Linda’s Paper Mache Elephant

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African Animals Pattern Set.
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paper mache elephant tutorialI received an email last week from Linda Backer, with photos of the baby elephant she just finished making. She used the baby elephant video and pattern that I posted here on the blog back in 2009. The video has now been seen by over half a million people, and continues to be the most popular video on my YouTube channel.

Linda did a great job with her elephant, and she took great photos while she was doing it. Not only that, but she kept track of the costs of her project, too. I asked if she’d be willing to let me show you how her elephant came out, and she graciously agreed. Thanks, Linda!

Paper Mache Elephant

©2014 Linda Backer

My elephant is done! (still awaiting a name…) And has taken residence by my front door eating elephant bush (naturally!). I’ve never done paper mache before, and don’t have any artist supplies, so I did opt to spray paint at the end (used a light gray primer, then a coat of granite, textured spray paint before clear coat. My ears are not quite authentic Indian (trace of African), but wanted the flared appearance. It was a lot of work and determination, but I never could have done it without your pattern, video, website, and SUPPORT!

At 66 years old/young, I have more arthritis in my thumb joints and tops of hands than I like to admit, so I think the hardest part was all the tearing of masking tape!

The elephant is on our front gated patio and underneath the roof, so protected from any rain we get in the desert.
Many thanks again for all you give and share on your website and your personal attention to our needs!

Paper Mache Elephant Costs:

I noticed someone asked about expense in making the elephant. This is what I calculated for mine:

  • 1/2″ plywood       $11.00  (half of a 4×8 sheet)
  • 2″ masking tape     10.50 (3 rolls – almost)
  • wood glue                3.50 (1 small bottle)
  • flour/water                  .25
  • alum. ears                  .25 (2 small pieces from $6 roll)
  • joint compound            .25  small amount from $3.50 bucket
  • paper towels         $ 1.00 (less than 1 roll of VIVA textured towels)
  • paint                       17.00 (no paint supplies; bought 1 can primer, 1 can granite texture

My newspapers were free (subscribe daily); I had jig saw, wood screws and sandpaper.

Total $43.75

I’m sure your paint mixing gave a better “skin” but not having any supplies, and being a bit tired at conclusion, I went with the spray cans.

Thanks again,

Linda Backer

Want to Make Your Own Elephant?

Click here to see the life-sized baby Indian elephant (and many other patterns) available for instant download, so you can start your project today.


49 thoughts on “Linda’s Paper Mache Elephant”

  1. Hello, I am completely new to this.. I was wondering how do I transfer the elephant grid onto a plywood ??? I am hoping to recreate the same size elephant as you had on your YouTube channel

    • Hi Luci. You’ll need to draw a grid on your plywood with 2″ squares, and then copy the drawing, one square at a time. It’s a lot easier than it sounds. 🙂 There’s a nice video on YouTube that shows how to do it. To find it, click here. After you watch the video, if you have any more questions be sure to let me know.

  2. Wondering how I can get one already made, and what the cost would be. I will be covering it with flowers so we don’t need it painted like skin/finished. just need the form. Anyone know someone that could create and sell us one? Tha nks!

    • It’s possible that Linda will see your comment, but just in case she doesn’t, you might want to find a local artist or craftsperson who would be willing to make an elephant for you. The video on this page will show them how it’s done. The full-sized baby Indian Elephant is quite heavy, and I’m not sure it would fit into a UPS truck. It might need to be sent by special freight, which would be really expensive. Even in UPS will take it, it’s going to cost a lot to ship. Anyone who enjoys drawing or sculpting should be able to make one for you. If you don’t know someone who has time, you might find someone by calling the high school, community college or university art department, to see if one of the teachers would like to have a fun weekend project. This is not an instant project, as you can see if you watch the video, so plan for that when you consider how much to offer someone to make it for you.

      Good luck with it. 🙂

  3. Hi Jonni, I like your little elephant, but have a question on the 2×4’s you used; It looked like you used two pieces on each side in the front and one on each side in the back? Is that what I’m seeing?
    Thanks, Gary


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