Make Beautiful Sculptures and Masks with Paper Mache and Paper Mache Clay

Click the yellow button above to see my easy patterns for paper mache sculptures and masks.

  • Create beautiful gifts and decorative sculptures for your home.
  • Or quickly create professional-looking headdress masks for your local production of the Lion King play or a Vacation Bible School event.

The patterns make it easy, even if you’ve never made anything with paper mache before.

Latest Paper Mache Tutorials:

Jonni’s Sculpting Books

Paper mache recipes.

You can find all the traditional paper mache paste recipes on this site, plus my famous paper mache clay recipe (and several new variations). You can always find the recipe you’re looking for under the Recipes link at the tip of the site.

Or download my free booklet, The 5 Best Recipes for Paper Mache.

Your Host.Jonni Good, Paper Mache Artist

I’m Jonni Good, the creator of this site and the author of several best-selling sculpting books on amazon.com. You’ll find me on the Daily Sculptors page almost every day, along with many other friendly and supportive folks who love creating beautiful things with this exciting medium. Be sure to drop by and say “hi.” We’d love to meet you.

Masks and Sculptures Made by Our Readers:

My Best-Selling Patterns for Paper Mache:

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

  1. Hi Jonni, I love your work and I’m eager to try out what I find on your site! I was wondering, is it possible to glue things to the dried paper mache clay? Such as faux fur or faux feathers? And if it’s possible, would you recommend a hot glue gun, or something strong but cold? Sorry if this is asked a lot, I had a look around but couldn’t find the answer! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Jack. I think you may actually be the first one to ask. If you use the oil in the paper mache clay (which is optional) it could make it slightly more difficult to get something to stick. However, it sticks to itself really well, so we know that Elmer’s glue should work. Hot glue should work, too, but make sure the paper mache clay is totally dry all the way through. If there’s any moisture left in it, the connection with the glue will probably fail after a while. A good wood glue, like Titebond III would probably be my first choice, because it dries quickly and it’s really strong. So basically, go ahead and experiment with different options. I’m sure you’ll find one you like best.
      Have fun!

      Reply
  2. Hello Jonni. I finally figured out I can communicate with you. Yay! I have watched many, many of your videos. I have made a sculpture of my dog and I am at the point where I wonder if I should attach it to a base. She is life sized and on three points, meaning that sitting with one front paw up. She will stand but will tip over easily. What is the
    best way to attach her to a wood base?

    Reply
  3. I’m so grateful I found this site. What would be your top pattern picks for someone just starting? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Hi Tawny. That really depends on what you would most like to have when it’s finished. There are hundreds of projects on this site, in addition to the special patterns on this page. Mostly animals, as you’ve probably already guessed. 🙂 And in some cases, we have more than one way to do similar items. Is there an animal that you’re particularly fond of? Do you want all the shapes to be in the pattern, or do you want to do a lot of the sculpting yourself with crumpled paper or foil? And do you want something for the wall or a shelf? (Lots of question, I know. But a lot of the fun of making something is thinking about where it will be displayed when it’s done.)

      Reply
  4. Hi Jonni,
    Is it possible to add color to your paper mache clay recipe?
    Thank you for sharing all your ideas!!

    Reply
  5. Hello
    I’m wondering if you recipe for paper mache clay will work in a cplaster press mold.
    Thanks!
    Rae

    Reply
    • Hi Rae. The paper mache clay will stick to plaster, so you’ll need to experiment to see if you can find a way to seal the plaster, and use a release. The smooth air dry clay is often used in silicone molds, for small pieces. I don’t know if it would work for larger castings or not. It does shrink a little when it dries. The original paper mache clay doesn’t make a very good casting, because of the high paper content. You end up with a lot of voids on the surface of the casting. The air dry clay recipe doesn’t have that problem, at least with silicone molds.

      Reply
  6. Hello gads I love your works of art. Do you happen to have the octopus pattern by any chance. And do you have a small elepahnt ana complete giraffe pattern? Hope you are staying safe Jonnie. hugs

    Reply
    • Hi Kat. Thanks for the nice compliment. 🙂

      I don’t have a pattern for an octopus, but Cindy showed us how she made one. You can see her post here. I have a small bull elephant in my book Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay. I made a video about the elephant years ago, right after writing the book. (I just looked at the video — I was a few pound heavier back then. Dang… 🙂 )

      You can also use the standing baby Indian elephant pattern on this site and just draw out the pattern to the size you want. It doesn’t have to be life-sized, like the one I made. And no, I don’t have a pattern for an entire giraffe, but you can use the techniques in this video to make one of your own. (You could do that for an elephant, too.)

      I hope this helps. Have fun!

      Reply
  7. I have a need to make a practical item of a generally molded shape (an accessory for a stringed instrument) that requires a bit of strength and stiffness, maybe about as strong and stiff as a child’s thin wooden ruler, or a reed basket. Can I achieve that by adding enough layers of paper mache? Do you have other suggestions for me?

    I haven’t done any paper mache-ing since kindergarten (a LONG time ago), but you have inspired me.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Frederick. The first thing that comes to mind is brown paper layered together using a good wood glue. I’ve used it on my Lion King masks, and just a few layers is very strong. It should be about as strong as an equal thickness of plywood. And I think you’d be able to sand it, if you need to. But I’ve never worked on a project like yours, so it’s just an idea. Let us know if it works! 🙂

      Reply
  8. Hi Jonni,

    For my art history class in college our final project is to replicate an art piece of our choosing and I am making a Paper Mache transformative mask based on a wooden one that was found in the Americas. I’m stumped on how to make a tiger mask that can open and close its mouth wide enough so the mask beneath it can show through. I do have a couple ideas by making two separate pieces, the top and bottom of the mouth and then attaching string somehow to pull/release to open/close the mouth. Do you have any advice or am I in over my head?

    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Gosh, I know it can be done, but I’ve never done it myself. It sounds like you have a good start, but you might want to look for some cosplay costume videos. They make a lot of wearable masks with moveable jaws. some of them have lower jaws that fit the wearer’s jaw, but that probably isn’t what you’re looking for. But I have seen some mechanical gizmos being used, too. I just can’t remember where I saw them. (I’m not being very helpful, am I 🙂 ) If you can find a recent video or article online by a cosplay costumer, the artist might be able to help. Good luck with it!

      Reply
  9. Dear Jonni Good,
    For a school project we are supposed to make Commedia Dell’arte masks. I don’t know how to make a form for myself and store-bought forms won’t fit my nose. I really need a recipe. By the way, my class watched the Pantalone mask tutorials and they were very inspirational. If you could send me a recipe for the form, that would be really nice.
    Kind regards,
    Natasha W

    Reply
    • Hi Natasha. I’m not quite sure what you mean by a ‘recipe’ for the form. Do you mean a pattern that you can cut and tape together, like the animal masks and wall sculptures on this site? I don’t have one for a human face yet, although I do intend to make a skull-shaped pattern that can be used for portrait sculpting. In the meantime, you can just make a form using crumpled paper and masking tape, or use foil and hot glue. Although our faces are a different shape than an orangutan, this video will show you how it’s done. Have fun with it! 🙂

      Reply
  10. For my project, I would like to add mirrors. Will they hold if I glue them on or would you suggest adding a thicker layer of the paper mache clay and sticking them with that? Also, does the clay make it heavy? My armature is pretty light. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Bianca. The weight depends on how thickly the paper mache clay is applied. If you put it on paper thin, it won’t weigh much more than paper strips and paste. I’ve never glued mirrors to paper mache, but they should stick if use a two-part epoxy glue. Do a test first, though, to make sure.

      Reply
  11. I saw your sculptures on youtube and their amazing to say the least. what would you suggest for a beginners pattern?

    Reply
    • On this page for the patterns that create all the shapes for you, I’d say the pig and cat are the easiest ones. If you’d like to try one of the patterns that go on the inside of a sculpture, and then you add the forms with crumpled paper or foil, the panda would be a good start. If you do the panda, then you can watch the video that shows you how to make that type of pattern yourself. It’s the way I made all the patterns in my book, so we know it works. 🙂

      Reply
  12. Hi
    I was wondering if i can build my sculpture with the heaps of palstic bags and twist ties that i save because i can’t throw them out. Im hoping that i can upcycle them and make a paper mache sculpture. Do you have any thoughts about this ?

    Reply
    • Yes, absolutely! You can stuff some of them inside a plastic bag and use masking tape around the outside to squeeze the bags together and create the shapes you want. It’s a great way to form the basic shapes of an animal – or pumpkin. 🙂 Paper mache won’t stick to plastic, so you’ll need to cover the bag with masking tape. And you can add additional features by taping on crumpled paper in spots, or by using hot glue and crumpled foil. (The glue will melt plastic, so use the masking tape first.)
      If you do make something with them, I hope you’ll come show it off on the Daily Sculptors page. We’d love to see how it comes out.

      Reply
  13. Thank you so much for your clay recipe. I’m so excited to use it on my sculpture that I made.
    Have a beautiful day!

    Reply
  14. Dear Jonni,
    Today I told my husband my plans for the day ; Laundry and paper mache. He looked at me panic stricken and said, “Are you going to use toilet paper??” I burst out laughing. With today’s corona virus scare we can’t find toilet paper in our stores. I eased his mind by telling him I had some clay frozen, and then I was really stupid and told him I had three rolls Rolls of toilet paper in my paper mache bin. He replied, “ah…you shouldn’t have told me that” I may have to place it under lock and key!!?

    Reply
    • Good point! I’m not out of TP, thank goodness. I ordered a big carton from Amazon when I first started hearing the news out of China. Now they’re out, and my local store is out. Time to get out the old wash cloths, I guess. (My daughter knew someone way back in college who never used TP. Everyone else in the student boarding house thought she was crazy, but maybe she was on to something?)

      Reply
  15. Hi Jonni,
    Can paper mache projects (statues) be sealed to withstand extreme weather (snow etc)? If so, what do you recommend using?
    Thanks so much,
    Niki

    Reply
    • Niki,

      I was just reading an old article here about a goddess statue. The crafter covered it in thin set then sealed it with a polyurethane sealer. Sounds like that should be pretty weatherproof.

      Reply
      • Cassie, I used waterproof grout for my garden gnome, and it is definitely waterproof. But I didn’t put any paper inside of it, and didn’t use paper mache clay underneath it. Jackie’s method may have worked, but we haven’t heard from her for quite a while. I worry that the outside surface could develop small cracks, and that would let water inside to destroy the paper and paper mache underneath. But Jackie’s post did encourage me to try using the grout, (but without the paper). And it worked. 🙂

        Reply
        • Jonni, thank you! I had just found your gnome today and saved it as I research how to make the lawn tanuki I want to make. I’m very new to this and am absorbing all the information I can. The gnome has been the best method I’ve found and looks great! Thank you for posting it so we can all learn from it!

          Reply
  16. Hi Jonni
    I am Lorna Atkinson from Abudhabi in the United Arab Emirates.Please let me know if you have the masks for other animals like giraffe, rhino, elephant, deer etc.

    Reply
    • Hi Lorna. I have wall sculpture patterns for the elephant and deer, and a giraffe head sculpture that stands on a table. But no masks of those animals. Not yet, anyway. I try to make a new one once a month, though, so check back later.

      Reply
  17. Hi Jonni,

    I wonder whether this recipe would work for small oaxacan alebrije sculptures for sixth-graders (12 years old). I’d keep it simple. Would I use a foil armature or would I even need an armature for small, simple shapes like turtles and frogs?

    What do you think?

    Reply
    • Hi Lynn. The paper mache clay recipe can’t be formed in the hand, like real clay. That’s also true for my air dry clay recipe. They both need to be applied in a thin layer over an armature. In fact, it’s the armatures that take the most time, because that’s where all the real sculpting is done. You could use crumpled paper and masking tape instead of foil, so you don’t need the hot glue guns, but you’d need a lot of masking tape.

      WED clay would work for hand sculpting. It can’t be fired, but it’s slow to dry out, and a small piece my grandson made five years ago is still intact, even though it wasn’t sealed. You can sometimes find it at pottery stores. If you have to order it from amazon.com the price, which include shipping, might be too high for a school project, though.

      Reply
  18. I am looking for adult size mask patterns on otter, martin, deer, moose, eagle, crane, elk, fish, beaver, Linx, all wild animals of Ontario except squirrels, mice, rabbits,

    Reply
    • Hi Marie. I haven’t made mask patterns for any of those animals yet. I have a deer sculpture pattern, but it is intended to be displayed on the wall. I hope to make an eagle this year, though. Good luck finding what you need.

      Reply

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