Make a Paper Mache Dog – A Basset Hound

This is a reader-supported site. When you buy through links on this site, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for your support! 🙂

Let’s Make a Basset Hound

In this extended tutorial, you can see how I made a Basset Hound with Paper Mache Clay. Be sure to watch all the videos before you start making your own sculpture – I made some mistakes along the way, and had to make some changes to the armature pattern to correct them.

If you’d like to make your own Basset Hound, you can download the free pattern, and either print it on full-sheet labels or use copy paper and glue it to your cardboard with a glue stick. Note: the pattern won’t look like the one in the first videos, because it has been altered to make it easier to use. The button will take you to the new, revised pattern. 🙂

If you want to make a different kind of dog you can make your own pattern. See this post to learn how.

Tips from Part 6: The Stanley Surform Shaver tool can be found on Amazon.com or at your local hardware store, and you can find Angi’s comment about the brush-on paper mache clay in the comment section below the videos and photos.

Tip from Part 7: The video about smoothing the dry paper mache clay with drywall joint compound.

Part 1 –  Putting the Pattern Together

Part 2 – Starting to Pad the Body:

Play Video

Part 3 – Still Working on the Armature:

Play Video

Part 4 – Adding the Feet:

Play Video

Part 5 – Adding the Face and Ears

Play Video

Part 6 – Adding the Paper Mache Clay

Play Video

Part 7 – Painting the Basset Hound

Play Video

For the pattern you’ll need:

  • A printer
  • Full sheet labels, or copy paper and a glue stick
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Aluminum foil
  • Hot glue gun

To pad the body you’ll need:

  • Crumpled paper and masking tape, or;
  • Aluminum foil and hot glue

To add the paper mache clay you’ll need:

The full instructions are in each video, but here are a few of the important steps:

Step 1, Print the Pattern and Cut it Out

Print the Basset Hound pattern

After printing the pattern, cut along the dotted lines so the two ends of the body can be lined up on the cardboard.

Stick the dog pattern pieces to the cardboard.

Stick the pattern pieces onto the cardboard. Use a glue stick if your pattern is printed on copy paper. Use a piece of cardboard for the body that’s wide enough so the pattern doesn’t go across a fold line.

I’m not going to use a wire to make the tail instead of cardboard, but I’ll use the tail pattern to show me how long the tail should be. And I’ll make the ears longer than the pattern (just because I feel like it) and I’ll probably use lighter card stock. We’ll decide that later.

Cut out the pattern pieces with a sharp knife

Cut out all the pattern pieces with a sharp knife.

Step 2: Position the Legs

Positioninig the legs for the Basset Hound

Look at photos of Basset Hounds, and determine where the legs should go. You may need your dog’s legs to be in a different position than mine, depending on what posture you choose. My dog will be sitting down like a typical Basset Hound.

Drawing Animals BookTo help with the positioning of the legs I looked at the drawings of a long-legged hound in the book Drawing Animals by Norman Adams and Joe Singer (one of my favorite books).

Once you know where the legs should go, draw around the outside edges.

Step 3: Cut the Pattern So it Can Twist (Optional)

Cut the dog pattern so it can twist

Cut the cardboard pattern from the tummy to the spine if you want your Basset hound’s body to bend or twist. You don’t need to do this if he’s going to be standing up straight. I didn’t cut the neck, but I probably will do that later.

Step 4: Add Aluminum Foil Spacers for the Legs

Add foil spacers for the legs.

Crumple fairly large balls of foil to use as spacers for the legs. Use hot glue to stick the foil onto the pattern, inside the outlines of the legs that you drew in a previous step.

Step 5: Glue the Legs to the Foil Spacers

Glue the legs onto your Basset Hound pattern

Add the legs to your pattern. You’ll want to move the armature around to see exactly where the legs should go so it looks natural.

Step 6: Add Foil or Wire to Stiffen the Spine (Optional) and Play with the Posture

Using foil to stiffen the spine.

If your dog’s spine is twisted or curved, you’ll need to make the spine stronger with crumpled foil or wire. Use hot glue to attach foil to the armature. If you use wire for the spine, hold it on with masking tape.

Now that your pattern has been put together, you can move everything around so your dog sits, stands or runs. He will still need a lot of work, but in the next post we’ll fill out the armature so it will be very strong before the paper mache is added.

Step 7: Start Padding the Body

Padding the basset hound body with crumpled paper

Add tightly crumpled newspapers behind the leg patterns to make them much more solid. If you’re using crumpled foil, stick it on with hot glue.

Fill out body of paper mache basset hound

Fill in the body with the crumpled paper or foil. Make changes to the posture if you need to. Be sure to look at photos of dogs while you work.

Start by putting tightly crumpled paper or foil behind the leg pieces. Then fill out the tummy and chest, up to the level of the legs, as shown above. See Video 2 above.

Step 8: Fill Out More of the Shapes

Filling out the basset hound armature

Now we start to make our Basset Hound look more like a real dog. Add more crumpled foil or paper to the armature, while looking at photos of your favorite dog. This will take quite a bit of time, but spend as much time as you need to get it right.

If needed, go ahead and make changes as you go. I changed the back leg, and removed some of the paper on his tummy. I’m sure I’ll make many more changes before I’m done.

Add the tail to your dog sculpture

Add the tail – I cut a piece of aluminum armature wire that is long enough for the tail, plus an extra six to eight inches to leave plenty of room for taping the wire along the spine.

Add crumpled foil or paper to fill out the tail.

Basset hound feet sculpted in foil

Add the feet. Basset hounds have big feet, but remember that you’ll also be adding paper mache or paper mache clay.

I extended the toes after this photo was taken – see the Sixth Video in the series, above, to see how they look now.

There are a lot of photos of basset hound feet on Google. Make sure you look at some of those photos when you add foil or crumpled paper to sculpt the feet and toes on your dog.

Sculpting a Basset Hound Face for Paper Mache

Add the face and ears. It’s hard to see the shapes in a photo when all the light is bouncing off the foil, so make sure to use photos of real dogs for your model. My Basset hounds face will change quite a lot. It’s hard for me to sculpt when I’m trying to hold him in one place for the video camera. 🙂

Step 9 – Add the Paper Mache Clay

Add paper mache clay to the Basset Hound sculpture

I used just 1/3 cup of flour in the Paper Mache Clay to make a thin mixture that can be spread with a flexible spatula. Be sure to watch the video to see an even thinner mixture brushed on over the first dry layer of paper mache clay – and a big thanks to Angi for suggesting it.

Also check the video to see how the Sureform Shaver tool can be used to remove unwanted bumps from the dried paper mache clay.

55 thoughts on “Make a Paper Mache Dog – A Basset Hound”

  1. Hola Jonni desde el País Vasco. El patrón para descargar no se corresponde con el que usas en el vídeo o en la explicación. Lo puedes actualizar, por favor? Muchas gracias.

  2. Hi what you up to Star Wars how to do a
    A collie As it will be nearly a year since we put our foot down and I would like to do a sculptor of my dog I tried to have a look and I can’t see anywhere thank you

    • Hi Katalina. I’m not sure what you’re looking for. Are you trying to find a pattern or tutorial for a Collie dog? There isn’t anything specific to that breed on this site, but you can make one using the same techniques that I used for the basset hound – just change the shapes.

  3. Hi Jonni,
    I love how your Basset Hound sculpture turned out, it’s fantastic!
    I hope mine turns out half as good. I was wondering what size of the styrofoam balls you used for the eyes? If I am unable to find them is there an alternative way to do the eyes? Last time I went to Walmart almost all the craft items were sold out, so not sure if I will be able to get them anyway… lol
    Thanks so much for your inspiration, I took a clay sculpting class, but I can’t afford a kiln, so was looking for alternatives when I found your site. Now just have to find time between work and my critters to get more art done.

    • Hi Karen. I can’t remember what size the eye balls are, but they’re probably about 1 1/2 inches. For years I made eyes just by crumpling up a ball of aluminum foil. It works just fine, if you don’t happen to have the foam balls already in the house.

      I really hope you’ll come back and show off your basset hound when it’s done. I’d really love to see it. You can do that on the Daily Sculptors page.

  4. Just perfect! He is almost the same coloration as my Basset was which was fun to see. You really nailed the eyes and I loved your painting technique with the stencil brush. I think a satin varnish would be good. A Basset is a hound and has a lot of oils on their skin(hence the smelly dog!) so their coats are fairly shiny to begin with.
    What a nice gesture to donate him to a humane shelter for auction. They would be very fortunate to receive such a gift! He is so beautiful and you put so much work into him, it would be difficult to part with him.
    You are doing right by staying home, we all should be doing the same for public protection, not just our own. Stay sane through it all by sculpting…..not a bad plan. Besides that, I am getting closets cleaned out and spring cleaning done as well. I hate to do those chores but it is such a good opportunity to do it. Making lemonade as it were.
    Beautiful job on the Basset! Thanks for sharing .

    • Thanks, Eileen. I have a few closets that could use some organizing, but I think I’ll spend my time getting ready for this year’s garden. It’s more fun – and we may need some home-grown food this year. It’s still too cold to go outside and play, though. Is it warming up in your part of the country yet?

      • Yes, actually too warm for this time of year. It’s been in the 50s and 60s with a few one off very warm days in the 70s. The spring flowers have started to arrive and the trees and bushes are budding. Way too early. Gardening is much more fun than cleaning, I agree. We don’t have the sun for vegetables which deeply saddens me. We joke that on our tombstone it will say,”not enough sun” because we always lament to the fact!

  5. Jonni, Not gonna lie…I can’t imagine sculpting/painting a more perfect basset hound. Everything about this sculpt is the way I would want it to be. Thank you so much for creating him, so we can feast our eyes. And showing that he was not a product of magic. Okay, you do kinda work magic, but you gave mere mortals a fighting chance. Even though yours is the ultimate paper mache basset hound, I’m hoping that a lot of the incredibly talented UPMers will make and show us their versions. Toutes nos félicitations (or something like that).

  6. Jonni, the basset is looking just fabulous! You have nailed the feet, as a former basset owner, I can attest to that fact! Here’s a trick to make the toenails….use some of your smooth clay and just make the claws or toenails, let them dry and then just push them into the wet clay when you are done sculpting the toes. It works beautifully and they are totally strong. I actually made up a bunch one day and now when I need a claw, I just pull the sizes I want out of the bowl. So easy but requires a bit of foresight.
    Please don’t name your basset Winston (great basset name but tough dog to own) or I will never watch the rest of the videos!

    • Good advice, Eileen. In fact, that would have been a lot easier than cutting all those tiny toe patterns. I may snip off the claws and do it your way. And no, I won’t name him Winston. I might call him Barney, but I haven’t totally decided yet.

      Speaking of Basset Hounds, I’ve recently seen two different hounds here in MN that people are trying to sell rehome, and both of them say their dogs “want to live outside.” Since nobody in his right mind would want to live outside all winter in Minnesota, dogs included, I think they’re trying to say their dogs want to pee in the house. I know some small breeds that are churned out by puppy factories have that reputation, but is that a problem with Basset Hounds, too? (I’m asking you, as our Basset Hound expert. 🙂 )

      • Ours was fine with pee but had an issue with number 2. For some reason if he got upstairs, he would poop. We kept a gate up so he wouldn’t go upstairs. The vet said she thought he thought of the upstairs to be “outside” but didn’t know how to retrain him.
        My neighbor rescues bassets, I think he is on #7. He has had numerous bassets that have had potty issues. His current one will not go in his back yard, only on his walk/run in the park. The neighbor is infirmed so this presents a problem in making sure he gets to the park every single day. Because they are vertically challenged, he can’t get him in the car without lifting him as well. He had another who did both numbers in the house and had to be relegated to the basement
        As for me, I would not tolerate it but different strokes, you know? So, yes, from my limited experience, there are potty issues with some of them. I did know of a few that had no issues at all as well. So, were you thinking of adopting one?

        • Yikes! That’s good to know. I’m looking for an older, slower dog, and I kept reading that Basset hounds are couch potatoes. But I’ve totally given up on that idea. It sounds like they’re not really as easy-going as the breeders claim. And I’m not a great housekeeper, but I do draw the line…

          I tried a puppy a few years ago. I think I put a photo on the blog back then. After using up a very large box of Bandaids I found her a family with cows to bite instead of me. (She was a great dog, though. She wasn’t at all mean – she just knew that cattle dogs are supposed to bite when they get excited, and they bite really hard. She did, anyway…) Then I adopted an older terrier from the Humane Society. She had a brain tumor, so she only lasted a year. Now my Charlie needs another friend. But not a Basset hound. 🙂

          • It is risky to rescue dogs but very rewarding when it works out. Sorry about your rescue issues. We also lost a rescue dog from lymphoma but had a wonderful 3 years with him.
            I’m sad to talk about dogs today. Mine died this afternoon. She was 11 and had myesthenia gravis. It’s a neuromuscular disease and whenever she got sick from a bug or something, it would put her out of remission and deep into the illness. Because of her age, we had decided that if she got sick again, we wouldn’t put her through the intensive care again. The vet was going to come today as she was failing fast but the dog decided to go on her terms. Both my husband and I were actually with her when she died so there is some comfort in that. She was a good dog but a naughty thing. Dogs…can’t live with them, can’t live without them!

            • Eileen, I’m so sorry you lost your good friend today. It isn’t fair that they leave us so soon – but the time they do spend with us makes the sad times worth it.

          • Hi Jonni, You might want to check into a rescue that fosters dogs. That way you can either foster or you can go to the fosters home( if you’ve found a dog that interests you) and they’ll be able to tell you what the dog is like in a home environment. To the best of my knowledge, they are extremely honest about the good and bad behaviours because all they want to do is make sure that the dog ends up in their furever home. Don’t give up and good luck!!

            • I’m happy to say that the folks at our local Humane Society know their dogs really well, and they’re good about putting them with the right families. But I won’t get another dog until the world gets back to normal. The new dog will have to be very mellow, because I have a rescue dog who spent way too long in a cage at a puppy factory, and he’s afraid of everything. He needs a canine friend to make him feel safe.

  7. I haven’t even looked at the video , but I am sure will, but first wanted to thank you for the generous extension of your time and effort Jonni. Not too many things come free these days and yes that includes masking tape which is way too expensive, I agree. Thanks again.

    • It might work. I think it would depend on how large the sculpture is. If they’re too thin, we wouldn’t get the fat fold, but for thinner areas it could work. In fact, that would have worked really well for the wrinkles around the baby orangutan’s eyes.

  8. Jonni I have a friend who makes large foam costumes- the kind used for mascots. She glues foam onto a base (in her case mad or foam) then uses s scissor to trim the foam into the shapes that she wants. She gets amazing results. would that work for wrinkles?- Just a thought!

    • I’ve seen videos of people making costumes and creatures with foam, and then covering the foam with something hard, like epoxy resin or paper mache clay. That’s an interesting idea. I’ll have to watch some more of those videos. 🙂

      • In theater we layer flex-glue (some kind of PVA, I think) and pieces of cheesecloth layered over carved and cut foam for props. Foam doesn’t take the paint reliably, but glue and cheesecloth do. The cheesecloth/glue application is a lot lighter than plaster cloth and is flexible besides.

        Eeeiuuw! Who wants to mess with epoxy in your home?!

        LOVE your site. What a treasure trove of useful information.

        • Hi Kristin. I just now looked up flex-glue, but all I could find is some goo that is squirted out of a caulking gun. Is that what you used for your props? It looks thicker than PVA glue. I know our friend Dan Reeder uses torn sheets dipped in diluted Elmer’s Glue-All for the final layer in his paper mache creations. He calls it cloth mache. I haven’t tried it yet, but he makes some fabulous dragons and monsters with it.

          • Additional info on the flex-glue that is widely used in theater prop and set construction. It is Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (WB-0401) available from
            American Chemical in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, they only sell a 5 gallon pail for $145.00. I then found out from http://www.pictureframingmagazine.net that both the framing and conservation industries use it as well for book binding, book repair, frame construction etc. because it has fewer additives that could be chemically reactive. But from what I can tell, it is very similar to the bookbinding glue I use, which is PVA and is widely available. The most recent 16 oz container I bought is “PH neutral PVA, #M227 from Lineco (I think I bought it at Blick Art Supply and it sells for somewhere around $16-18.
            Both glues remain flexible when dry and are quite safe to use. It sounds like Dan Reeder’s cloth mache achieves pretty much the same thing with the Elmer’s glue. And yes, those dragons and monsters that Dan makes are pretty impressive!

  9. I have a wrinkle idea but unsure if it would be possible. Could you use cording or string to lay down on the surface then bring the paper strip over the top of the string and tuck it under to the other side of the string? Or could it work to take paper strips lay many of them them side by side then lay the cording in the center of the strips and fold over enclosing the string at the bottom of the loop? Not sure if my explanation is very clear but it makes sense in my brain lol I’m excited to see how the wrinkles end up!

    • That’s an interesting idea. There might be some very thick yarn that would work, but I’m worried about trapping any moisture too deep inside the structure. Do you think that could be a problem?

      • Um yes I think you are right. I didn’t consider that it would effect the drying. I’m excited to see what you come up with!

  10. Hi Jonni, I have been making a few projects using your paper mache clay. That stuff is a game changer, as is the way you do your armatures. You have changed my crafting life!!(I usually use polymer clay and make miniatures)
    If you want ideas on how to do wrinkles, check out Ace of Clay‘s videos. He does it by adding rolls of clay, which can be replaced with toilet paper twisted into a roll/snake of paper mache, and then blended and smoothed out with your paper mache recipe , that has been thinned down with glue and water, and applied with a brush..
    Cheers, Angi

    • Angi, have you tried applying the paper mache clay with a brush? That sounds like a great idea, but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone try it. This idea might be combined with Eileen’s suggestion of using foil for the folds, too. I’ll try to find Ace of Clay’s videos and take a look at how he does it. Thanks for the tip!

      • I absolutely use a brush to apply it. Seriously Love this PaperMacheclay!!! I have the PMclay in different containers, at different thicknesses. So I can use the thicker PMclay to coat my object and then brush over with the runnier clay to smooth it out. When I made the raised gold strips on the spine of my old styled ‘book money boxes’ I rolled The toilet paper into a snake, laid it where I wanted it, applied watered down glue to it, with a brush, then laid a piece of toilet paper over it and applied more glue with a brush (you have to do it gently, but it can be manipulated to how you want it also) when it’s dry, I applied the PMclay with a brush. Hope that all made sense lol?

        He makes ‘folds/wrinkles in the robe in his “Remaking an OLD figure I created 10 years ago – woodland wizard”video (Ace of Clay)?
        I think/hope this is the link, altho I’m not really tech savvy lol https://youtu.be/D5oA7sSt5fg

        • Wow – that does make sense, Angi, and I do think that link goes to the right place. I seem to have four different projects going at the moment (and I don’t do multitasking well) but I’m going to try this as soon as I get a chance. And if you just happen to have time to write up a guest post to show us how it’s done, that would be great. Or a video, perhaps? (Not asking much, am I? 🙂 )

    • Paverpol would work but it is a bit pricey to be using under the clay. A cheaper alternative would be to use plaster cloth but that might collapse with the wet clay on top. I know Jonni will come up with a solution….she always does!

  11. As one who actually owned a Basset at one time, the dog from hell by the way, I can tell you that what you have going is a perfect stance, they love that lazy sit! As for the tail, it would not go straight out as a rule, it would be tucked under or along the side of the outer foot. That could be done with a rope of tin foil. For the wrinkles, I think you are going to have to use tin foil on the armature rather than rely on final finishing to do the job. It’s not like the wrinkles on the orangutan that are smaller. They are fatter folds rather than wrinkles. Thinner ropes of tin foil would accomplish that. Nice video, I look forward to seeing the next installment!

    • I think you may be right. It would be nice if one could get a natural drape without trying too hard, but sculpting the folds in will be fun, too.

      But about that dog of yours … I thought Basset hounds were supposed to be mellow couch potatoes? Maybe the people who said that in online articles were trying to sell some puppies. (The puppies are so cute!)

      • Yes, the puppies are adorable. It was a dog hubby always wanted so I acquiesced and did zero research about them. Ours never was a lazy couch potato. He was smart as all get out but oh so stubborn! When I took him to puppy training school, they couldn’t believe how far I got with the dog and wanted me to go on to show him and the like. When he got on a sniff…off he went and no amount of calling would stop him. He thought he was alpha dog to everyone but me. I was his trainer so he did listen to me but he became dangerous around the kids who were age 8-14. There was a lot of energy in the house at that time as you can imagine. This did not wear well with him and he started snapping at the kids, etc. My vet labeled him as a dominant aggressive dog and urged us to find a new home for him, sans kids. We did and hopefully he lived out his days with a gentleman farmer with lots of other dogs, no kids. He also stunk to high heavens and I would have to bathe him every week so the house did not stink of hound! The ears also needed a lot of care. Charming to look at but tough to care for! And those were his good points!

        • I’m glad your hound found a new home. I love dogs, but nippers and biters don’t belong around kids. Fortunately, my paper mache hound won’t have any of your dog’s bad qualities. 🙂

  12. Hi,

    I was just thinking about those wrinkles and had an idea. How about you put just thicker than normal paper Mache. While it’s still wet place a cloth over it and squash and wrinkle it up or the folds of “fat” and then lift the cloth up. You could work the cloth into the shapes you want. (Maybe a wet cloth or baby oiled soft vinyl/swade or something like that) anyways whatever you do I’m sure it will be great.

    • Thanks, Tanya – that’s an interesting idea. The challenge would be getting the paper mache on the inside of the folds to dry. It’s going to be fun to play with, to find a way to make it work.

  13. Terrific way to position the body. I recently worked on a Jaguar in a resting position with his head up and twisted, bent … to get the body to shape properly. Never though of cutting slits and reinforcing the spine with wire or foil. Will definitely try the technique. Thank you so much. Love the dog!!

  14. Looks impressive already like all your ideas Jonni! I still have the cat partially padded if you can believe it- ! Must finish her. Buut I am not inspired by this kind of padding although I will say it seems to be a good way of going about it. I suppose the cat is too much of a challenge for me. Did you get many attempts at your cat?

    • It’s been a long time since I made that cat, so I can’t remember how many times I changed my mind and did something over. I do that a lot, though. In fact, I know I’d do a few things over if I made another one. I think her fur was too thick, but my dad likes her. She’s sitting on a shelf above my dad’s computer desk.


Leave a Comment