About this Site

Making a new mask.

Jonni, making a new mask.

This site is dedicated to helping you develop your creative talents, with innovative paper mache recipes, over 450 projects, and lots of friendly support and encouragement. Welcome!

Paper Mache for Grownups!

On this site, you won’t find the paper mache you remember from Kindergarten. Paper mache can be used by professional artists (and amateurs, too) to make beautiful, original art. Some of our visitors are kids, but people of all ages can use paper mache to create long-lasting sculptures they can be proud of.

In fact, one of the most common things our readers hear when they show off their own sculptures is:

“I didn’t know you could make something like that with paper mache!”

Many people find us when they hear about Jonni’s Paper Mache Clay recipe, an easy-to-make concoction that takes most of the mess out of paper mache. It also lets you add details that you never thought possible with an inexpensive sculpting medium (you get most of the ingredients at the hardware store). For those who prefer the traditional paper strips and paste, you can find several different paste recipes here.

Are the Projects Easy?

There are over 400 projects shown on this site. Some of them are fairly easy, and some of them take a lot of time and patience to complete. All of them are fun. Follow the links on the art library page to find a project that fits your skill level and interests.

Once you learn Jonni’s methods – using cardboard patterns inside your sculpture to get the contours and proportions right before you start, and taking your time to build your armature before you add the paper mache – then you will have the skills you need to make any sculpture you can dream up. We know that’s true, because hundreds of people have shown off their original sculptures on this site, and their work is always inspiring. You’ll find their photos in the comment sections on the site, especially on the Daily Sculptors page, where we like to hang out and admire each other’s work.

Are All the Projects Made with Paper Mache?

No, not all of them. Most of our projects are made with either paper strips and paste, or Jonni’s Paper Mache Clay, but other projects combine plaster cloth with Jonni’s Air Dry Clay recipe, and we now have several projects that are made with epoxy clay. Jonni even played around with concrete for awhile, until she found out that epoxy clay is easier to use for making waterproof outdoor sculptures (Portland cement comes in 90 pound bags!).

Ready to Get Started?

Excellent! Visit our art library first. It’s organized to help you find the project you’d like best out of the 450+ tutorials on this site. And when you’ve finished your project, be sure to come back to the site and show it off. And be sure to visit the Daily Sculptors page, too, and say hi. And come back often. There’s a link to that page at the top of every post.

History of UltimatePaperMache.com:

This site first started when Jonni decided to start playing around with paper mache again. It had been a long time since she’d done any sculpting, so she started this website as a way to sharpen her skills by “learning out loud.” Jonni believes there’s no better way to learn a new skill than by teaching it. (Education studies have proven that she’s right, by the way).

To be honest, Jonni didn’t think many grownups would be interested in Paper Mache – so she’s wrong sometimes, too. 🙂 Now thousands of people drop by every day, with artists just like you visiting from all over the world.

Since beginning the site, Jonni has written four books about sculpting with inexpensive materials. Most of them are now listed at the top of Amazon’s paper mache category, and they’ve received many five star reviews.

Jonni’s best-selling books about the art of paper mache:

How to Make Masks
Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay
Make Tiny Paper Mache Dogs
Make Adorable Baby Animal Dolls

Meet Jonni, your host on this website:

Jonni Good, Paper Mache Sculptor

Jonni Good, Paper Mache Sculptor

As you look around the blog, you’ll notice that I’m obsessed with both animals and art. I’m constantly surrounded by my growing menagerie of paper mache animal sculptures, and plenty of real critters, too – my pets sometimes “help” me in my studio. You’ll sometimes hear my cat, (unfortunately) in some of the videos on this blog. (I’m pretty good at training dogs. Cats – not so much.)

I started drawing animals back in grade school, which is a very, very long time ago. One of the reasons I like sculpting and painting animals is that it gives me an opportunity to learn so much about the natural world. For that reason, I also wrote a coloring book about endangered animals, called the Endangered Animals Color and Learn Book. You can find it on Amazon.com, or download it for free as a PDF here.

I made my living selling pen and ink “portraits” of wild animals for many years while my daughter was in grade school, and then, as many artists do, I found myself working at “real” jobs for a while. That was OK, I suppose, but it really wasn’t what I wanted to be doing with my life.

Now that I’m self-employed (I make websites and write books for a living), I have plenty of time to pursue my first love – sculpting and drawing and painting animals.  I also answer questions from fellow paper mache sculptors from all over the world – you’ll find our conversations in the comments section below each post on this blog.

Enjoy the site, create your sculptures, and join the conversation. I’m glad you stopped by.




  • I am an elementary art teacher and am interested in making some paper mache clay for my students to use. The joint compound has some chemicals in it. Do you think it is safe to use with small children? If not, is there an alternative I can use for the classroom?

    • Hi Annie. A lot of school systems don’t allow joint compound to be used as an art medium. I think it’s because you need to wear a mask when you sand it. You don’t want the fine powder in your lungs. Be sure to check the rules at your school.

      I don’t know of any recipe that works exactly like paper mache clay, but for many years people have made sculptures out of paper pulp that is mixed with paste. It isn’t as smooth, and it’s hard to put on a thin layer. If the layer is too thick, it doesn’t dry fast enough and it will start to mold. Still, many artists have made beautiful sculptures with it.

      There are quite a few projects on this site that use the traditional paper strips and paste. I don’t know the age of your students, and younger kids do sometimes have trouble manipulating the wet paper or they use too much paste. However, it’s not expensive, and they can make very nice sculptures if they take their time. One of my favorite projects is the baby panda, which I made quite a long time ago. It’s playful and fun, and it doesn’t need a lot of sculpting skills to make it successfully. You might want to consider a project like that instead of one that uses the joint compound.

  • Hello! Great ideas and good job to you! I’m interested in learning to make a mold in the style of Venetian masks using a negative concave mold. I make masks using a slightly different method , but I am interested in exploring plaster molds. Can you help? Perhaps point me to where I can find this info?

    Splendid work you do. Just brilliant.


  • Thanks for all of your insight! You are brilliant! I’ve just watched my first video of yours and I love that you use a skeleton head as your base!

  • Hi there Jonni.
    how do you make the clay/ sculpture waterproof so that it can stand outside?
    Kind regards

    • I have never found a way to make a paper-based sculpture waterproof. Some people claim you can use marine varnish, but it failed miserably when I tried it. I’m now using either concrete of epoxy clay for all outside sculptures.

      If you’re making something for a temporary holiday display, the varnish should work well enough, as long as you dry it out completely after bringing it back inside. In my experience, and that of other readers, the paper mache clay will soften when it gets damp, but it will harden back up if you dry it out again. But this is just for temporary displays, not for permanent outdoor sculptures!

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