How to Make a Paper Mache Cat – Final Lesson

grey cat mask pattern

Note: If you like cats, you might be interested in my new cat mask pattern. It can be use as a mask or a wall sculpture – the pattern creates all the shapes for you so it’s a fast, fun project. You can see it here.


Well, it took a bit longer than usual, but my paper mache cat is done. I made a video showing how I painted my cat, (shown below). If your paper mache cat is a portrait of a different feline, or if you added less texture,  you’ll want to use different colors and probably smaller brushes.

I used very large brushes and a very loose painting style because of the rough texture I added to my cat. If I did this cat again, I probably wouldn’t add so much paper mache clay, but I do like the way she turned out.

She’s now sitting on a table with a few other cats, and I’m beginning to wonder if that bobcat’s intentions are honorable…

And here are a few more photos – a close-up of the finished cat, the photo I looked at when painting her eyes, and the original photo that I used to make the pattern. If you missed the previous lessons, you can find Lesson #1 of the How to Make a Paper Mache Cat here.

All of the lessons to make a paper mache cat:

57 thoughts on “How to Make a Paper Mache Cat – Final Lesson”

  1. How long does a paper mâché clay sculpture last? Will it crumble in a few years? (For the sake of this question – let’s say it is completely dried and done perfectly.)

    Thanks! Audrey

    Reply
    • Hi Audrey. You can find paper mache items on eBay and in fancy antique stores that are a hundred years old or more. If they’re well cared for, they can last as long as a similar item made from wood.

      Reply
    • I saw a doll on “Antique Roadshow” that was made in 1900, worth $1,500.00, and in excellent shape. It looked like porcelain.

      Reply
  2. Gidday Jonni! I just wanted to let you know that I luv your website and I have made up some of your clay. Last time I visited your site there were some questions asked by a few Aussies about the joint finish to use in Australia…I want to comment that I used “Total Joint Finish” by Boral and I bought it at a Mitre 10 shop. I’m working/mucking round with gourds at the moment and the air dry clay is much better than putting my gourds in an oven to dry the clay. I vitamised the loo paper then ran it through a sieve to remove the water, and this made sanding back easier. I’ll try and attach a photo of the cat I’m making using your clay and some gourds that I have grown

    Reply
  3. Hello!
    I have just begun following your tutorials and love them…just caught the cat one…your cat-the real one- is a real cutie! I have been planning on a cat sculpture for some time and so have been saving whiskers from my cats for years…so start saving your whiskers that your cat sheds naturally- once you start keeping a look-out for them you will be surprised at how many you can squirrel away in a baggy for future use…enlist your cat friends to save their’s for you too. Can’t wait to put your format into action for my own cat…Thanks!
    Carol

    Reply
  4. Sorry – one more thing… I need to put whiskers into my cat. I was thinking of putting wires sticking out from the face where I plan to put the whiskers and then take the wires out – leaving hopefully pretty deep holes, where I can then glue in my whiskers (I usually use very thick fishing line) after the cat is painted. I am wondering if I can count that I can pull out the wires, or will the PM cement them in there. Is there a release that would work? I am open to other ideas of course… any you might have. THANKS!

    Reply
    • Hi Shauna. Your illustration work sounds really interesting – I hope you’ll let us know when the book has been published so we can take a look at it.

      The paper mache clay might hold on to the wires, but if you take them out right away that shouldn’t be a problem. You might consider creating a hole with the wire in the wet clay, then pull out the wire and stick the fishing line in. You wouldn’t need to use any glue, I think. I stuck very fine wire into my “sort-of-Einstein” mask, for his hair, and there doesn’t seem to be any chance of the wire falling out. The clay should hold on to fishing line just as well – but now that I think about it, it might make it harder to paint.

      You could use a release on the wire, but the release might make it more difficult to glue in the fishing line.

      Reply
  5. What a phenomenal tutorial. I must admit that I usually do not have the patience to watch videos, and always prefer to skim through written direction quickly and then jump in and get my hands dirty. I usually go back to the directions after a first attempt so that I have some reference point – i.e., my own mistakes! – to work off of. However, this tutorial had me sneaking away from work to sit enthralled and watch you teach – all seven episodes.

    I work in felt mostly and am working on a childrens book in which all the illustrations are actually photos of dioramas I have built – much like photographing a doll house – or perhaps more apt, like single frames of stop motion animation. The main characters are mice, so the felted creatures are actual size. I have been trying to think of how I can make the larger animals – and was trolling the internet for information on paper mache and mixed media. the first animal I need to make is a life size calico barn cat, Ms. Pizzle, that will be looking down at the mice carrying bags of seed out of the barn. Hence, this tutorial was a godsend and exactly what I was looking for. For the first sculpture, I’ll be following your instructions directly. After that, I may mix it up with the some other materials including felt.

    Reply
  6. Hello again, Jonni!
    I forgot to give you my follow-up and final E.T. pictures! He turned out so well thanks to you, and so many people have asked me how I made him and I just rave about you and your website!!!
    The finger is red because I put LEDs in there (with wires running underneath the paper mache up his arm and down to his butt, where there’s an opening to hide a battery).
    [img]http://ultimatepapermache.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ETwrinkles.jpeg[/img]
    [img]http://ultimatepapermache.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ET.jpeg[/img]

    Reply
  7. HI,
    its sophi again and im have a sleepover and all the girls want to make a small paper mache clay animal how long would a very small bunny or kitten take?

    Reply
  8. Its going to be my mums birthday soon and not long ago out cat mossimo past away so im thinking of doing a paper mache cat for her. the photo is of mossiom

    Reply
  9. Dear Jonni
    Its my Uncle wedding, im wondering if a paper mache animal would be a good gift o and its in two weeks so what is the fastist one to make?
    i love you cat it looks so real!!!!

    Reply
    • Paper mache is not a “fast” medium, I’m afraid, especially if you’re doing one for the first time. However, if you pick a simple shape, like the vintage chicken, you should be able to get the shape created and covered with paper mache strips or the paper mache clay in the first day. Then allow it to dry really well (three or four days in a warm place), then paint and seal it really well – you could do that in two weeks. The cat is probably not the best project to start with, but it would be really nice when it’s done. I think I spent about two weeks on this cat myself.

      Reply
  10. Paper Mache Snow Leopard – pattern? Hi. My daughter and I went to get all the materials for her papermache snow leopard and we’ve bought the book (arrived via amazon on Friday)! We’ve started going through internet to find pictures of snowleopards to use for our pattern, but haven’t found anything just right. I was wondeirng if anyone in the community has already done a “large” cat like a snow leopard and had a pattern or particular picture they could point us to for us to use as well. We are moving forward, but I thought I would reach out first to see if anyone could lend some help! Project is due May 7th and we are excited.

    Michele

    Reply
    • Hi Michele. I know that Joanne Gennarella made a snow leopard (you can see it here) but she used a different technique to make it, so she might not have a pattern. And I made my own snow leopard several years ago, so I don’t have the pattern for it. Did you do a Google image search? Unfortunately, most of the cats on that page are not in silhouette, but you might be able to draw a side view by looking at the images. That’s what I did when I made my snow leopard. And there is one, on this page, that shows the body from the side.

      I would suggest that you get out some paper and a pencil, look at all the pictures of the snow leopards on Google, and start sketching. I know you’ll come up with something that works. And do let us see it when it’s done!

      Reply
  11. Jonni – Ive been stuck with my project. I am not sure how accurate the sculture needs to be. How much is the paper mache going to add to it? Ive been working under the assumption that it needs to look like what I want it to in the final stage. But know Im thinking thats wrong. So Im not sure if I should be worrying about the details and imperfections before starting the paper mache or that is what is addressed with the paper mache. Blah – that probably sounds stupid, but I am pretty green at this.

    Here is the product I am somewhat trying to model after, but I want a cow and they don’t have one.
    http://www.zgallerie.com/p-8949-moose-head-small-15.aspx

    Here is the cow I want my end project to look like. Is she not the cutest thing ever!!
    http://i25.tinypic.com/2qv84ys.jpg

    Here is the very early stage of my project.
    [img]http://ultimatepapermache.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/smallcowfirststage.jpg[/img]

    Here is where I am now.
    [img]http://ultimatepapermache.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/smallcowfrontview.jpg[/img]

    Let me know if you have any advice to help me get moving again.

    I am about to mix up the paper mache to get started covering it with a first layer.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Sara. If you’re using the paper mache clay to cover your cow, you don’t need to do any more work on the armature – it’s perfect just as it is. If you cover it with paper strips and paste, you might need more details in the armature. You don’t want to put a really thick coat of paper mache clay on your cow all at once because it takes too long to dry if you put on more than 1/4 inch, but you can add more after the first layer dries, to build up details as much as you want.

      Please remember to show her to us when she’s done. She’s going to be lovely.

      Reply
  12. Your cat turned out lovely Jonni, thanks so much for doing these videos. I am still doing mine, got so many things on the go at the moment I was rushing it and things were not going well, so have put it aside until I finish getting paintings done for an art show, new fences for the paddocks, work, etc, etc.. oh the joys of only have 24 hours in a day.
    I will definatly put pics up when I am done.
    Again I loved the videos.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Chris. I hope you tell us more about that art show. Is it at a local gallery? Will you send us a link when the show starts? We may have readers in your area who would like to go check it out.

      Reply
      • Its just a local art show run by the Rotary club as fund raiser each easter. Not even sure if they have a web site or any, Rotary Tara Festival Art Show , Yarram , Victoria , Australia, if they do have one.
        I will post a pic after its over, I don’t like to put pics before the show, I just feel its the wrong thing to do.

        Reply
  13. Spectacular! Not just the finished kitty but, the whole series of videos! I can’t wait to see photos of everyone else’s finished felines.

    Thank you so much for doing this class Jonni. I may not have been able to participate but, I was always anxious to see the next video. I learned so much with each of them.

    I hope your figure sculpture is coming along just as successfully.

    Reply
    • Hi Teresa. I’m glad you liked the videos, and I hope you do, eventually, make yourself a cat. My poor figure sculpture isn’t even started – the armature I bought is still in the box. So many things to do…

      Reply
  14. Thanks Jonni,
    For all the help, watching you work was a joy, I found myself looking forward to the next sequence of videos. I will watch them again I am sure, your presentation was clear and you made it truly easy to follow.
    Thanks again Kathy Hall.

    Reply
  15. Your cat came out looking wonderful. It makes me want to make one of my own of my long deceased cat. Question though: What was your cat’s critique on her sculpture?

    Reply
    • The cat ignores it, but every time I walk into my living room and see the sculpture out of the corner of my eye, I think my real cat is sitting on the table. It’s a little unnerving. I’m glad that doesn’t happen when I see the snow leopard… 😉

      Reply
      • See that’s what I need, something physical and three dimesional that will make me feel like I still have my beautiful cat companion. It’s too bad I didn’t get to join in on this class because by the time I checked on your blog you guys were already on lesson 4. I’ll be sure to subscribe to your blog so I don’t miss the next one. What will the next class be and when does it start? Have you considered that already?

        Reply
        • Jose, the videos will be up as long as this site is online, so you should feel free to go back to the beginning and follow the lessons. In fact, if you do, it will help encourage others who think they “missed” the class.

          Reply
          • Oh I definitely will. I have a few other projects i’m trying to finish. But I will definitely get to it eventually. 🙂

            Reply
            • In regards to trying to finish, I’m about ready to paint one of my sculptures, but I wanted to know if it’s absolutely necessary to add gesso as the base before I add on any of the paint?

  16. I don’t know anything about cats, but this one’s gorgeously turned out. I’m fascinated with the textural effects you gave her coat, and then brought out with the glazing/wipe off approach. O, and gorgeous studio, by the way!

    patch

    Reply
  17. I am still putting on the clay. I will upload a picture of my bobcat when I get it finished. It’s pretty big, so it is taking a while. thanks for all the good lessons! I really enjoyed them.

    Reply
  18. Very cute Jonni.

    I have a very hairy cat also. I’m thinking she would be easy. All I’d have to do is add eyes to a feather duster and she’d be done. Wouldn’t even need to add paper mache.

    Reply
    • Now if we could just train them to hang on to their hair a little better, instead of spreading it all over the house. At least my new cat won’t shed… 😉

      Reply
      • Well Jonni,
        I know my cats can be trained. When I’m in a whirlwind of action and I step too close to one of them, they head for the farthest corner as fast as they can…been stepped on too many times. They also understand English. At least a few words like…”NO!” or “Knock that crap off”. But, I’m not sure I can teach them to dust their hair off my clothes and everything else.

        Well, here’s my cat. mask that is. Now time to paint Rin Tin Tin.
        [img]http://ultimatepapermache.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/cougarmask001.JPG[/img]

        Reply
          • Yes, I believe I will post him on my Etsy site eventually. As far as watermarking the image, I’ve been thinking after all the discussions regarding Pinterest, etc., it might be a good habit to get into.

            Reply
        • Just wanted to say how beautiful your animals are. I am a folk artist and crafter as well (Master of many trades) and love to create new things. I stumbled onto your site looking for info on how to make this stuff look better. Gotta say I’m blown away. Never even thought they could look this great. My mother made two pigs when I was a child that where really good but, nothing like this! I hope you are selling some of these wonderful creations. If not you really should SHARE!!!! Thanks for letting me and everyone else into your creative world!

          Reply

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