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

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

  1. Hi Jonni!

    Your mask making book has been incredibly helpful. Thank you. I’m wondering if you have ideas in terms of troubleshooting. I was making a series of masks and when I pulled off the Mold, some of the Scott towels came loose. It’s still dry. Do you have an ideas about how to make a clean inside once this has happened? These will be worn in an active theatre piece.

    Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Hi Arielle. It sounds like it could be caused by one of two things – either the towels were not completely saturated with the paste, or the paper mache wasn’t entirely dry when they were removed from the mold. And there are two options for making the inside smooth – use one layer of soft paper, like newspaper, held on with white glue instead of the paste. The glue isn’t watery so it shouldn’t make the dried paper mache wet again. Or you could glue felt on the inside of your masks, which would make them look really nice and feel really comfortable at the same time.
      Good luck with it!

      Reply
      • Hi Jonni!

        Thank you so much for your thorough response and your advice. I really appreciate it. Do you think the felt would be hot in performance or sweat-wicking?
        Also… I used oil-based clay (Monster Clay) and I’m having trouble getting it out of some areas. Next time, do you suggest that I put petroleum jelly and/or plastic wrap over the Mold before the paste? Or, should it be fine to pull out and reuse once it’s truly fully dried?
        Thank you again for your generosity.

        Reply
        • You might still have some residue left on your Monster Clay without using a release or plastic. If there aren’t a lot of fine details, a sheet of lightweight plastic works well. With the felt you will want to make sure that air can still circulate, and that it can get out of the mask. We produce a lot of ‘steam’ while we’re just walking around, and you don’t want moisture to be trapped inside the mask.

          Reply
  2. Hi jonni,
    Just like to say thank you for your great ideas and sculptures, I have tried a few experiments, at first they didn’t work for me, my projects kept falling apart and I had to repair them, but I have learnt a lot from your site, and also I have found that if I use ordinary house hold paint on my sculptures ,ie gloss paint and outdoor varnish, to finish them off, it does waterproof them, I made a giant penguin with paper cache clay, and he’s been outside for a couple of months now and he’s still ok,
    Thank you and I will try more sculptures

    Reply
  3. Hello Jonni,
    I found you through YouTube and I am in need of big paper mache spheres (because I want to be a melted snowman for Halloweeen). Unfortunately, nobody really sells huge spheres. I was going to use cardboard or traditional paper mache, but I found you! So, because I don’t really know anyone I can get a big spherical mold, can I sculpt the paper mache as if it was a normal clay without a mold? Would there be any changes I need to make to the paper mache clay recipe to sculpt it without a mold? Or do you think I’d need a mold? Thank you so much!!

    Reply
    • Hi Peyton. The paper mache clay is used in a thin layer over an armature, so you really can’t sculpt with it all by itself. The easiest way to create a form would be to stuff a large plastic garbage bag with something that would be easy to pour out. For small pumpkins we use rice, but you wouldn’t want to do that for a really big ball. Foam peanuts would be easy to work with because they’re light, but they’re expensive. Pillows, maybe? Anything that goes inside the bag should be protected from the paper mache getting on it, so use your imagination. I’m lazy, so after shaping the ball as well as I could with masking tape I’d cover it with a couple of layers of plaster cloth bandages. They harden quickly, and a very thin layer of the paper mache clay, or just one layer of paper strips and paste, would be all you need to create a surface for painting.

      If you want to try a cardboard form instead, look at the shapes between the longitude lines on a globe (the ones that go from pole to pole). Cut segments of cardboard in that shape, tape them together, and you’ll have your sphere. With some fancy math you’d be able to make them right size for your snowballs, but I’m math phobic so I have no idea how to do that. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Jonni I keep reading and rereading all of your instructions they are so helpful. My question is can the paper mache clay be layered on top of a dried layer. I need something that might be 3/4 of an inch to look like snow. Do yo think it might dry in the bottom of a Christmas ornament ball. Which recipe would work the best. Thank you so much. Gail

    Reply
    • Hi Gail. I think you would have real problems getting the paper mache clay to dry inside a glass ball. There wouldn’t be enough air circulation for the material to dry all the way through. You can layer new paper mache clay over dry paper mache clay, but the lower levels will naturally absorb some of the water. With little air movement, that water could get trapped inside. Plaster of Paris might work – it hardens quickly and then takes a day or two to dry – but it also heats up during the hardening process, and that might help it dry faster. One of the readers on the Daily Sculptors page might have better advice for you, so you might want to ask your question on that page, too. Good luck with it!

      Reply
  5. Hi Jonni,

    I am doing a project for school, we have to make an vehicle that is as efficient as possible. (like the cars for the “Shell eco marathon)

    I am in charge of making the outer shell and my concerns are that pm would be too heavy or too weak.

    How strong is dried pm compared to its weight?

    With kind regards,
    Jesse

    Reply
    • Hi Jesse. You just asked me an engineering question, and I have no way to do the testing required to give you a reasonable answer. I think it’s fair to say that if you use paper sandwiched together with a good wood glue, the result will be as strong as an equal thickness of plywood – but I can’t test it so I don’t know if that’s true or not. I also don’t know how much your paper mache will weigh because there are so many different ways to make paper mache. Do some experiments – when you find the answers, be sure to let us know. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Thank you very much for your quick reply, Jonni. Of course you are right that experimenting is the correct way to proceed, and it’s good to know about other glue options. Best wishes.

    Reply
  7. Hi Jonni – Thank you for all your teaching and information! I am finishing a paper mache dress form, cast in halves inside plaster forms made from my body last year. The paper mache halves are all done and I need to join them together to make the final replica of my body. For various reasons, the two halves do not fit exactly together well, and I am planning to tie them together, within their plaster halves, and from inside push a mixture of glue and paper mache tightly in the crevices before letting the whole thing dry. The paper mache dress form halves were made from a mixture of cellulose insulation and liquid wallpaper adhesive (walls range from 1/2″ – 1″ thick, and were finished last year, so halves are completely dry) and I have CelluClay instant paper mache to use in the crevices. The crevices range from probably 1/4″ to maybe 3/4″ wide, and are variable in shape. If I use a mixture of the CelluClay and the wallpaper adhesive to fill in the crevices, will that be sufficient to “glue” the halves together? Thank you very much for any advice.

    Reply
    • Hi Polly. I’m afraid I’m the wrong person to ask about a project like this. I never use CelluClay or wallpaper adhesive, so I would just be making things up if I answer you. You’ll want to run a few experiments first, to make sure it will work. If the wallpaper adhesive doesn’t work, you can experiment with a PVA glue (Elmer’s Glue-All in the US) or wood glue, instead. Good luck with it!

      Reply
  8. Hey Jonni,

    I’m looking for a very specific paper mâché clay recipe. If you have one that meets the following criteria, could you point me in the right direction? Due to the pandemic and toilet paper shortage I’m looking for something that uses newspaper instead, preferably without flour (worried about mold) that can still be flattened smoothly, AND can be air-dried. I really liked the recipe using marble powder, but I know you tested that one in the oven and wasn’t sure how it would do air drying. Please let me know! Thank you! <3

    Reply
  9. Hello
    — I am Emad Hamdy from Egypt .
    — Thank you so much for your creativity .
    — I wish you more success and success .
    — I would like to show you some of my own works after I was able to learn some of your technique, but the implementation is in my own style, and I hope you like it.

    Reply

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