Downloadable Patterns for Paper Mache Sculptures and Masks

It’s never been easier to create beautiful, realistic animal sculptures for your home. Or choose one of the mask patterns for your next big party.

Patterns and templates for paper mache masks and sculptures.

Pattern Sets:

Single Patterns:

About the mask and sculptures patterns…

These downloadable patterns are designed to help grownups create sculptures or masks they can be proud of. This is not the paper mache you remember from grade school!

Because they’re designed for adults, young kids won’t have the patience they need to cut out the pattern pieces and tape them together. Some of the patterns also require sharp knives for cutting cardboard.

However, many children have helped their parents and grandparents create sculptures and masks using these patterns. The kids have a lot of fun while they’re adding the paper mache and painting the faces, and they’re excited when they see how well their sculptures turn out. Plus, creating art together is a wonderful bonding experience that both kids and adults enjoy.

But please – don’t expect very young children to use these patterns without your help. For that, the artist should be thirteen or older.

cow mask pattern pieces and instructionsHow do the patterns work?

Most of these armature patterns create all the basic shapes for you. Just cut them out of card stock or cardboard as indicated in the instructions, tape the pieces together, and cover them with just one layer of paper mache or paper mache clay.

Then add your own creative touches and a coat of acrylic paint, and you’ll have a one-of-a-kind mask or sculpture that could be treasured for years.

A few of the patterns go on the inside of your sculpture, and you add the rounded forms with crumpled paper or foil. The life-sized standing elephant, the unicorn and bunny, and the baby panda all work this way. This is the same way all the projects in my best-selling book Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay are made.

Do you have to use paper mache to create sculptures and masks with these patterns?

Paper mache and paper mache clay work well for these sculptures. That’s how I made most of these masks and sculptures myself, with the exception of the baby unicorn and mini-bunny, which were made with Apoxie Sculpt.

Some people have covered the wolf and lion masks with fake fur. And one of our younger artists used spray paint directly over the cardboard on his wolf mask. So – use whatever material your own creative genius comes up with, and then come back and show it off so we can see how it comes out. 🙂

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.  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.

329 thoughts on “Patterns for Paper Mache Sculptures, Masks and Wall Art”

  1. buenos días sra muy hermosos tus vídeos vivo en Venezuela y buscando la forma de sobrevivir quiero aprender hacer figuras con el papel mache; quisiera saber si tienes algún modelo que me regalas ya que veo tengo que pagar para descargarlos no tengo el dinero este es mi correo muchas gracias…

  2. Hi, have come across your (awesome) site and am keen to make some paper clay; instead of buying from my local pottery supply like I usually do…
    As I was a picture framer in a previous life I have saved lots of off-cuts of rag board (mount board used in picture framing, 100% rag, archival…you probably know the stuff..). Is this suitable to make paper clay out of and any hints how to best break down the board; lots of soaking and a food processor?
    Kind regards,

    • I’m not sure – it will probably take a long soaking time to soften it enough so it can go through any kitchen appliance. I know you can break brown Kraft paper in a blender if you use lots of water, so your rag board might work that way, too. Soak it overnight to try it out, and then put just a little of the paper into your blender or food processor with plenty of water. Don’t overload it, or it could burn out the motor.

      If you want to do lots of it, and it looks like it will fall apart if it’s soaked long enough, you could put the board into a large bucket with water, and then use a paint mixer attachment on a drill to break the fibers apart. I don’t know if it would work, but it would be worth a try.

  3. I would like to use the paper mache clay to make containers and odd shaped vessels. Would I need an armature or just sculpt over a bowl or some shape. Will the clay release from the shape?

    • Hi Mary. Paper mache clay was intentionally designed to be sticky so it will hang onto an armature. To keep it from sticking you can cover your bowl with plastic wrap. Get the bowl wet first, so the plastic will hang onto it. It would be best, if possible, to use the inside of the bowl as your form. Paper mache clay is water-based, so it shrinks a little when it dries. If the form is really solid, like a bowl, the paper mache clay can crack.

  4. I watched your youtube video of how you made the baby elephant. Thank you for so much information.

    I was planning on using chicken wire on a wood platform (15″ oval) for the foundation and paper mache over that. No wood frame for the dog. The dog I am planning to make will be life size. The dog will stand 25″ high at the top of the head and will be in a sitting position.

    My question is have you ever tried using chicken wire only and that is the reason you went to wood as the base?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Iris. I have two reasons for not using chicken wire, and they’re totally personal. First, the cut ends of hundreds of wires are very sharp, and they poke holes in my hands and arms. I have found that vinyl-covered chicken wire is a little less aggressive, but I’m still clumsy…

      Second, I can’t see the shape of chicken wire until it’s covered with masking tape or something else that’s solid. It’s not a problem with my eyes, but with the way my brain works. When chicken wire is ‘naked,’ all I can see is a tangle of wires and air.

      But there is a practical reason, too. Empty chicken wire, unsupported by anything solid, is fragile. Even with the paper mache over it, a bump against a door frame will leave a huge bend in the shape and tear the paper mache. It’s used a lot for temporary structures like parade floats because they need to be very light – and they’ll only be used once. I want my own sculptures to last for years, so I want something solid inside. However, I have made strong, light-weight hollow sculptures by putting plaster cloth over a clay model. Then I removed the clay and covered the plaster cloth with paper mache clay or my air dry clay recipe. My rhino was made that way, and it’s holding up well.

      If you do use the chicken wire, be sure to cover it with masking tape before adding the paper mache. You don’t want the paper mache to fall through the holes. And do remember to come back and show off your dog – more people will find it if you post it on the Daily Sculptors page.

  5. Hello again, I left a comment on your tutorial that I couldn’t open your patterns on g00gle… But, I just found them through your link.
    YAY!!! ?? HOWEVER, am still l? king for college dragon patterns.
    Really enjoy your tutorials! Appreciatively, Gloria

    • Hi Gloria. We didn’t get that other comment, but it sounds like you have it all figured out anyway. Be sure to let me know if you have any questions about it. But I think your spell-check may have helped a little too much in your question about the king for college dragon. I don’t know what that means. Give it another try? 🙂

  6. I am so impressed with your work and was very excited to find. I lost my my dog last spring and miss her dearly. So I’ve been working on several dogs in the last few months. Most I took apart. Now I think I’m on right track. Trying to use all recycled materials. Will buy the wire. I’m not hip to untube but somehow found you there. I suppose my ? Is, should I just find first video again and just take my time and work thru a step at time. I did manage to scketch dog and then had help to make bigger on poster size homemade graph paper. I by no means expect it to look or be like my dog, but I will love her just the same. Wanted to thank you for your inspiration. Your the best. Thanks, Beth

    • Hi Beth. I’m not sure how to answer your question, because we have so many tutorials on the site. And, of course I wrote a book about sculpting animals, which includes a dachshund as one of the projects. My book about tiny paper mache dogs probably wouldn’t be too useful to you, because it sounds like your sculpture will be quite a lot larger than tiny. If you have any questions about the process, be sure to ask. In fact, if you ask on the Daily Sculptors page, a lot more people will probably see your comment and it will give more people a chance to help out.

  7. Would the giraffe or elephant pattern work for an over the head in addition to the 4 Lion King patterns? I am directing the Lion King Jr and am impressed with your costume ideas.

    • Hi Lynn. Quite a few people have attached the bottom of the giraffe to a bicycle helmet, and that works well. I don’t have a pattern for a helmet-style giraffe so you’d need to fiddle with it to get it to work. I don’t have a helmet-style elephant pattern either, and that would be a little more difficult. It would probably be easier to attach a pole to the flat back piece, and let the players hold the elephant head in front of them.

  8. Is it safe to use a heat gun to speed the process of drying? I am hoping to dry the outside so I can remove the inside plastic/tape base to heat and dry inside the mask as well.

    I made a Batman mask

    • I don’t know if it’s safe or not, and I don’t know what kind of paper mache you’re using. I do know that the paper mache clay should never be heated above 200° F because it starts to burn, and that doesn’t smell good. Paper strips and paste-type paper mache can catch fire. I would be extremely careful – or just put your mask in front of a fan, which will help the paper mache dry quickly without having to worry about burning down the house.

  9. Is it ok to use a heat gun to speed the process of drying? I made my first full head mask, and may have made it a bit thick. I’m hoping to use a heat gun to help dry it out on the outside so I can remove the plastic/duck tape base and heat the inside. The entire mask is still mushy to the touch, even though it’s in my kitchen under the AC vent over 12 hours. I think there’s about a 1/4 inch of clay all over.

    I made a Batman mask…..

    • Hi Jay. I didn’t see this version of your comment before replying to the other one. Paper mache clay applied that thick will take several days to dry. A fan will help, but you still need to give it time to dry all the way through. The duct tape will prevent air from reaching the back side, and that slows down the drying time, too. Be patient. 🙂

  10. Hi Jonni, You are an absolute delight in your most generous presentations, -& obviously a very talented lady!
    Two questions, Can one use newsprint in place of brown paper
    And do you have a life sized pattern for a sheep?
    Thank you, Aine

    • Hi Aine. Thanks for your kind comments. 🙂

      Yes, you can use newspaper – but no, I don’t have a pattern for a sheep. It would be a lot of fun, but I haven’t had time to make one yet.

  11. Hi, I love your work as a beginner i was hoping to make a hallow sphere, I wondered if this techniques would be suitable, I would be doing to half’s and gluing them together? Any advice would be appreciated
    Tia x

    • I’m not sure which technique you’re referring to. We use lots of different methods on this site, and a lot of different recipes. However, when I made my globe, using a rubber ball for the form, I use a layer of plaster cloth first, and then a layer of paper strips and paste. The plaster cloth hardens quickly, which makes it easier to cut it in half and then put it back together. What do you intend to use as your form?

  12. I want to use the paper mache clay in a mold and glue it to walls, drawers, etc. Would the smoother, air-dry recipe work for this? What glue would be appropriate to attach these pieces to walls and furniture if the surface is already painted? I know this isn’t really what you do with your clay, but I am hoping you can help me anyway. Thank you!

    • Hi Lori. The original paper mache clay recipe doesn’t work well in molds because of the texture, but a lot of people have used the smooth air dry clay in small silicone molds. They say it works very well. The glue question is a little outside my expertise, but I think you could use a good wood glue, if you sand the surface first. If you try this, I would love to see how it comes out, so be sure to post a photo.

      • Bonjour jonni je souhaite réaliser avec mes élèves (10ans) de petits objets avec la technique du colombin.est ce possible avec votre recette de papier mâché ? Cordialement

        • Bonjour. You can use paper mache clay to make a pigeon – is this the right word? Google translate isn’t perfect, I’m afraid. However, you would want to test it at home first, to make sure it would be suitable for your class.

  13. I want to make a head for charlie brown characters. Can I cover a beach ball with this and then pop the beach ball and cut out a hole to put over my head. Will it work with this clay?

    • Hi Carolyn. I haven’t used paper mache for hollow items, except for my doll heads, a humpty dumpty sculpture made with a balloon, and a globe built over a rubber ball. In all cases, I used plaster cloth to create the initial base because it hardens quickly and the threads help reinforce the shapes. After the forms were removed I used either the air dry clay recipe (for the doll heads) or paper strips and paste. A very thin layer of the air dry clay or just one or two layers of paper strips are needed if the plaster cloth is used. However, a lot of my regular readers actually have more experience with the air dry clay than I do. You might want to post your comment on the Daily Sculptors page, too, to get more ideas.

  14. I would like to make a rabbit mask for my Halloween costume this year (more on the creepy side) but I need help with the shape. Do you have a pattern for that?

    • Hi Kelli. I don’t have a rabbit mask yet. A creepy rabbit would be a lot of fun, though. I would suggest starting with a plastic mask form or even some crumpled foil to give you a support, and then sculpt your rabbit with oil-based clay. Cover the clay with paper mache to create the final mask. I have a video here (not a rabbit, but the technique would be the same). You don’t need to use the Elmer’s Art Paste that I used in the video – any paste recipe will work.

  15. Hi , I love your videos .
    I want to make the air drying mache clay but I have no idea what joint compound is
    I live in the uk. I wonder if any one can help me .
    Many thanks ,
    Dorne x

    • I believe it’s called “joint filler” in the UK. As the fellow at the hardware store for the premixed version. It’s normally used to fill the cracks between sheets of plaster board, which is also called drywall, on new walls.

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