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Make a Playful Paper Mache Baby Panda Bear

baby panda paper mache

This easy pattern for a paper mache panda has been used by hundreds of people of all ages.

If you’ve never used a pattern to create a sculpture before, this is a good one to start with. After you cut out your pattern on cardboard, you fill out the rounded shapes with crumpled paper and masking tape. Then add a few layers of paper strips and paste, and paint.

The 10-page PDF has the printable pattern and complete instructions for putting your baby panda together.

Note: Although this panda would be cute in a baby’s room, the acrylic paint and the joint compound on his fur are not edible. Use child-safe art supplies if you want to put the sculpture in a baby’s room, or just put it up on a high shelf until your baby stops teething.

How to make your baby panda:

The video has all the steps needed to put your baby panda together and cover him with paper mache. You’ll also see photos of each step in the downloadable pattern.

I made this panda a long time ago (2009!) so I probably wouldn’t make it the same way again. For one thing, I’d use paper mache clay instead of paper strips and paste (click on the recipes tab at the top of the site for more options). But paper strips and paste do work, and I still think he’s adorable. πŸ™‚

To make this paper mache sculpture you will need:

  • A printer (or copy the pattern by hand
  • Scissors
  • Recycled newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Flour and water paste
  • A small amount of drywall joint compound (optional – I used it to get a light texture for the fur, but your panda will look just fine without it.)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Matte acrylic varnish
  • A small rubber ball or stuffed animal, for the baby panda to hold (totally optional – I just thought it would be a fun detail. πŸ™‚ )
Painting the black spots on the panda

For another easy panda project, check out the Baby Panda wall sculpture here.

And remember to take a look at my pattern collection – you’ll find lots of animal masks and sculpture patterns that create all the shapes for you – no need to add crumpled paper and masking paper, like you do for the baby panda. You just print the patterns, tape them together, and then add paper mache and paste. You can see all the patterns here.

Make a Playful Paper Mache Baby Panda Bear

If you’d like to learn how to make your own patterns, like the one for the panda on this page, read my book Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay. It’s a full course on how to sculpt animals. You start with a really easy chicken, then learn to make a clownfish, a family of penguins, a kune kune pig, a dachshund, an elephant, and a horse.

Make a Playful Paper Mache Baby Panda Bear

When you finish the projects in the book, you’ll be able to sculpt any animal, beginning with a photo or sketch. Over 458 reviews on Amazon.com.

131 thoughts on “Make a Playful Paper Mache Baby Panda Bear”

  1. I just want to say that I am a huge fan, and i think your sculptures are awesome, creative, and beautiful it I started making a cup a week ago and it turned fine I am really happy I am a artist (sort of ) I am a 11 years old boy I am live in a Arab country named Lebanon not sure you’re familiar with it and I will always watch your videos and daily sculptures too. ( I am making a panda which I so on paper mache for kids on your website)

    Reply
  2. Jonni,
    I don’t get the part of Building the Body. In the first picture when you put the newspaper, wouldn’t it be to much if that’s just one side? Do you have more pictures you could email me. This is my first papermache project!!!

    Thanks,
    Hargobind

    Reply
    • I don’t have any more pictures, but if you look at the second one in that section, I think it will make more sense. That one shows the paper added to both sides of the panda’s head and body, with the cardboard down the middle. Just add as much paper as you think he’ll need to get a nice round head and tummy.

      Have fun!

      Reply
      • Thanks,
        I did that and now it looks great! Is more than one layer of newspaper better?

        Again Thanks for all your help!,
        Hargobind

        Reply
          • The Paper mache layers….and I made a lot of the flour and water batter…How do I store it…or do I have to throw away all the leftovers and make a new batter tomorrow? πŸ™

            Thanks so much!,
            Hargobind

            Reply
            • Yes, you’ll want several layers of paper mache. You can do all the layers at the same time, or you can let each one dry between layers. I tend to do them all at once. You can cover the paste with plastic wrap and put in in the fridge – that will slow down the development of mold. A teaspoon of bleach, a bit of salt, or a few drops of clove oil will also help.

  3. Hello,

    I was just wondering how long it takes to make the panda, and the estimated time it would take for someone who hasnt done much paper Mache?

    It looks really good, and i am thinging about making it for an assignment but only have about three weeks to complete it.. Do you think that will be long enough?

    Reply
    • Yes, you should be able to complete the panda in that time. The most time will be taken up with drying, so start early and give the paper mache plenty of time to dry completely before you paint it.

      Reply
  4. Hello! I have to create a 3D animal project for my 9th grade biology class! I have been browsing around your website, and you are so creative! I have a passion for elephants, and have my mind set of building one. Do you think it would be possible to make an elephant about the size of your “Playful Panda” sculpture? What would you suggest? Should i try and tackle this? I dont have any experience with paper mache :/

    Reply
  5. I’m Emma and I’m 12 years old. My science teacher assigned our class a 3D animal project. I wanted to make a paper mache animal. This one looked fun and it is coming out great so far!
    Thanks for all your help!

    Reply
      • I have 2 questions.
        1. Is it necessary to have a brown paper layer of paper mache? Or does it just make the overall appearance look cleaner?
        2. When you apply the joint compound, does the layer go on thick or thin? Should it cover the newspaper completely?
        Thanks again for all of your help!

        Reply
        • Hi Emma. You don’t need the brown paper. It’s a bit stronger than newspaper, but it really isn’t needed. I think if I did the panda over, I would use one of the home-made gesso recipes instead of the joint compound. If you mix glue to the joint compound, it dries really hard, but it’s easier to spread. And when it dries, it’s really nice to paint. You can use an old brush when you apply the thick gesso to make fur textures, too.

          Reply
  6. Hello, my name is Abbey and I gotta say…. this is amazing. I had to write a fable for my E.L.A project, then make a 3D sculpture of the main character. My is a panda of course, but there is just one problem. I made the body, the legs, and the arms all seperately thinking that it wouldn’t matter. Big Mistake!! Now I don’t know how to put the parts together and the project is due next week!! HELP!!

    Reply
    • Masking tape will do it. Put the legs on with just a few pieces of tape first, to see where they look best. If the top of the legs has too much padding to fit correctly, just pull some of it off and try again. When you find the right position for each leg, use lots of masking tape to hold it in place. And good luck with your project! Be sure to let us see him when it’s done.

      Reply
  7. hello my name is becky and im making this panda to sit on my valintins bow and it is not wrking out! i did your method and ive never done paper mache before and were having a contest for cutest brightest craziest ect. and im going for cute and my panda i turned it on its side and workec from top to bottom when i got to the middle i let it dry and it fell apart(!) what do i do i need help asap!!!!!

    Reply
    • Becky, did you tape all the legs on before you started? I’ve never had anything fall apart if it’s taped together. Give me just a little more of a description about what happened, so I can try to help. (I want you to win that contest!)

      Reply
  8. We are doing a 3d art project in school and have now 8 weeks to finish.. I am going to use the panda idea but make a winnie the pooh for my son’s room πŸ™‚ I am due in January so I gotta work fast !!! πŸ™‚ thanks for the idea

    Reply
  9. OK soooo… i got assigned panda 4 science class and she wan’ts it to look realistic and big….soooo i was wondering how u make the newspaper stick together?

    Reply
  10. Hello Jonni i need to ask a question do we have to add the last brown coat ?because i have to finish my project quickly and i do not have any time please reply as soon as possibal

    Reply
  11. saluation jonni ,no need to bother your job of your excellence work . There is a mild question i need to ask ! Is the panda project part in the end is hard ! I am sorry of the disturbace do not get disapointed !!!

    Reply
    • You can use plain white flour and water for your paste, if you’re using the paper strips method. You really don’t need glue, but some people do use it. I never did.

      Reply
  12. we r doing a panda bear sort of like yours our panda bear has to be at least four feet tall your panda gave me an idea but i think it will be diffulclut to have it stand on its legs

    Reply
    • Yes, you will need to do some drawings and sketches to see how to attach the legs to a bear that’s standing up. You might want to experiment with cardboard patterns that are quite small, and when you have the look you want, make the patterns big enough for your life-sized panda.

      Let us know how it turns out!

      Reply
  13. Man, me and my cousin are trying to make one, and we aren’t NEARLY as pro as you! :P, well we are 13 and 14, and…yeah hahah

    Reply

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