Easy Pattern for a Paper Mache

Lion Mask or Wall Sculpture

$12 for the downloadable pattern

Use the pattern to create a helmet-style mask, and discover how it would feel to be a lion for a few hours.

Or you can display the lion on your wall or create a treasured gift for someone who loves these big, beautiful cats.

How to make your lion mask:

Lion Mask Pattern How-To1
Print the pattern, put it on cardboard and cut it out.
Lion Pattern How-To 2
Tape the pieces together.
Lion Mask Pattern 3
Add paper mache strips and paste or Paper Mache Clay
Lion Mask Pattern 4
Add a mane and bring him to life with acrylic paint.

This is a downloadable PDF Pattern with full instructions. That means there’s no waiting and no shipping costs, and you can start on your project right away.

Click here if you’d like to know more about how the patterns are delivered. 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.  😀

Two ways to use your lion mask:

You can use all the pattern pieces and create a helmet-style mask to wear at a fancy-dress party or for Halloween.

Or leave off the cap portion, and use your lion as a display mask. It looks fantastic on a wall.

Two ways to make your lion’s mane:

Create a sculpted mane with cardboard, paper towels and paste (it’s easy, and the inistructions are included in the downloadable file).

Or make a custom mane with a softer material, like yarn or raffia. To see how I made the lion at the top of the page with its raffia mane, watch the second video below.

Two ways to finish your mask:

You can use paper strips and paste, or use Jonni’s paper mache clay recipe, as shown in the first video below. For the recipes, click on the  Blog/Art Library link at the top of the site.

Finished size: Helmet-style mask – about 15.5 inches (39 cm) high, 13 inches (33 cm) wide and 12 inches (30 cm) deep. About 7.5” deep (17 cm) if built as a wall display mask.

$12 for the Downloadable Pattern
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How to create a mane with a raffia table skirt:

How to sculpt fur texture on a cardboard mane…

To make the lion mask you will need:

  • Standard letter size paper (8.5” x 11”) or A4 paper (210 × 297 mm) or full-sheet labels for printing the pattern.
  • Cardboard
  • Glue stick, if printing on copy paper instead of labels
  • Box cutter or craft knife
  • Tape
  • Hot glue gun (if making a custom-made mane with a soft material like raffia or twine)
  • Paper strips and paste, or paper mache clay
  • Paper towels (to add texture to a sculpted mane*)
  • Acrylic paint and varnish
pattern instructions for lion mask
A page from the instructions that come with the lion mask pattern.

To paint the lion masks I used:

  • Liquitex Super Heavy Gesso (for the lion with a sculpted mane) and DIY gesso made with drywall joint compound and Elmer’s glue (for the lion with raffia mane – the recipe is in the Art Library, the link is at the top of the page)
  • Acrylic Paint (Yellow Ochre, White, Black, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, “Sunkissed Peach” craft paint (a soft pink I had on hand), Cadmium Orange and Cadmium Red Light (for the nose)
  • For the mask with a sculpted mane I used Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid mixed with Burnt Umber to bring out the texture in the mane.
  • Matte Acrylic Varnish

If you’re using a soft custom-made mane, you may need different colors to match the material you choose.

$12 for the Downloadable Pattern
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Lions created with this pattern:

You may also like…

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.

Downloading your files: To see exactly how the downloading process should work, click here.  If your pattern doesn’t download correctly and you can’t see the solution on that page, let me know right away so I can help. This is a one-person business, but I check my inbox regularly and will respond as fast as I can.

80 thoughts on “Paper Mache Lion Mask Pattern”

  1. How big is this mask – will it be huge on the wall to hang? Also can it be made as only as a wall hanging and not a helmut? Does it lie flush with the wall all around? Is it difficult to assemble?

    • Hi Joanne. No, it isn’t difficult to assemble, and the size is about 15.5 inches (39 cm) high, 13 inches (33 cm) wide. You can see it on the wall behind me in the videos, and it isn’t taking up the whole wall. 🙂

      There are instructions with the pattern that show you how to use a piece on the back to hang it on the wall instead of making the helmet section for wearing.

  2. Hey Mrs. Good:

    I am looking to purchase your Lion Mask pattern–just wondering do you have a suggestion for the mane when you suggest a “custom soft mane” that is soft but full. I am torn I love the fullness of the raffia but the “softness” of the papertowel/mache mane. I’m afraid yarn will be droopy–do you also have suggestions for eyes I won’t be using it as a mask but as a wall mount for a display I am doing for my daughter’s school (Mascot is a lion)–I wanted something like your concrete lion’s head mold that you did which is gorgeous but I haven’t the talent for that–I’m stressing on the detail of the painting of the paper mache–I couldn’t imagine having to carve out the detail in the clay–I also thought about doing some about 1/2 the size as some accent pieces I want to use can the directions be “shrunk” and if so would you even recommend it or would the mask loose something without the size and lastly b/c I’m not using it as a mask, want to hang it on the wall like you’ve done is there a secret to cutting the head covering part won’t have the lion face fall apart. Thank you so much–found you thru some searches and have watched all your lion (paper mache and concrete mold) to get ideas and then found that you have a pattern–what a blessing!!! thank you for your time

    • Hi Angi. Some raffia isn’t as stiff as the raffia that I purchased for the lion mask. But, unfortunately, there isn’t any way to know if it’s stiff or soft until it arrives in the mail. I haven’t tried it, but I wonder if it would be possible to use yarn that has been dipped in laundry starch and allowed to dry? Do you think that would give you a mane that you’d like?

      The pattern has a piece called a ‘hanger’ that can be used instead of the helmet-style mask. The hanger piece is a half-circle that holds the upper portion of the head in the correct shape. There’s no danger of the face falling apart. In fact, right after I finished my mask for the video, I removed the helmet part and replaced it with the hanger piece so I could put it on my wall.

      You can use 1.5″ Styrofoam balls for the eyes if you make your lion the same size as the pattern. For a smaller one, you’d want slightly smaller balls. The thickness of the cardboard will give you some definition for the eyelids, and the ball can be covered with thin strips of paper mache, made from newspaper. You can see me doing that when I put paper mache on my cow mask. (third video on that page). You can use paper mache clay for the rest of your lion if you want, or use paper strips and paste for all of it. Either way, it will look very nice.

      One of my other readers sent me a photo of his lion, which he made by printing the pattern smaller. It looked really nice, and none of the detail was lost.

      Have fun! And be sure to let us see how your lion turns out. 🙂

      • Thank you so much for the great ideas–I purchasing the pattern and will try and start on it this weekend! Again thanks for your help I’ll send pictures-the bulletin board I am doing will go up mid August so hope to have it all together way before then!

    • Hi Bonnie. The lion head is quite large, and the card stock won’t hold it up without using a filler, like we do when we make the elephant head. It isn’t designed with a solid back, but once the pieces are taped together, including the back hanger at the top to hold the top of the head in the right shape, you could put it on a piece of cardboard and trace around it. Then tape on your new back pattern piece. Don’t put paper mache on that new flat piece of cardboard, though, because it could warp. If you try this, please let us know how it turns out!

  3. Question, we are looking for a 3D lion to use for decoration for our church’s Vacation Bible School, could your template be adapted or blown up to make a much larger piece? Thanks so much.

    • You can print it on larger paper to make an over-sized mask. If your printer can’t do that, your local printer could help you out by printing it on poster paper. It’s 15.5″ tall now, not including the mane. You’d need to do some math to determine the percentage larger you want it printed.

    • Jenny, I’m making a lion mask for our VBS. We have an almost life-sized donkey that we transform every year into the current VBS theme. I enlarged at 150% and printed individual pattern pieces on 11×17 paper. I just guesstimated since we crafty people are not always good at math. Sigh. Luckily, it fits. I will post before and after pics when finished. You could absolutely use this pattern for your VBS! Maybe make it as a wall hanging instead of a mask if you don’t have a donkey to disguise. The pattern and directions are extremely well written.

      • Finally, here’s Scar – I found a free paper mask pattern on line from a Disney site and used your clay and techniques to make it into a papermache headdress-style mask as well.

  4. I am in the middle of trying to follow the pattern, but it seems like my lion mouth. I feel like the pieces aren’t fitting together right and I have tape everywhere. PLus, the nostrils seem really close together (not providing much space for the nose). I am a first timer, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Stephanie. It should look like the photo below after the mouth and nose have been taped together. The nose will push the two sides of the muzzle apart. Does your lion look different than the photo?

  5. Hello! I just bought this lion mask pattern – it’s just exquisite. I am excited to use the pattern to create 2 masks for my son’s Lion King Jr. play. I plan to use different materials for the manes and to round the face out a bit on one to differentiate between Mufasa and Grown Up Simba. Here’s my difficulty: for the play, the “masks” will actually sit on top of their heads so that their faces are not blocked and people will be able to hear them speak and sing. I cannot figure out how to alter this pattern to make it work in this fashion. I believe I can use the wrap-around style to make it so it will fit on top of a head but I am having difficulty figuring out how to mount the head on top rather than in front and then, how to finish off the back so that it can be viewed from all angles. Any ideas/direction you can provide would be SO appreciated!!

    • Hi Christine. I’m doing some research now to see how headdress-style masks are made, and there isn’t a lot of information out there. The lion mask was not made especially for the lion king play, so it will need to be customized. Or friend Kevin Doheny wrote a guest post for us showing us how he attached his lion king masks to a baseball cap. The lion mask might be a lot heavier than his zebra mask, though. I’m sorry I don’t have better ideas for you – but I am looking! If anyone has some suggestions for us for using the mask on top of the head, it would be very much appreciated!

      • Jonni, thanks so much for trying to figure this out! I, too, had difficulty finding ideas online so Kevin Doheny’s idea is great food for thought. I am going to do my best to keep the weight of the lion’s head as light as possible – especially since these are middle school kids. Hopefully, some other folks might have some ideas as well and I’ll have a good starting place for making what I need. I do love the internet for just this reason.

        • Well, I apologize for the long delay in getting back to you on my results using your mask pattern to create Lion King Jr. masks for Simba and Mufasa. The glue gun blisters are only just starting to heal, but I’m so very happy with my results! You can now advertise that your mask pattern can be used in three ways: wall hanging, over the head mask AND as a headdress-style mask! By trimming the bill of a ball cap, I was able to insert it snugly into the mask ‘snout’ and attach it solidly. I marked where the mask fit around the back of the ball cap while on the actor’s head and then removed and glue-gunned it at those spots, as well. I stitched a 3/4 in. wide black elastic across the front of the hat where it meets the bill and then looped it behind and sewed it shut to add an additional stability strap when the actor was wearing it. Thank goodness I could use the simple painting required for Disney-esque results because my skills definitely are limited in this area. For the manes, I bought thick cotton cording (three fat strands twisted together to create the rope) and unwound it all to get lots of usable hair. I used a variety of spray paints to color them as I liked. It was almost impossible to cover all the individual strands but I ended up really liking the ‘highlights’ and think it actually made the hair look more natural. To use a similar idea to your raffia table skirt, I attached the hair to strips of thin ribbon and then folded the hair above the ribbon back down over the back side and attached it there as well. This gave me double thickness, made it easy to attach and hid the ribbon. Your paper mache clay was fabulous – dare I say life-changing? SO much easier than strips and such beautiful results. I followed your ideas for using the joint compound on top to smooth and gesso to prep. I will also add the picture of the Scar mask I made since it also benefited from your clear guidance on all these topics. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Really the best $12 I can remember spending.

          • One last thing: forgot to say that I printed out the Mufasa head at 105% to make the two masks somewhat different one from the other. Also, just by chance, I got better at rounding out the cardboard to make it more natural looking by the second mask – luckily, it also added to the differences between the two masks.

          • Wow – your masks are really nice Christine! And the way you managed to turn them into headdress-style masks is quite impressive. Congratulations! The kids must be so proud of them – and of you, of course… 🙂

            Will you be making all the costumes for next year’s play, too?

            • Thanks! The kids love them! Fortunately for me, my son graduates from this school next year so they’ll have to find another willing victim. 🙂

          • Christine, when you have time would you be willing to write an ‘official’ review, too? Just a photo and a few sentences would do. I put the form together last week (it even has stars – that was the hard part) but nobody knows it’s there yet so you’d be the first one to test it.

            I’ve tested it myself, (as you can see from the review we already have), but it would be nice to know for sure if it works for other people before I send out a mass email. If that sounds like fun, you can find it here. Thanks! 🙂

  6. The patterns are FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t thank you enough. I just bought the patterns 3 days ago and I am having so much fun and SUCH SUCCESS because of great pattern, great directions, great videos. Simply splendid in every way.

  7. Hi Jonni,

    I ordered your lion mask and am having trouble getting the mouth right but I think it could be the way I did the muzzle and mouth, not sure. Am I suppose to pull all the pieces at the cut up next to each other or just at the end, I did the 1st. Fixing to start over. I am using medium weight .062 inches chipboard will that be ok? Thank you!

    • Hi Ttracy. The muzzle piece has some long darts, which need to be taped together all the way from the points to the edges. And that really long piece that sticks out is then curved around and attached to the lower edge of the muzzle. It should look like this after you’ve taped all the darts:

      And it should look like this after the long piece is taped on to form the lower lip:


      If this isn’t the information you were looking for, just let me know.

      • And the medium chipboard should be stiff enough for this pattern. You might want to completely cover it with masking tape after all the seams are taped together. That will keep the chipboard from getting wet from the paper mache and keep it from warping as the paper mache dries.

      • Hello,

        I recently ordered the lion mask template and I have blown the images up, so the pieces in the pattern are life size. I am having issues getting started as well with the muzzle pieces. . Should there be an opening underneath the muzzle or should it be completely closed off with all of the dart pieces connecting? The instructions for this part were unclear to me.

        • Also I am trying to get a museum statue finish/look. Any suggestions on what to finish the sculpture with after if is painted.

        • Hi Sheylon. The muzzle and chin will be open, because the mask couldn’t be worn if it’s closed. The photos below might help:

          You can see the open space below the chin.

          • Thank you for the information! As for how I want the sculpture to look, I am deciding between a gold plated or marble look. How would I achieve these looks? This is my first time attempting something like this.

            • Hi Sheylon. For either look, you’ll need a really smooth surface to start with. Be sure to watch this video to see how to do it. The method works with both paper mache clay and paper strips and paste. Martha Steward has a “Liquid Gilding” paint, and from photos it looks really nice. It doesn’t appear to have an unrealistic gloss surface, like many metalic paints. It looks softer, like real gold – but I admit I haven’t seen it used in person. I don’t know if an old museum piece made with gold would have darker areas in the dips and creases or not – but you could find out easily with a little research. I have to admit that there isn’t a lot of old gold laying around my house. 🙂

              For a marble look, you could paint the pattern on with acrylic paint. YouTube has a surprisingly large number of videos about painting faux marble, and one of them might be what you’re looking for.

              Whichever method you use, I hope you’ll come back and show it off. We’d love to see how it turns out.

            • Hi Jonni,

              Thanks for all the advice. I really appreciate it! I decided that I’m going to try the gliding liquid but I was wondering if I should apply the acrylic gesso before using it?

            • Hello,

              I just wanted to share some pictures of my final project. It was used as a prop instead of a wall mask and it was quite massive! Thanks for all of your feedback to help create my vision!

            • The play is called Say What Say Wiz. It is a dance interpretation of the Wiz and the Wizard of Oz.

  8. Hi, I’m making a dragon and I was hoping you could help me with the wings. They are large and I want them transparent with faint color, I’m trying not to use epoxy resin, what else can I use that will be light in weight?

    • Hi Johanna. This is an interesting question! Would cheesecloth dipped in Elmer’s Glue-All be strong enough? Are you making a wire armature for the skin of the wings?

  9. Love the raffia mane Jonni! I agree that more filling out would have been nice but what you have totally works. I thought of another way to make a mane- how about real wool like they use for felting? You could just put some thin foam around the edges and use the felting needle to push the felting wool into the foam. It might look rather natural.
    I love the paint job even more than the last one. It gives the lion a softness or vulnerable look to him with a hint of curiosity. Excellent job.
    It WAS good to hear from Shelbot!

    • Yes, we have missed our Shelbot – he’s been doing important things, though, I’m sure. 🙂

      I really like the wool idea. (I tried felting a few years ago and I managed a few slippers before I gave up.) If anyone tries that, I would really love to see how it looks.

  10. Oh, Jonni….I love, love, love this mask! For some odd reason, around the 14 minute mark the mask started to remind me of Jesus! How ironic since He’s often referred to as a lion! Anyway, I am in awe of your talent, kindness and generous nature! Thank you forf sharing your gifts and talents with us!

    • Thanks, Janet. And that is interesting that you made that connection. My internet connection is so slow at the moment that I can’t go watch it again (need a new computer!) but I will look again as soon as the machinery is cooperating. 🙂

  11. Jonni, I thought the first lion was beautiful, but am freaking out over the second one. Not only does the raffia look fantastic, but the painting is magnifique. I want. If I beg, can I have him? Non? Oh, well. He is just amazing. As are you. Thanks again for all the beauty you create.

      • Jonni, while it’s true that all amazingly gifted, accomplished artists need to hear the opinions of minimally-talented, old curmudgeons, I am indeed honored by your wonderful words. I patiently await my lion mask.
        : )
        Although, I have never made a gorgeous lion mask, I did make a sculpt of my to furbabies dressed as characters from the “Wizard of Oz”. Not my best work, but will try to post.

        • Mister Shelbot, we’ll accept the ‘curmudgeon’ label you’ve assigned to yourself, but the minimally-talented label is definitely questionable. I think Salt and Pepper are adorable in their Wizard of Oz costumes. But you must tell us what the numbers are for – or should we be able to guess? And how were they made? Is that real fur?

          • I told S&P that you remembered their names and they said, “Our Aunt Jonni remembers our names!? Yay!” Then they rolled their eyes and went back to sleep. Ingrates! Anyway, most of the lion “suit” is fake fur, but there are (sadly) some tufts of real fur. A very old piece from a stole or something that someone had given me to use. His mane is twine. I’ll try to take/post another picture later, if you like.

            • Oh, and the numbers are to celebrate a friend’s 25 (more now) years of sobriety.
              I believe the bodies and limbs are just rolls of newspaper covered with fabric/fur. The dogs have yarn eyebrows, etc. I’ll take the liberty of trying to post another pic. You can see the twine mane here, I think.

            • I love that mane – the twine would be perfect for my lion mask, too, if you don’t mind someone borrowing the idea. Did you use hot glue to attach the twine to the Cowardly Lion? And did you un-twist the twine after it was attached? Are you getting tired of my questions?

      • Eileen, I have missed you also. I try to view the posts as often as I can. When I see beautiful sculptures and interesting comments by my faves: Jonni (of course), Rex, Allan or the lovely and talented Eileen {I left a lot of people out, but if you think you belong, go ahead and add yourself to the list : )}, I want to jump right in there, but I just don’t have the presence of mind to write a coherent sentence at times. Plus, as crazy as it sounds, I always want to go back to where I left off and praise and thank every single person individually who has posted their art. Since I can’t do that, THANK YOU, EVERYONE! Keep making the world more beautiful and interesting.

  12. Jonni-what a wonderful lion mask! An the paint job is great even though you said it was done quickly. Some would envy that quality-quick and well done. The mane is cool. When I had done a lion king mask many, many years ago, I used twine dipped in a glue/ water mix and allowed it to dry stiffly. It worked well and stood up to the production. I like the thought of raffia as well. Depending on the use of the mask, stiffened with glue would work with that as well.
    I don’t know if you should go with the easier gardening method because you are looking very fit and healthy! The excersize is doing you well!

    • Thanks Eileen. And I love the idea of using twine stiffened with glue for the mane. How did you attach the twine to your mask? (And thank you for the compliment, as well. 🙂 )

      • It was so long ago, I think I poked holes in the mask and pushed several strands of twine through and then glued them. It held up to 8th graders abuse, that’s all I know.

        • Eileen, you just reminded me of the silly lion mask I made with a wire mane for the ReStore’s recycled art auction. I just watched the video again to see how I attached the wire, but the way I did it wouldn’t work for this new lion mask. (It was certainly colorful, though!) And that reminded me of my Einstein – for his hair I used really fine wire that I bought from the hardware store. I didn’t explain how it was attached in the post, and now I can’t remember, but I do know it was put on over a sculpted “mane,” and that might actually work for this mask. The cardboard mane would create the shapes. You’d probably want to paint it so it looked like mottled shadows after the curly wire is added. Perhaps with small dabs of hot glue?
          Einstein with wire 'mane.'

          • You could even use some steel wool that has been pulled apart. I am sure glue would work on that. Isn’t it funny that we don’t remember how we achieved something several years later. At the time we swear we would never forget! I love that Einstein mask. Do you still have it or did I you just pull out an old photo?

            • I mailed it to a friend a few months ago – a surprise birthday present for a gentleman of a certain age. It’s been one of my favorites for a long time, and I think that’s partly because I didn’t fuss with ‘getting it right,’ and partly because of that wiry hair.

              If I didn’t start this blog back when I first took up paper mache, I’d never remember anything I’ve done! I can’t even remember my own recipes. Fortunately, they’re either in one of my books or in the Art Library. If they weren’t, I’d have to re-invent them every month or so. 🙂

      • I agree, your summer projects really look like they agree with you! However, I’m always looking for easier gardening too. I’ve discovered a love for mulch. Around the farm there’s always a rotting bale of cornstalks or old hay. They are my new friends. I love your sculpted mane and am really excited to see your raffia mane – it can be hard to incorporate a soft material onto a hard sculpture, but you always shine and I think your choice of material is outstanding!

        • Thanks, Sheepish. If you have sheep around your farm (and I’m guessing you do 🙂 ) raw wool might make an interesting mane. Dried corn leaves might work, too. (And I’m really jealous of your rotting hay. I grow my own comfrey for mulch, but there’s never enough.)

          • What a fabulous lion! Your raffia mane is simply amazing! My hot glueing skills are woeful at best. I really like the idea of a wool mane (and the felting needle attachment). How ever did you guess I have sheep? 😀 I have a bag of wool that just might work for that. I matted it a bit when I washed it so it was too frustrating to card. I will certainly put that on my list of someday projects. The present one (a picture book I’m beginning to regret I ever thought of) is eating up all my spare time. Perhaps I’ll try corn husks too. Dried silks would be fun on a little lion, but probably too delicate for life here. You are so full of good ideas!

            • It sounds like you have enough projects planned to keep you busy for a long time! And I think the picture book you’re working on sounds like great fun. Be sure to let us know when it’s published!

  13. Jonni, that is a mighty jungle — wait! In the jungle, the mighty jungle, a lion waits tonight — isn’t there a song like that! Crazy. Love the lion.

    Every time you do one of these masks, I think of the NOVA show on origami. I ought to find that on DVD somewhere and send it to you. The talk about how everything in nature can unfold (or fold) like origami. Flowers were shocking, and they even made an origami space station that is flat, small, light-weight, and unfolds once it is in space. Of course, this is much more beautiful than a way station. Great

    • That’s one of my favorite songs! The NOVA show does sound interesting. Did they use an algorithm or some mathematical model to unfold their flowers? I wish there was an easier way to do it than what I’ve come up with so far – much trial and error.

      • Google “The Origami Revolution” or “Origami images.” It is mathematical but also artistic. Amazing what they made. They made “level” flowers and some with crinkly leaves. I think they had mathematical geniuses from all over the world (Japan, of course) working on it.

    • From now on my garden will be no-dig. And not much weeding, either. But the soil wasn’t very good and needed some work. No-work garden is what I’m after! But I have to work up to it. And I needed the exercise after the long winter anyway. 😉

      Are you a gardener?

      • I love plants and do have a couple of gardens and a tiny greenhouse. I don’t think there is such a thing as a no work garden, but you can aim to reduce the harder work of yearly digging. Good luck with your gardening and your wonderful artwork.

    • Thank you, Penelpe. And yes, it takes a while to turn a rounded sculpture into something that can be created out of flat cardboard. But it’s an interesting puzzle, so it’s a lot of fun. I’m glad you like him. 🙂


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