Paper Mache Mandrill Mask Pattern –

for Rafiki in the Lion King Play


Mandrill’s are weird โ€” but that’s just one of the reasons why using this pattern to make Rafiki’s mask is so much fun.

This headdress-style mask is easy to make with the pattern and cardboard from a few cereal boxes. Just add paper mache and paint.

And after the play is over, you can proudly display your Mandrill mask on your wall.

What you’ll get when you order:

This is a downloadable PDF Pattern with full instructions, so there’s no waiting and no shipping costs. You can start on your project right away. Be sure to download your pattern directly to your computer or device, so you can access it again later.

Note: Please double-check your email address when you order so I can send you the download link. If you don’t see it in your inbox, check your promotions folder. If it doesn’t arrive, please let me know.ย  If you’re using an iPhone or iPad, they have a special way of hiding your downloads. This article shows you how to find them.

To make your Mandrill mask:

Tape the mandrill mask pieces together.
Step 1: Cut out the pieces and tape them together.
Add a few details with foil.
Step 2: Add a few details with foil and hot glue.
Add paper mache to the mandrill mask.
Step 3: Add paper mache - I used brown paper and paper towels.
Finish your mandrill mask with acrylic paint.
Step 4: Finish your Mandrill mask with paint - see the video below.

Watch the video below to see how the Rafiki mask is made:

Play Video

And watch the video below to see a fast, easy way to cover your mask with paper mache.

A lion helped with this video, but the method works just as well for Rafiki. ๐Ÿ™‚

To make this paper mache Mandrill Mask you will need:

  • Printer
  • Copy paper or full-sheet labels (recommended)
  • Glue stick if using copy paper for pattern
  • Cardboard from 5 standard-sized cereal boxes
  • Paper towels
  • Sharp scissors for cutting cardboard
  • Tape, both clear plastic tape and masking tape
  • Aluminum foil
  • Glue gun
  • Paper strips and paste (or use brown paper and Titebond III wood glue like I did – recommended)
  • White primer or acrylic gesso
  • Spray paint with a stone look (Optional)
  • Acrylic paint and varnish
  • Artistsโ€™ brushes
  • Black felt


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.ย  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.

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9 thoughts on “Make a Paper Mache Mandrill Mask”

  1. Hi Jonni, here’s a progress report.
    I’ve finished the sun and it took me a lot longer than I expected but then, every project does! And, I had the brown paper from delivery boxes too! Thought I’d share a pic of it before I paint. Should I share it here or on the new web page for larger file sizes?

    • Hi Sharon. I would love to see how your sun came out, but we may have to wait a day or two. The old system for uploading images in comments has been turned off – but the new form doesn’t appear to be working for anyone but me. Do feel free to try it, though. You’ll probably get an error message, but we can cross our fingers. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And I do know what you mean about projects taking longer than expected! Weeks longer, in my case, but I’ve come to expect it. As long as it eventually gets done, that’s what counts, right?

  2. Rafiki looks great, Jonni! It’s so funny that you are working on masks for The Lion King musical because I am working on building some props for SHREK, the musical, which includes a giraffe head/neck and spinning gazelles, as a bit of a humorous homage to The Lion King! I actually found pictures the original Broadway puppets to use as inspiration (I love when that happens!).
    These props are stick puppets that move across the puppet stage above the actors’ heads in one of the songs. I was going to ask your opinion on a really strong, lightweight substance to cover my foam props, and the wood glue and paper looks like it will do the trick! I’ll study your tips video and let you know how they turn out. Thank you for being a wealth of information, Jonni! I actually just finished Beauty and the Beast a couple months ago and we used paper mache clay to make antlers and to cover seams and reinforce our foam buttresses. Now I know this technique would have been best!

    • Hi Sharon. You’ve been really busy! If you just happen to have a few photos you’d like to share of your masks and puppets, we’d love to see them. And if you do use the paper and wood glue on your foam, please let us know how it works. I haven’t tried it, so I’d really like to know how your experiment turns out.

      A lot of foam sculptors like using a two-part brush-on epoxy product called Epsilon Pro, but I haven’t tried it. I don’t know how the costs would compare to other options, but it shouldn’t be hard to work out the math. You can see someone using it in this video:

      • I will try to remember to photo document the process. I have a sun and moon that will really need to be reinforced (especially the rays) to help protect them from teenager coordination challenges! ? Here they are after being routed by machine. Quick question: Where did you find your brown paper? Paper grocery bags too heavy? Painter’s roll of brown masking paper?

        • I used the brown paper that comes inside boxes from – when they send a small box inside a big one, they try to keep the little one from rattling around by stuffing in some brown paper. It’s the perfect weight for paper mache. A grocery bag will also work, but I do think it’s a little heavier, so it may be more difficult to get it smooth. And if you’re using the wood glue, you could use strips of newspaper, too – it will get hard because of the glue, and is nice and soft. Here’s a video with some tips for applying paper strips and paste.


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