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

Sculpture and Mask Patterns

For a fast, easy start, check out my patterns for animal masks and sculptures. No experience is required to create paper mache art that will be treasured for years.

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.

Paper Mache Tutorials.

If you’re looking for an idea for your next paper mache project, we’ve got lots – there are over 480 tutorials and projects on this site, and more are added all the time. You’ll find them organized by category on the Blog-Art Library page.

If you have a particular project in mind, try the search bar. You will always find the search icon at the top of the site.

Jonni Good, Paper Mache Artist

Paper Mache Community.

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.

Blog Posts

Make a Garden Gnome

Make a Gnome – Part 2

In this video we see how the gnome is covered with a hard-coating to keep out the rain, and his face is made with Magic Sculpt epoxy clay.

Read More »
DIY silicon mold texture stamps for clay.

Diy Silicone Mold Texture Stamps for Clay

Use this cheap DIY silicone mold material to create texture stamps to use on your clay projects. My first experiment used my own recipe for air dry clay. It should also work very well with Apoxie Sculpt or any other epoxy clay, and might work with polymer clay.

Read More »

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

  1. Howdy we from the west virginian state. We have no idea what we are doing but love how your paste looks like literal mayonnaise. I love mayonnaise

  2. Jonni, you inspired me to make my first paper mache buck it came out great don’t know if i should paint it what do you think

    • Hi Ed – did you try to upload a photo with your comment? If you did, it didn’t come through. Images need to be less than 250 kb. If you don’t have image editing software on your device, you can use this free online tool. I hope you’ll try again so we can see what it looks like now.

  3. Dragon mask is coming along. After looking at the videos about drying times, I knew it wouldn’t be dry enough to fully paint and seal it by my target date, so I put a very light coat of what I assume to be somewhat breathable matte paint just to hide the spots that still have newspaper print showing. My plan now is to let it dry for at least three days before I do final painting and sealing (but I wore it last night and will wear it again tonight in its current unfinished-but-acceptably-presentable state).

    Anyway, after watching the videos about drying I’m scared to death that this thing is going to mold if I don’t seal up every nook and cranny…and as you can see it has a LOT of nooks and crannies. Is it true that if I finish it but get it back out in a year for next Halloween and somehow allow a drop of rain or moist air or whatever to get into even one tiny unsealed crack, mold will ruin it?? ?

    I mean if I have to, I’ll go full OCD and grab a paintbrush-applied sealer and spend hours working it into every tiny crack…but I’m just wondering is that really necessary or am I being paranoid? Also worth noting: I’m using some KILZ as a sealer and primer under the final paint job, which will be matte spray paint and watercolor weathering…then I plan to do final sealing with a spray can of flex seal and some other sealer I can apply with a paintbrush into the tiny cracks and along sharp edges because it’s hard to get good coverage over those with spray cans…

    • Hi Sonnet. Your dragon is absolutely fantastic! As for sealing it, if you only intend to let it go outside for a few hours, or even a day or two, you don’t need to get overly carried away. Many Halloween artists just give their pieces a coat or two of marine varnish. Then they bring their sculptures back inside and make sure they have a chance to dry out again before storing them in a dry place for next year. With your paint and Flex Seal, your dragon should do just fine. I have been told that the brush-on version of Flex Seal is more waterproof than the spray. But, again, if you don’t intend to leave him out in the yard for a long period of time, the products you already have should be just fine.

      And even if a drop or two of water does make its way through the final coat, the water will find its way out again if you bring it back inside and put it in front of a fan for a few hours.

  4. Hello I took some of your technique s and applied them to my Lion paper mache project. I had some errors but review I got your videos help me work through it all. I hope to develop your skills one day!!! Thank you! DK

    • I went to the local Walmart and chose a warm yellowish tan craft paint for the fur. I also used a small amount of white around the eyes and on the muzzle. The eyes were painted the same color as the fur, with black pupils.

  5. Hi Jonni,
    I’m making a large pumpkin. I used paper mache as my base then added foam spray over that. I added plaster to the foam to fill in the gaps but I see that it’s cracking. Do you have any suggestions as far as how to keep it from cracking?

  6. Hiya! I’m having a Narnia event coming soon and originally I was planning on buying stuffed animals for the props but then after seeing your videos I became soo inspired to just make all the characters from scratch and it saves budget too! Do you happen to have templates for a life sized beaver and lion though? Could really help us out a lot !
    Kind regards xxx

  7. hello, was wanting to know if you sale any of your large paper mache animals? if so please let me know your pricing. thank you.

    • Hi Araceli. No, I don’t sell my finished sculptures. I teach other people how to make their own. If you find a pattern or video on this site of a sculpture you’d like to have, but you don’t want to make it yourself, you might find someone at your local community college who could follow the instructions and make it for you.

  8. Hi Jonni,
    Love your site, and feeling totally inspired! I am just about to start my first project using your original paper clay recipe and hoping you may be kind enough to answer a couple of quick questions…
    I’m using foil and hot glue for my armature, can I apply the paper clay directly on top? Will it adhere OK?
    How long do you have to ‘work’ with the clay before it starts to dry?
    Will fresh paper clay adhere to dry paper clay?
    Tanks again for such a great and useful site 🙂

    • Hi Andy. Yes, paper mache clay can be applied directly to a crumpled foil armature. It dries slowly, unlike an epoxy clay that sets up in just a few minutes. You’ll have at least three hours before it dries too much to move it around. And yes, new paper mache clay sticks tight to dried paper mache clay. Have fun! 🙂

      • Just wanted to drop you a note to try you, you are an amazing teacher my husband created a large mouth bass using your techniques. I have attached a picture to show you. Not bad for his first time.

        • Hi Debbie. We would love to see your husband’s fish, but the image didn’t come through – probably because it was too big. Images need to be less then 250 KB to upload. If you don’t have image editing software, you can use this free online tool to make it smaller. I really hope you’ll try again – we want to see that fish! 🙂

      • WOW, is this really Jonni!? You’re a superstar to me, I have your videos playing in my my studio, a lot! Even gave you a shout out on Instagram when I finished a my first complete paper mache piece, So thanks!

        Back to business…. I’m using the original recipe, but I added the food processing paper to the mix. Not the ripped paper.

        • Yes, it’s really me. 🙂

          I had never heard of “food processing paper,” so I looked it up. Is your paper coated? That might be what’s causing the cracks, if the fibers can’t separate and become a part of the mixture. Have you tried using the toilet paper that’s called for in the original recipe?

          • Hello Jonni,
            I am very grateful for your generosity in sharing your experience. I am a beginner, I am interested in creating lamp shades. Which recipe would you Recommend ? One that’s durable and tolerates heat.

            • Hi Lina. I have never made a lampshade, so I’m the wrong person to ask. However, there are quite a few wonderful videos on YouTube that show how to make paper mache lampshades. I hope to try one of them someday. In the meantime, you might want to ask the lady who created this video.

            • And one more thing – double-check any reply you get to make sure you get safe advice. Almost any paper-based product will burn, no matter what paste is used to hold it together. Or use LED lamps, which don’t put out much heat.

  9. If anyone is looking to make trees of any kind (especially for Halloween) I find using cement tubes from a big hardware store (like Home Depot) works really well. And the paper mâché sticks really well to it. They come in 8″ round up to (I believe) 24″ round tubes. Sturdy and strong.

  10. For a band prop we are going to attempt to make a 1/2 of a tree 12 foot long. We are looking for something that will set up fast and be durable for the 8 week season. Possibly getting rained on is also a concern. Please if you have any insight let me know

    • Hi Joe. You could make short sections of the trunk with a flat plywood back and semi-circles at regular intervals, maybe 24″ apart, along the length of each section. Cover the rounded parts with chicken wire, cover the wire with masking tape or duct tape, and cover the tape with paper mache or paper mache clay. The paper mache clay can be used to make bark textures, and it dries very strong.

      The sections would need to bolt together when they’re used, and I have no idea how to do that. If you intend to have limbs on your tree, you might be able to make them with rebar that’s bent and attached to the trunk with some hardware you find at the DIY store. The rebar can be rounded out with crumpled foil. Smaller wires could be attached to the rebar and filled out with the foil for smaller side branches.

      No paper mache recipe or product is waterproof, though. For short term display outside you can use marine varnish to seal the tree, and that will help if you bring it back inside to dry off between sessions. For long-term outdoor use, some people have good luck with Flex Seal, but other people have tried it and say it didn’t work at all. Good luck with your project – we would love to see it when it’s done.

  11. tip…made some clay using “Platinum Patch” spackle. Says it weatherproof. CLay turned out really nice. We’ll see how it turns out ! Wish me luck. trying to make outdoor piece.

        • I am making a giant Christmas ornament ball for my porch. It is paper mache clay over a yoga ball. If I use joint compound and epoxy over it to make it shiny, do you think it will be stiff enough to retain its shape when I remove the ball

          • Hi Kim. It should be stiff enough with the paper mache clay. You might want to do a small test piece first, though, just to make sure it does what you need it to do. And please let us see it when it’s done!

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