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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. 🙂

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. 🙂 )
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 don’t see any images on this page. Are there supposed to be images? If not, is there a way to add them. It really helps to visualize the process. Thanks!

    Reply
        • I’ve never been to South Africa, so I can’t test it for you. The only way to find out is to get the smallest amount available, mix it with water to make it look like wet plaster, and then mix it with the other ingredients. If it’s primarily made of some form of calcium, either calcium carbonate or gypsum, it will probably work. The label might not give you that information, though, so you’ll just have to experiment.

          Reply
  2. Hi, i have just discovered your website and can’t wait to try a project. Two suggestions for future projects, a lifelike sea otter and penguin. These are my little boys favourite animals. He would be so excited if I could make them for him. Thanks for the great tutorials and recipes.

    Reply
  3. Hi Jonni,
    I have to make a panda for my school project. like the one you have made. I have made pinnatas before but this will be a first for me. I hope to succeed. Thanks a ton for your guidance.
    Ambica from Pune, India

    Reply
  4. i made the newspaper ball but I don’t understand how to connect it to the cardboard pieces please help me I need an answer quick

    Reply
    • I made the pattern the same size as my panda, so I when I printed the document I chose “print at document print size” and it worked just fine. I don’t know a thing about iPads, though. The final panda was less than 11 inches, ears to toes, if that helps. Of course, you can make your panda any size you want.

      Reply
      • yeah but still 11 inches doesn’t say enough. i’m doing this for a school thing so i need to be accurate but it doesn’t even say any restrictions on it. i know you didn’t make it originally but what did you do when you were making it? by the way don’t reply i’m in school.

        Reply
        • The final size of the panda depends on how big you print or draw the pattern, how you position the legs, and how thickly you apply the paper mache. You’ll be able to get accurate measurements after you’ve made your panda. If you need to know the exact measurements before you start, just draw your own pattern to your own needed measurements.

          I don’t understand the question about restrictions (what sort of restrictions do you mean?) and I don’t understand what you meant when you asked “what did you do when you were making it?”. All of the instructions are on this page.

          Reply
        • Oh my goodness, this lady (Joni good) has put her heart and soul in to supplying these wonderful objects, with tutorials not just selling her book and I am appalled mona as a teacher you are speaking to her like this. Your family must have had hindsight when they named you

          Reply
  5. Hi I loved the Panda from the first time I saw it a few months ago, I plan to do the Panda project for two of my great grandchildren for Xmas. I have made Paper mâché Bears a number of times. I have made 5 to be exact. This year they were on display at a monumental birthday celebration for me.
    Other members in my family have placed requests for bears. To keep me inspired, I need to making new designs or it coul get boring.
    The panda is a good place to begin. Any ideas?…….D.

    Reply
    • I would love to see those bears you made – do you happen to have a photo you could share? And there are so many kinds of bears. The panda is fun because of the black and white patterns, but there are so many different kinds and colors, that you could keep making new ones for years. And then there’s the lesser panda… Not a bear, of course, but so cute.

      Reply
      • Hi Jonni, thank you for your reply.
        Yes, I do have a picture of all five of the bear family from my birthday celebration. My grandchildren brought them for this event this past April.. I sent the picture to Pintrest just now as I had started a paper mache board to get some new ideas..I hope I can get it on the board. How can I send it to you? I am open to suggestions as to which route to take.. D. McDowell

        Reply
  6. I am a 13 year old my holidays were going boring so i decided to make something interesting i usually made tiny models but this was the first model that was big thank you for helping me i hope i followed you well.

    Reply
    • Kuhu, I think you tried to show us a photo, but the upload didn’t work. Please try again – you may need to edit the photo to make it small enough for the uploader plugin to work.

      Reply
  7. my holidays were going boring so i decided to make something interesting i only used to make small models but you helped me to make a big model Thank you very much i hope I made a matching like panda of yours.

    Reply
    • Yes, you can do that. Many artists use what they call “paper mache pulp,” which is the mixture you described.

      Reply
  8. hi my daughter needs to make a 3d paper mache koala for school but we need ideas. How should she make it? What materials should she use? and how long will it take to make? She would also like to make the sculpture life size. Please Help

    Reply
  9. Thanks! Oh, and what are the dimensions for the panda? Is the print-out outline the same size as the one you used? Sorry for all the questions!

    Reply
    • Yes, my panda was the same size as the one on the printable image, but you can make your panda any size you like. Mine is about 7 or 8 inches high.

      Reply
    • I haven’t tested the two recipes side by side to see which one dries fastest. I think they would be about the same. The difference is in the consistency – the original pm clay spreads much like thick frosting, and the air-dry clay is stiffer and can be pressed into shapes by hand. The other difference is the finish – the original has more paper, so it isn’t as smooth as the new air dry clay. They both use the same ingredients (mostly) so whip up a batch of each and see which one you prefer.

      Reply
  10. Hi Jonni!
    I tried to make your playful panda. I adapted the hands and feet to make it Winnie the Pooh. I also made a honey pot. Your work is so inspiring!

    Reply
    • Hi Sam. Since you make all the pieces separately, just put all the pieces together in the position you like before taping them together.

      Reply
  11. I was searching online (I’m really bad at searching) for how to make a paper mache baby form so I can make an angel for someone for Christmas cause they lost their child a while back and was asked to make an baby angel for them. I clicked on this and your baby panda showed up. I was giggling at this, because it so cute. But it won’t for what I need. 🙁 I am going to try this some other time though because it is so adorable….back to searching for a baby form. it’ll take me a couple of weeks to find..:)

    Reply
    • I meant to say it wouldn’t work for what I need. I am so loosing my mind right now 🙂 gotta love me!

      Reply

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