Paper Mache – for Beautiful Sculptures and Masks

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Used Jonni’s pattern to make a mask for a Safari theme day at my workplace. No one believed I made it until I showed them the inside where my Shreddies boxes showed LOL. Our team used this mask and some cardboard monkey masks to set the scene for the theme day.

Karen Norris

Latest Paper Mache Tutorials:

I’ve used [your paper mache clay] recipe countless times for many years, it’s the best modeling medium I’ve ever tried. Dries hard as a rock and allows for some great detail. I’ve had to break a piece off of a piece of metal and I literally had to whack it with a hammer as hard as I could a few times to get it loose. Thank you so much for inspiring my creativity!!

Dalet Bet

601 thoughts on “Paper Mache – for Beautiful Sculptures and Masks”

  1. Approximately how long does it take to make a paper mache sculpture? I was thinking of making on for a school project but I’m on a tight deadline (4 days) 🙁

    • It really depends on how big and complicated your sculpture is. If you don’t need to spend a lot of time making the armature, then most of the time will be waiting for the paper mache to dry. What kind of project do you have in mind? If it’s something specific, use the search bar on the site – we might have a tutorial that will help.

  2. This will mot be a paper mache project, but I know there are a lot of great sculptors on here. So, I thought I would ask.

    Looking for some ideas here. I want to do a 3d sculpture for outdoors that will consist of two parts; a hand dropping pebbles into a basin. I’m thinking of how to do the hand part. I could do the forearm with the hand bent at the wrist, with the forearm attached to the basin. I think that would mean the basin will need to be bigger, because I would think the arm would need to be at an angle. I have also thought about doing the hand with a bit of arm, no bend, with some kind of perpendicular support going all the way to the ground. I have thought about the support being a lucite or something like that that is transparent, so that the hand appears to levitate. But I believe that lucite will yellow over time. I guess I could use a mosaic support with mirrors that at least reflect the outdoors and wouldn’t be as noticeable.

    Any ideas out there?

    • Hi Sharon. I don’t do many outdoor sculptures, but you might want to ask you question over on the Daily Sculptors page, too. There’s a link to it at the top of the site, and many people visit that page daily. You might have a better chance of getting some great suggestions on that page. Have fun with your project! 🙂

  3. From the first time I picked up a piece of papier-mâché as a very young child, I’ve been enthralled. The moment you pick an item up and think: is that …? It’s light and as fine as bone China. Then you tap it and hear that beautiful hollow sound…”ahhh, it’s paper mache! ??
    It somehow makes my heart sing.

    I just watched you tutorial on your original recipe. I’m so excited. It totally makes sense. Thank you, thank you , thank you. BTW, I’m meant to be studying but can’t because my life long obsession has been triggered.

    • I’m so glad you found the site – we’re all a little obsessed with paper mache. If you’d like to show off some of your work, and see what other people have made recently, be sure to visit the Daily Sculptors page. But not until you’ve done with your studies! 🙂

      • Thank you and yes, I will. I’ve been wanting to be able to sculpt faces but haven’t been able to do it and have resorted to clay. It’s just not the same. About to brew my first experimental batch !!!

  4. I’ve been watching your videos for years. I love dolls and have tried sculpting my own heads but I struggle. I see you have a pattern for adult heads. Do you have one for children?

    • Hi Karen. I don’t have a pattern for sculpting a child’s head. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever sculpted a child’s head myself. I did find a great video on YouTube about sculpting a baby’s head, but there really aren’t many resources out there, except for doll making books and videos. When you do have some dolls made, we’d love to see them. 🙂

  5. Jonni, let me start off by saying your recipe has been a god send to this avid crafter/diy’er that can’t stick to any one project at a time. I consistently come back to paper mache for various reasons and it never fails my needs.
    My question(s) is basic….
    Do you find a preference for certain types of paper in various circumstances? And how would you recommend prepping and using the paper?
    For example:
    Using computer paper vs newspaper vs brown mailing paper vs magazine paper vs cardboard vs toilet paper

    Using shredded, soaked, and further shredded mailing paper as a “heavy duty” clay form? Using toilet paper for a “finer” type of clay

    I hope my questions make sense to you. I know what I’m trying to say in my head, however I can’t always get my wording right.

    • Hi Stacy. I never use the traditional paper pulp, if that’s what you’re referring to. When I make my paper mache clay I always use toilet paper, because it breaks down easily and makes a smooth material to spread over an armature. Other people have used heavier paper – and even soaked egg cartons – but I have never tried that. You might want to ask for more advice on the Daily Sculptors page – one of our readers might have more advice for you. Be sure to let us know what type of surface you’d like to achieve for your project – that would really help.

  6. Jonni. I’ve scrolled thru many Videos and Remember from One Your Artist Daughters website. I can’t remember and can’t seem to find my it. Please let me know. Thank you ?

  7. Hi Jonni,

    I have used your recipes for several projects and appreciate your clear and precise directions. I have made a mushroom shaped stool out of cardboard and I want to cover it with something to even out the shape, make it smooth and paint. Do you have a recommendation for which of your recipes would best suit this purpose? I will be sitting in it and worry about the surface treatment cracking.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Sherri. The strongest recipe I have is the original paper mache clay. It wasn’t designed to be used for furniture and it isn’t very flexible, so you’ll want to make sure the stool is solid enough to sit on before you add the paper mache clay skin. And do a small test piece to see if you think it will work for your project.


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