Create realistic animal decor and masks with my easy-to-use patterns.​

Now, you can sculpt beautiful, long-lasting animal sculptures and masks – even if you’ve never sculpted anything before. It’s easy with my templates, some cardboard, and a layer of paper mache. Get started today – you’ll soon have a delightful work of art that your family will treasure for years.

DIY Deer wall sculptureThis is not the paper mache you remember from grade school!

When done right, paper mache is strong and durable. In fact, it’s common to find paper mache sculptures that are over 100 years old in antique stores. Many galleries show original paper mache art that sells for thousands of dollars.

The big “secret” is to treat your paper mache sculptures and masks like fine art – because that’s what they are. After all, you pour your heart and soul into making them, so you want them to last.

“My very first attempt at anything to do with paper mache. It’s for a Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe display at the primary school where I work. Without the pattern I wouldn’t have known where to start, so thank you so much.”

Yasmine

Here’s how to make long-lasting paper mache sculptures and masks:

Pattern for giraffe sculpture
Print the pattern, stick to cardboard, and cut it out.
Template for Giraffe Sculpture
Tape the pieces together. You may also need foam balls for eyes, raffia for a mane, or foil for horns or antlers.
giraffe add paper mache
Add paper strips and paste, or paper mache clay. (I often use both).
Paint your paper mache masterpiece.
Bring your new sculpture to life with acrylic paint.

My Famous Paper Mache Clay Recipe…

Wolf mask template patternI created the recipe for paper mache clay over 10 years ago.

The free recipe and the easy methods I teach for creating animal sculptures have now been used by millions of people from all over the world. 

You just spread paper mache clay on your armature like a thin layer of buttercream frosting. No paper strips to tear, no messy paste, and no annoying edges of paper strips showing on the finished sculpture. After it dries it’s extremely hard and durable.

I’ve used this recipe countless times for many years, it’s the best modeling medium I’ve ever tried. Dries hard as a rock and allows for some great detail. I’ve had to break a piece off of a piece of metal and I literally had to whack it with a hammer as hard as I could a few times to get it loose. Thank you so much for inspiring my creativity!!

Dalet Bet

This Month’s Best-Selling Patterns:

Used Jonni’s pattern to make a mask for a Safari theme day at my workplace. No one believed I made it until I showed them the inside where my Shreddies boxes showed LOL. Our team used this mask and some cardboard monkey masks to set the scene for the theme day.

Karen Norris

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5 best recipes for paper mache

Latest Paper Mache Tutorials:

The Sculpting Books I’ve Written:

Masks and Sculptures Made by Our Readers:

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

  1. Hi Jonni,

    I’m planning on making a set of commedia masks to use in my acting class this fall. I’m wondering about the best way to go about making a “one-size fits all” mask form. My face is a bit small. Should I use someone else to get the mask form made? How should I go about judging size, etc.? I’ve bought your book on Amazon and I can’t wait for it to arrive. I’m also wondering if you ever made a video about making custom mask forms I could also watch. Thanks for your work, creativity, and the inspiration you share.

    Sarah

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah. The book has a suggestion for making a very simple mask for with duct tape, but it’s probably a lot easier to just buy one from Amazon.com. They’re generic faces, but if you get one that isn’t made for kids it should work for your project. Something like this might work. If you cover it with cling wrap or use petroleum jelly over it, you should be able to remove the first clay model you make, and then use it again to make all your masks.

      I should mention that I used Super Sculpey as modeling clay in the book, but I never do that now. It’s way too expensive. An inexpensive oil-based clay is Sargent Art Plastilina, and that’s what I’d use if I wrote that book today. I’d also use the ‘gesso’ mixture (glue and drywall joint compound) instead of the glue and plaster paste, just because it gives the same results but gives you more time to work. Have fun! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Im making the Pantalone mask. Tried the DAS today and that doesn’t work to good. What is the one on the video? it looks like it forms so easy and it looks like you can also shape it easily. The plastic under the mask slips a lot too. I used the vasaline and its always slipping by the nose.

    Reply
    • It sounds like you might be using too much Vaseline. One way to keep the plastic from slipping around over the base is to spritz the base with water. The plastic will stick well to something that’s wet. I used Super Sculpey as modeling clay in the video. You could also use plastilina or any oil-based modeling clay.

      Reply
  3. Hey Jonni,

    I’m starting to mold the mask with clay, but its not sticking. Do you have any suggestions? I’m using the super sculpey. Do I need to get it really wet, or should by a different brand?

    Reply
    • Hi Sean. Super Sculpey isn’t normally very sticky. What are you trying to attach it to? And do you intend to bake the Sculpey after the mask is done, or are you using it as modeling clay, like I did for the masks in my book?

      Reply
  4. Jonni, I’ve long been inspired by your website and your work, purchased some patterns, etc. I’ve been working on a large unicorn but needed it to be lightweight so I formed a hollow armature out of aluminum tubing, spring steel leg supports, and wire using a lot of cable ties. Padding with paper and foil, then paper tape and two coats of newspaper and two of white wrapping paper. It came out nice but the papier mache coating shrank which I didn’t expect, and left the ribs showing in odd places. So I’m in the process of filling the depressions with foil to make the bumps disappear. It’ll end up as rocking horse six feet long and six or seven feet high. Would you like to see some pictures?

    Reply
  5. Hello,
    I was watching how to make the patolone mashe mask. You skipped how to wrap the nose. Is there a technique to do it, or I just wrap it?

    Reply
  6. Hi, i love you’re work !!!
    I would like to make a carousel type horse …this would be my first paper mache project, do you have any patterns? That you can suggest or give me any ideas?
    I would really appreciate it, thank you

    Reply
  7. Am really excited with this website and i hope it Will be helpful to me because am to start a business goes exactly with what i see here (statues) even if i have to zero skill ! But am courageous noting that i start from zero to hero !

    Reply
  8. Hi, I love your works. I’d like to make a dragon paper mache sculpture but I don’t know where to begin with. What kind of paper mache is it best to use? What kind of support should I make?

    Reply
    • There are so many ways to sculpt with paper mache, and none of them are “best.” My favorite way to make a four-legged creature is to start with a pattern on the inside that sets the outline shapes, fill in the forms with crumpled paper or foil, and then cover the armature with either paper strips and paste or my paper mache clay recipe. Although it isn’t a dragon, all of the basic techniques were used to make the little blue hippo. You can find the first video in the series here.

      Have fun! And if you get stuck along the way, just leave a comment on the Daily Sculptors page, and I or one of my readers will be happy to help.

      Reply
  9. what can I do to reattach a broken piece of paper mache on a statue to the statue itself? The piece that broke off is a wing of an angel and the edges are very rough where it separated. I have read that a hot glue gun would work and would penetrate the small pocked areas of the two pieces. Do you think this would work?

    Reply
    • Hi Kim. I don’t know if that will work or not. I would probably use a two-part epoxy glue instead, but I haven’t tested the two products to see which one would work best. I have been told that you use the epoxy glue you want the slower-setting version because it’s stronger than the fast stuff. Did the wing break off at the joint where it attaches to the back? If so, you’ll need to support it carefully while the glue hardens or dries in order to get a good bond. And that spot has a lot of stress, because the weight of the wing will be trying to pull the wing tips downward.
      Someone else might have more experience with this than I do. You might want to put your question out on the Daily Sculptors page, too, because a lot of regular visitors check the comments there every day. Good luck with it! 🙂

      Reply
  10. Hey, Jonni I just recently started to get into paper mache from watching your videos. They have helped me a lot. I had just recently made a dragon egg out of paper mache and your recipe for paper mache clay. Although the base for the egg was paper mache/ paper mache clay i had used AIR DRY clay to make scales on the egg. I left it to dry overnight only to see that the clay had cracked in multiple places. I was wondering if you could help me figure out what I did wrong. I’m new to clay. Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Perla. Were you using my air dry clay recipe, or a commercial brand? My recipe has a few quirks, and needs to be applied in a certain way to prevent the individual pieces from pulling apart as they dry. This happens because it dries quickly after being applied to an armature, and the surface is no longer sticky. If a new piece of clay is put next to one that was on the armature for a few minutes, the new one needs to be melded into the old one or they will pull apart when dry. Does this sound like what happened on your dragon egg?

      Reply
      • I was using store brought clay , I was going to use your recipe but I had already had the clay because it was gifted to me. Yes it does sound like what happened.
        Although I did try to smooth the pieces together as best I can. Does this have anything to do with the climate or moister in the clay? I also tried to use water to smooth it out

        Reply
        • It might just be caused because the surface underneath doesn’t shrink when the air dry clay is drying. Any water-based clay shrinks when it dries, and if it’s put over a solid object it has to crack. Is that a possible cause? And can you just fill in the cracks with more of your clay?

          Reply
          • Oh ok thank you! Now i know more for future projects. I would also like to try your recipe as well and compare the two. I love your channel and am thinking about purchasing one of your books. Is there one you recommend getting first ? I’m not completely a beginner but I also have not been doing this for years, thank you

            Reply
  11. hi,

    i lhave see your work online and like ask you if you can help me…

    i like create an mammuth head for a costume at live size of this animal, so ask myself if you can study an paper pattern for this animal and contact me to say the cost.

    thank’s for attention,

    mauro

    Reply
    • Hi Mauro. I don’t create sculpture patterns on commission – each one takes at least a month, and I can’t imagine anyone wanting to pay me a whole month’s salary. But you can use the baby elephant wall sculpture pattern as a base for you mammoth head. Just print it larger (you might need to have a print shop to do it for you) and then add tusks and bumps or whatever you need to change it from a young African elephant to an adult mammoth. You can change the shapes by adding crumpled foil with hot glue, or crumpled paper with masking tape, before putting on the layer of paper mache.

      Have fun with it!

      Reply
  12. Hi Joan;
    I’m starting to make a paper mache’ marionette cast for Don Quixote. How much detail would you like to see?

    Reply
  13. Hi, Jonni! I am enjoying your videos. I am using your clay recipe to create rock walls. If I do not have enough clay on the work, can I add more after it dries? Thank you!

    Reply
      • The rock walls are going to be in a green house, so it will be somewhat humid. I was planning to cover the clay in concrete and then covering with a sealant. The concrete does not seem to be working as I had hoped. Do you think if I just paint the clay and seal it, it will be safe with the humidity?

        Reply
        • Hi Lila. That does change things – I assumed you were putting the walls inside a house. I’ve never tried putting the paper mache clay inside a greenhouse, but it would be a real challenge to keep it from growing mold. Maybe if the wall you’re applying it to is really well-sealed to keep the clay from soaking up water from the back, and you seal the front, too, it will work – but you’ll be experimenting. Have you already put the paper mache clay on the walls? If so, you might want to consider Flex Seal for the waterproof coat. Some people say it works well. If you haven’t already done the paper mache clay, you might want to consider doing it like this fellow does, with cement, instead: https://youtu.be/gUMeeo08xFo

          Reply
  14. Do you have a book of patterns for animal heads or do you sell them each separately? Your work is amazing, thank you!!

    Reply

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