pattern for a paper mache giraffe

Pattern for a Paper Mache Giraffe Sculpture


You’ll enjoy creating your very own giraffe sculpture and painting all those spots.

But the fun doesn’t stop there – watch how amazed people are when you tell them you made it yourself!

This is a downloadable PDF Pattern with full illustrated instructions: You’ll be able to download your pattern right after you order. You’ll also receive an email with the download link, and a separate receipt. The emails may take a few minutes to arrive. If you don’t see them, be sure to check your spam or promotions folder.

Finished size: About 24 inches (61 cm) high, 14 inches (23 cm) wide and 14 inches (35 cm) deep.

To make your giraffe, print the pattern and attach it to cardboard, cut out the pieces, and tape them together. Add a few bits of crumpled foil for the nostrils, eyelids and mane. And put some plaster in the neck to keep your giraffe from falling over. (The pattern shows you how.)

Then turn the cardboard armature into a permanent sculpture by adding paper mache and paper mache clay. You can find the recipea in the Art Library on this site.

The first few pieces you’ll tape are a little tricky, so be sure to watch the video below. After that, the pieces are quite large and go together quickly.

Watch the video below to see how to make your giraffe sculpture with this pattern:

Play Video

To make this paper mache giraffe sculpture you will need:

  • Printer
  • Copy paper or full-sheet labels
  • Glue stick if using copy paper for pattern
  • Cardboard from 3 standard-sized cereal boxes
  • Pieces of corrugated cardboard from one or more shipping boxes
  • Knife and sharp scissors for cutting cardboard
  • Tape, both clear plastic tape and masking tape
  • 2” Styrofoam ball, cut in half
  • Aluminum foil
  • Glue gun
  • Plaster of Paris and two plastic bags, to weight the neck
  • Paper strips and paste for ears and eyes, and paper mache clay* for everything else
  • Acrylic gesso
  • Acrylic paint and matte varnish

*You can find recipes for paper mache paste and paper mache clay in the Art Library tab at the top of this site.

Helpful links:


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

I love questions!

There are two ways to contact me:

The fastest way to get an answer is to leave a comment on this page. I read all comments and answer them as soon as I can, usually within a few hours. Some of my readers might also chime in to help – we have a very supportive community here on this site.

If you prefer to reach me privately, you can send me an email.  I’ll try to respond as quickly as I can, but if you don’t hear back from me within 24 hours, assume the cyberspace gremlins ate your email and try again.

15 thoughts on “Make a Giraffe Sculpture with Paper Mache Clay”

    • Hi Karen. I don’t know – the pattern was based on very thin cardboard, so it could be a real challenge to make it out of thicker material and get all the pieces to fit correctly. What kind of foam are you thinking about using?

    • That would be an exciting project. It would probably be easiest to do with one of the inner patterns, like I used for my book Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay. I have a post series about a snowy owl (completely different, I know) that shows you how the inner patterns work and how to make one using photos. It would give you a good start if you’d like to make your own swan. If you do make one, please come back and show it off – we’d love to see how it comes out!

    • I don’t know when I’ll have time to make a whole giraffe, and my house is definitely not big enough for one. A baby might fit…

      However, we have several guest posts about giraffes. You should check out Cris Kelly’s giraffe (she has a very tall ceiling!) and Rex Winn’s much smaller giraffes. They both made their own patterns using the instructions in my book Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay. There is no giraffe in the book, but the method for creating a pattern works for any animal. They’re not the same kind of pattern as the one I made for the giraffe on this page, which creates all the shapes for you – but they’ll get you started.

  1. I just love giraffes, and your creation is adorable.

    I watched a video by a sculptor, Forest Roger’s, and she uses ph negative mulberry paper to make feathers and wispy animal hair.

    Thank you for sharing your talents with all of us.

Leave a Comment

Heads up! You are attempting to upload an invalid image. If saved, this image will not display with your comment.

Heads up! You are attempting to upload a file that's too large. Please try a smaller file smaller than 250KB.

Note that images greater than 250KB will not be uploaded.