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How to Make a Life-Sized Baby Elephant with Paper Mache

Easy Pattern for a

Life-Sized Baby  Elephant

Make it Yourself with Paper Mache

$7.00

How to Make a Life-Sized Baby Elephant with Paper Mache

This project takes time and patience to complete, but don’t let the size scare you. It’s actually a fairly easy project. 

In fact, the video below has been seen by 1.4 million people, and thousands of people have used the pattern to successfully create their own lovable baby elephants. That means you can do it, too.

How to Use the Baby Elephant Pattern:

Transfer pattern to light plywood or heavy cardboard
Transfer pattern to light plywood or heavy cardboard
Fill out elephant forms with crumpled paper and masking tape
Fill out elephant forms with crumpled paper and masking tape
Add paper mache to the baby elephant sculpture
Add paper mache to the baby elephant sculpture
Add paper towel wrinkles and acrylic paint
Add paper towel wrinkles and acrylic paint

My downloadable PDF Patterns come with full instructions.

There’s no waiting for your pattern to arrive, and no shipping costs, so you can start on your project right away.

Click here if you’d like to know more about how the patterns are delivered. (If you’ll be saving your pattern to and iPhone or iPad, they do tend to hide your files. You can scroll down this page to see how to find them.)

And remember – if you have any problems downloading your files or putting your pattern together, just let me know. I’m always happy to help.  😀

Life-sized paper mache baby elephant
Life-sized paper mache baby elephant

This baby elephant pattern has been used successfully by hundreds of people from around the world.

In fact, it continues to be one of the most popular projects on this site. Scroll down below the video to see just a few of the photos that have been sent in by people who used this pattern.

The finished size of the paper mache sculpture shown above is 29″ high and 36″ long from trunk to tail. If you don’t have room for a sculpture that size, or if you want one that’s even bigger, the size is easy to change. (Some people have even used the pattern to create life-sized adult elephants!) You can see some of the elephants that have been made with this pattern by scrolling down below.

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How to Make a Life-Sized Baby Elephant with Paper Mache
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Watch the video below to see how to make your elephant sculpture.

Note: I copied the pattern onto sheet of plywood, as you’ll see in the video, but if I made this elephant today I’d use a piece of cardboard from a large appliance carton instead. Cardboard is much lighter than wood.

To make this elephant sculpture you’ll need:

  • A large sheet of heavy cardboard or a scrap of thin plywood that’s at least 48″ square.
  • Lots of recycled newspaper to fill the inside
  • Masking tape.
  • Aluminum mesh wire for the ears
  • Flour and water paste
  • More newspaper for the paper mache
  • Paper towels for the final skin
  • Acrylic or latex paint
  • Acrylic varnish

Use either paper strips and paste or paper mache clay –

I didn’t invent my paper mache clay recipe until after I made this elephant. Since the paper mache clay goes on faster than paper strips and paste, I’d  use the paper mache clay if I made another life-sized elephant. However, I’d still use the final layer of paper towels to get that realistic elephant-skin look. You can find the recipe for my now-famous paper mache clay by clicking the Recipes link in the menu at the top of this site.

Note: Keep your baby elephant in the house –

When I made my own elephant sculpture I thought a few coats of marine varnish would protect her from the elements. That’s why I took some photos of her out in the garden. I changed my mind after I did some experiments.

Marine (spar) varnish does not prevent rain and sun from destroying a paper mache sculpture, so be sure to keep your baby elephant inside.

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How to Make a Life-Sized Baby Elephant with Paper Mache
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Just a few of the 100’s of baby elephants made with this pattern …

Jumbo the baby elephant
Jumbo the baby elephant
Ella's elephant
Ella's elephant
Elephant made for Lacey High School homecoming dance.
Elephant made for Lacey High School homecoming dance.
Jim's Elephant
Jim's Elephant
Soul's Elephant
Soul's Elephant
Teresa's elephant for her son
Teresa's Elephant, a Present for Her Son
Judy Vretenar made this adorable elephant for her daughter's baby shower.
Judy Vretenar made this elephant for her daughter's baby shower.
Ash's Elephant
Ash's Elephant
Kelly's Elephant
Kelly's Elephant
Kim's Elephant
Kim's Elephant
Pearl's Elephant
Pearl's Elephant
Linda's Elephant
Linda's Elephant

See my patterns for paper mache sculptures and masks:

Do you have a question or need help with your pattern?

If you have a question about putting your pattern together or painting it, leave a comment below or on the Daily Sculptors page. I read all comments and answer them as soon as I can, usually within a few hours. Some of my readers might ideas for you, too — we have a very supportive community on this site.

How to Make a Life-Sized Baby Elephant with Paper Mache

309 thoughts on “How to Make a Life-Sized Baby Elephant with Paper Mache”

  1. How do I get started on my own baby elephant? does it hav to be build inside house ? I’m looking for outside one thanks for all the pictures

    Reply
    • Hi Carmen. I made my baby elephant out of crumpled paper on the inside, and paper strips and paste on the outside. Neither of these products can be left outside. We have a new recipe for paper cement clay that appears to be waterproof, for the skin – but you still wouldn’t want to make the inside of your elephant with paper. You could use crumpled foil, like I did for the toad I made. But, of course, your elephant would be a lot bigger. You can use a cardboard pattern inside your elephant instead of the plywood that I used to make mine – that would make it a lot lighter.

      Reply
  2. We made a scaled up version of the elephant for a ballet production, the templates REALLY helped and saved us a lot of time. We wouldn’t even have tried it without the video and printable. She ended up being 7ft tall and needing her own moving truck to get to the theater!

    Reply
  3. Hi new to your site. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Is there nothing to put on baby elephant so it can stay outdoors?Thank you
    Arli Jo

    Reply
    • I don’t recommend using a paper sculpture outside. However, some people claim that Flex Seal will work to protect a paper mache sculpture. One of my other readers tried it, and their sculpture was almost ruined before she brought it back inside and dried it off.

      Most varnish or sealer products will break down over time, especially if the sun hits them, or there’s freezing and thawing. Fiberglass would probably create a permanent waterproof skin, but it’s expensive. I did make a garden gnome sculpture that has been outside for two years now, in Minnesota, but there’s no paper inside except for the cardboard pattern. The elephant could be made the same way. You wouldn’t call it a “paper mache” elephant, but it should last for a very long time. You can see that two-part video series starting with the first one, here.

      Reply

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