paper strips and paste over the broken seam once the plaster cloth is set, to repair the front side of the casting.

      Of course, the water in the plaster cloth will seep into the paper mache, so you’d need to be careful to not let the paper mache slump before the plaster cloth is hard. It would be challenging, but I think you can save your casting.

  • hello, i am now planning making a paper mache mask using balloon as the base, can i cover only the half of the balloon? because i only need one mask , can I ? thanks love this site

    • Yes, that should work. You might put the balloon in a bowl, so it won’t jump around while you’re working on, and then just cover one side. Be sure to let us see the mask when it’s done! 🙂

  • Hi Jonni you inspired me to start paper mache. I bought your book but I have not made anything because I have no been able to get styrofoam . I did make the echidna It came out good used pine needles instead of toothpicks. I need more more ideas I like animals but I want to do whimsical stuff. I have looked all over the net and found some stuff like standing mice/rats. Can you tell me if there is any books at the library for my kind of ideas. Thanks you my life is just alot more fun. I’m a stay at home grandmother and I needed just a little something of my own to do on my off time weekends. It’s only been a month since i picked up paper mache. One more thing why do i see people useing just glue and not flour in their p.m It looks alot more smoother.

    • Hi Debbie. Pine cones sound a lot less painful than the toothpicks I used for my echida. Good thinking! For a book with whimsical ideas, I really like Paper Sculpture: Over 25 Cute and Quirky Paper Mache Projects by James C. Cochrane. I think it’s only available through the UK version of amazon, but they seem to get to you right away. (I bought two, and gave them both away. I’ll probably buy another one.)

      As for paste and glue choices, it’s really a matter of personal preference. I like the flour and water paste just because I don’t like the feel of the glue on my hands. But the glue doesn’t leave white marks on the outside of the paper, which is nice.

  • Bit of an unusual question but I am making papier mache cones, as containers for fir cones I have soaked in different chemicals, to make coloured flames when set on fire. (Christmas presents for people with open fires/barbecues). The idea is that when the fir cones are gone, you could even burn the paper cones, so I have made them with a flour/salt/water paste (which may also spark different colours when burnt). I would like to paint them but want to use something that is safe to burn. Any suggestions?

    • Many paints, including watercolors, have pigments that can be toxic. I wouldn’t want to burn anything containing cadmium, for instance. But I’m not a chemist so I’m probably not the right one to help you with this. Perhaps the non-toxic tempera paints for kids?

  • Hi Jonni,
    i want to make a costume for my 3 year old for a fancy dress competition. I intend to dress him as a pineapple. I planned to do paper mache over a plastic barrel which i have cut off on both ends so it can hang around him, i am a complete novice with paper mache.. how should i go about with it? i live in India and the local hardware stores dont have anything called joint compound. Also if i used layers of paper will it become too heavy . I dont intend to remove the plastic barrel. do give me some guidance as to how i should go about with my project. thanks, shalini

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