How to Make a Paper Mache Cat, Lesson #5 – Toes, Ears and Tail

grey cat mask pattern

Note: If you like cats, you might be interested in my new cat mask pattern. Your kids can wear it as a mask, or you can display it as a wall sculpture, like I do. The pattern creates all the shapes for you so it’s a fast, fun project. You can see it here.

This is the very last step before adding paper mache to your cat sculpture.

I feel like this project is taking a lot longer than usual, but that’s mostly because I’m doing too many things at once. One of my big projects is trying to make it easier for people to find their way around this site – there are now almost 70 paper mache tutorials on my blog, and they tend to get lost. I’ve added a few menus on the side bar that I hope will help, and I’ll keep playing around with it. If you have any suggestions that would make the site easier to use, please let me know.

All of the lessons to make a paper mache cat:

16 thoughts on “How to Make a Paper Mache Cat, Lesson #5 – Toes, Ears and Tail”

  1. You are an absolute doll ….one of the best instructors I,ve heard …I could listen to you all day………a natural teacher

  2. I’m so glad I came across this website! The tutorials made it so much easier for me to do this project. I’m doing a paper mache cat for my boyfriend’s late Valentine’s present and have never done paper mache before (I’m a bit nervous about the finished results) and these videos are so helpful!

      • Here is the results. I did a few steps differently to make my first time a bit easier and I’m happy with the results. I have it to him and he loved it along with all of our friends!

  3. Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial. My 12 year old daughter is following along and creating a one- of-a- kind 4 H project all on her own. I am amazed at her results. Thanks again!

  4. I ran out of tape…….
    Can you believe I’ve gone through 3 whole rolls?
    You have lovely cats, Paper mache and especially real. (I’m jealous. I can’t own a real cat.)

  5. Your preliminary sculpt is almost as beautiful as your cat! Don’t ever say it’s sloppy because it is now truly nice. Anyway I know I am going to be absolutely stunned with the finished result. I’m way behind you cause I am making my cat Bella in a different way for now – first I have the wire mesh with tape then I put the plaster gauze strips over to make it stiff, then I will seal that and use paper mache over – it won’t be strips but it may be other than yours- I’m going to use “Jonniclay” for the cat we are all making together with you. Oh Jonni you got me moving – I took hold of your book and have cut out every pattern and they are all ready for padding and clay. So I know have all of the projects from your book ready to be further worked on, in stage one so to speak. It’ll be a while, but I’ll post them if they come out presentable.

    • I hope you’re taking a few pictures of your process – this sounds really interesting. And I can’t wait to see how all your other projects turn out.

  6. On the ears:
    Another method is instead of cutting tabs into pieces of cardboard to make the light cardboard bendable is using plain computer paper. Make sure the paper isn’t really thick like ones used for silk screening. But the paper shouldn’t be really flimsy or light either. I think most basic stacks of printable white computer paper that you can find in a Office Supply store works. Fold the paper or line up two pieces of paper together while cutting it. Cut the paper into the shape of the ears. The cut shaped paper will curve if you bend it a little or hold it in a certain way, but don’t fold it.
    Use two pieces of tape for each ear end corner to adjust where the ears go. That way you can keep messing with it since the tape can be easily moved until you are satisfied with how it looks.
    Once you have the ears where you want them, use tape to secure the paper pieces to the head form. Then use more tape to cover the paper on both sides completely. The paper must be covered with tape as any open area of exposable paper will warp from any paper-mache method that uses liquids (Glue, Water/Flour, Liquid Starch, Wallpaper glue, etc.) . You can even add on more layers of yellow tape to make the ears thicker.
    I’ve noticed that after many layers of wet paper-mache newspaper strips (Usually starting at four layers and more), the ears get really thick (knock on wood) and stable after drying. After this point you can apply paper clay to them.
    I like this method since cardboard can get loose at the taped joints after the fact if you’re not careful, this usually happens with masks more than solid forms.
    Also it is very hard to pull out cardboard pieces without tearing something apart to make hollow forms, since tape covered paper anything really doesn’t fully stick to the dry inner paper-mache shell. Example of Hollow forms: Dan Reeder’s stuff. He then recycles the newspaper that went into building those forms towards other projects.
    With the computer paper or tape, you can add in little details with the ears with additional pieces of paper or tape to mimic the tiny pinnae flap loop at the bottom of the ear. Or just build that part with paper clay.

  7. Jonnie – just a thought for how to get your nice turntable to stay still when you need it to. How about making a doorstop type thing out of cardboard – small enough to just stick it under for a minute while you explain something, then easily pulled away for continuing working on your project.

  8. For some reason the system that sends out the email updates has gotten a bit weird in the last few days – it’s sending out duplicate emails for posts that went up days ago. I hope this isn’t too inconvenient for all of you who have subscribed to the updates. I’ll look into it and try to figure out how to make it stop. (Wish me luck – technology has a way of getting the best of me sometimes…)


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