1:1 Scale T-Rex Skull for Halloween

Made by Alexander Mann

This year for Halloween my partner and I really wanted to impress our new neighbours…and things got a little out of hand. What started out as hosting a museum themed party, turned into weeks of paper mache while watching tv, while eating breakfast, in between meetings, and on and on. We live in Washington DC, and have a small row home. Our entire living room became the workshop, all in the name of making a life size tyrannosaurus rex skull.

Our great idea for the party was to suspend such a skull in our entryway like a real museum. But a full size adult t-rex has a skull which is roughly 6’x3’x3’…

To start, I mocked up a small skull using silhouettes and whatever I could find online that I could then roughly scale to be dimensional. Once I had that, I figured I’d make the full size skull the same way, and then add 3 dimensions by taping rolled up newspaper.

Once the small mockup was ready (and tested by my dog) I just needed to transfer it to full size sheets of cardboard. To do this, I turned off all of the lights, had my partner stand on a chair and hold the mockup flat (I disassembled half of it for this part) with a flashlight above. The resulting shadow was then quickly traced out! This trick saved me a lot of time trying to scale things.

Life-sized t-rex skull made with paper mache, in progress

It took a few days to get the “flesh” on the frame to look right. The teeth especially were a little tricky. Those ended up just being leftover scraps of cardboard that I taped in place. I hoped that a loose hold would be solidified with enough paper mache later.

The last thing to do was goop the whole thing up! We made sure to only use flour and water, as my dog LOVED licking up the remnants. Unfortunately, the mice also liked it, so there were tiny nibble marks around its base for a time! In the end, to make sure the skull would survive being outside, we used something like 2 gallons of paper mache paste.

The end result was great! It was the talk of the neighbourhood. The little kids on their way to school at the end of the block would gawk, which 100% made the whole thing worth it. The best compliment had to be a curator at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, who is in their paleontology wing, stopping us on Halloween night to comment on how much he loved the skull.

Bonus: We made one of Cory Triplett’s mummys as well!

Life-sized T-Rex skull lit up for Halloween

2 thoughts on “1:1 Scale T-Rex Skull for Halloween”

  1. Alexander, it would have been fun to watch your neighbors when they walked past your T-Rex skull and mummy – I’m sure they were impressed! Thank you so much for showing them to us.

    And I must say – you have a very patient dog. 🙂


Leave a Comment