How to Make a Paper Mache Baby Panda

baby paper mache panda

I made this baby panda back in 2009. It was one of my first projects using the cardboard patterns, and he was a lot of fun to make. He no longer lives with me – when I moved a few years ago I gave him to a little girl who lived down the block from my old house.

I didn’t own a video camera when I created this pattern, but I had some progress photos, and shared them in this video. The same images are included on the PDF pattern, too.

I wouldn’t use exactly the same techniques if I made another panda, but this guy did turn out really nice.

If you’d like to make a panda, click the button below, and then save the PDF to your device:

If you do make a panda, I hope you’ll come back and show it off on the Daily Sculptors page. We’d love to see how it comes out. 🙂


9 thoughts on “How to Make a Paper Mache Baby Panda”

  1. Hello from Russia! My name is Zhanna. I want to thank you for inspiration. I’d like to show my little panda by your pattern. Wish you all the best!

    • Hello! We would love to see your panda, but the photo you tried to upload was probably too big, and it didn’t come through. I do hope you’ll edit the image and try again, because we’d really like to see it.

  2. Hello! I am 17 and my grandfather used to do amazing paper mache projects. When I found these videos I was so happy at the clarity, intuitiveness, ease and quality of the projects! I just wanted to say that you’re doing a great job and to keep up the good work, this stuff transcends all ages!

  3. Hello here Jonni.

    I’ve bought the necessary materials and will mix a batch of clay as I am
    considering using it to make 20 inch marionette-style lay figures for art
    purposes: The alternative is urethane resin, for which expensive silicone
    moulds are required, and the us of a spin cast machine, so I need to ask:

    1. Once the clay has fully cured and hardened, what happens if it is
    exposed to moisture, say by accident perhaps? Does it lose its strength and
    become soft again?
    2. Can the clay be pressed into plaster of paris moulds?
    3. How strong is it?
    4. How much punishment will it take?

    Thank you

    • Hi Charles. The cured paper mache clay will soften if it’s exposed to water for a long period of time. I have not found any product that will make it waterproof. It does harden again when it dries, but it would still be better to not allow it to get wet – don’t leave it out in the rain, or drop it in the bathtub and leave it there for an hour or two, for instance. I’ve never had any trouble with it at all inside a house.

      The paper in the pm clay makes it difficult to get a good casting. It would work with plaster molds if the molds were very well sealed and you use a release, but you’ll get small voids in the surface of your casting. Many people have used the air dry clay recipe in molds, and they say it works very well – the air dry clay recipe is just a variation of the original pm clay, with much less paper. It still dries hard, but I’m not sure if it’s as strong as the original.

      The dried pm clay feels more like hard plastic than anything else I can think of. My first test was to cover a ball of crumpled paper with about 1/8″ of the pm clay. I allowed it to dry, and then dropped it on a concrete sidewalk. There were no cracks in the ball. Thin pieces sticking out, like the tip of an ear, for instance, can be chipped off if one isn’t careful. However, one can then repair the chip with a small dab of wet pm clay. You wouldn’t want to play soccer with the finished piece, but for normal use in a studio it will last for a long time.

      However, you’ll still want to do a small test to make sure it works the way you would like it to.

  4. How cute is that!
    He is so real looking. I haven’t tried making an animal yet so I might start with him. Thanks Jonni.

  5. Love the baby panda. In fact love all your things .You are a good tutor .I think I’m going to try to do a Yarn bowl and put a woman on the out side of bowl holding it. I’ve seen them on line but they are small so I think I will try a large bowl.


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