Downloadable Patterns for Paper Mache Sculptures and Masks
The easy way to create beautiful handcrafted works of art.
Lion King Jr. Headdress Patterns:
Jenny W. said:
I built EIGHT headdresses for our community theater’s production of Lion King Jr. – What an experience! I enjoyed every step of the process and learned so much! The kids loved them.
I will be downloading more of your patterns for my own projects – they are amazing. The instructions and video tips are excellent, too! I can’t wait to attempt another creation!
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How to use the downloadable (PDF) patterns:
Build Your Own Custom Set of Patterns and Save! Get 15% Off Any Order of $30 or More. Use code 15%OffOver30
Skye S. said:
I was commissioned to make a lion mask for a music video, and I’m so happy with how it turned out! It’s been a while since I used paper mache but this project was a blast. Thanks Jonni for such a great pattern!
About the mask and sculpture patterns…
These downloadable patterns are designed for adults (thirteen or older). They will help you create sculptures or masks you can be proud of. This is not the paper mache you remember from grade school!
Because they’re designed for adults, young kids probably won’t have enough patience 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 and adults have a lot of fun, and they’re excited when they see how well their sculptures turn out. Plus, creating art together is a wonderful bonding experience that will be remembered for years.
How 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 was in a real hurry to complete a school project, so he used spray paint directly over the cardboard on his wolf mask. It came quite nice. 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?
If you have a question about putting your pattern together or painting it, leave a comment below or on the Daily Sculptors page. I read all comments and answer them as soon as I can, usually within a few hours. Some of my readers might ideas for you, too — we have a very supportive community on this site.
Downloading your files: To see exactly how the downloading process should work, click here. If your pattern doesn’t download correctly and you can’t see the solution on that page, let me know right away so I can help. This is a one-person business, but I check my inbox regularly and will respond as fast as I can.
566 thoughts on “Patterns for Paper Mache Sculptures and Masks”
Thank you so much for this resource! I also built 9 lions for our school production. I printed the patterns onto card stock from my inkjet printer. Other teachers took kits I made, and cut out the pattern pieces for me. Some taped them together for me as well. Some cut the paper strips for me. I sat at family events and put foil, eyes, and masking tape on. The Agricultural Leadership class got started applying the paper strips with the glue, and I finished over vacation. My artist son and daughter-in-law helped design and paint.
Two things I did differently…I reinforced pieces 22 and 23, the brace that goes behind the mask and onto the cap. I also reinforced the template for the Temporary Mask Stand.
Then, I sewed the Temporary mask stand onto the outside velcro strap of a black baseball hat. The mask slid right over it. So the mask is mounted on the mask stand, sewn to the outside of the adjustible strap of the hat. I hot-glued the brace from the back of the mask to the top of the baseball cap. The students wore the black baseball caps backward, with the brim behind and the lower edge of the mask sitting just above their eyebrows.
It was very stable and comfortable, and worked very well!
Thanks, Cindy! I didn’t realize that you could make the masks with cardstock instead of cereal box cardboard, but with the reinforcing you added, and the great idea about the baseball caps, it sounds like it worked great. Congratulations for organizing so many people to help you – that’s a creative project, all by itself. By the way, if you’d like to show off your masks, we’d love to see them. 🙂
I was watching the Smooth On videos about how to make a mold for repairing an antique picture frame when I suddenly thought about making a squirrel sculpture for my garden, typed that in and I fell into the heaven-on-earth blog/videos that is Ultimate Paper Mache. Many of the instructors on the Internet have moved to viewer-pay sites and I what to express my awe and respect for you as an artist who gives so much away to people who want to create art but need a teacher to begin. I expect that I will learn more about you as time goes on; you must be a professional pattern maker/artist/teacher with a background in communications because you are so natural and professional. You are amazing in many ways. And the squirrel pattern! Wow! I also wanted to mention that I was told that exterior acrylic paint is now being manufactured in artist size tubes. I was in the Dick Blick store lately and they didn’t have it in stock yet, but that does sound interesting. You should something like an Oscar or the Nobel Peace Prize for teaching on-line because no one does a blog like you do. And you even reply to comments. I’m a new fan of you personally and artistically. ~Ginene, Illinois
HI Ginene – thank you so much for your kind comments! By coincidence, my daughter, who is also a professional artist, made a video for us about using latex paint. She just bought the paint in sample-sized containers at out local DIY store. You can find her video here.
I’ve been blogging for nine years. I just want to compliment you on your natural style and professional ease and delivery. I live in New Orleans and we are kind of crafty here, so I may try one of these for a project. Anyway, just wanted to let you know you’re doing a great job with your videos and sites. Strong work! Your creations are just spectacular. Have a great day.
Thank yo so much, Erin. That means a lot to me. I appreciate your kind thoughts. 🙂
WOW! Where have you been all my life? I have made animal masks and whole horse costumes out of paper bags for decades, but your paper mâché works of art are what I have been dreaming of! I have been in charge of the costumes at my kids’ school for several years, and I wish I had known about you when I started! We’re doing Into the Woods this spring, and your wolf and cow heads are exactly what we need. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! It’s going to be fun to make these for the play, but I think I will make more, just for the fun and beauty of them!
Hi Paula. I’m so glad you found the site! When you get the wolf and cow done, I hope you’ll come back and show them off on the Daily Sculptors page. We’d love to see how they turn out. 🙂
Do you have a mask for beast from beauty and the beast? I bought several of your designs last year for our schools production of the lion king. They were a huge hit! I would love to continue the tradition!
Hi Jill. No, I don’t have a mask for that play. I should try to find a list of plays that are popular for school productions, because I didn’t even know they’d made a play out of that story. Sorry I can’t help this year. 🙁
You should do all the Disney Jr productions! Our school is doing The Little Mermaid this year and it would be awesome to have a flotsam and jetsam head to make!
I have to confess that I haven’t seen that movie, or the play. I just now searched for Flotsam and Jetsam masks, and I couldn’t find any. But I’m not sure I could do it anyway, because I have to be careful to not violate any copyright or trademark designs. Do those characters usually wear masks in the Disney Jr play?
do you have a pattern for an octopus that would fit on a shelf and back wall – an alcove
There’s no pattern for an octopus, but Cindy wrote a great tutorial showing how she made her octopus. It’s a lot larger, but you might get some good tips.
Hello, my name is Robert and i would like some tips from you. I want to make a dinosaur/ brachiosaurus for my Wife but i don’t know how, could you give me some tips please?
With regards and respect Robert
Hi Robert. I’d suggest starting with a cardboard pattern on the inside, so you’ll get all the shapes right from the start. Then fill out the round forms with crumpled foil or paper, and add your paper mache. You can see a video I made about creating the cardboard patterns here.
Hi! I was wondering what paper size you printed your patterns on that you used in your Rabbit, Deer, Zebra, and Elephant paper-mache head YouTube videos? Im struggling to match my rabbit size with the one in your video. printing it on normal letter size comes out way too small, then I tried 11×17 and built the whole head and it turned out huge. Knowing what size paper you used would help me a ton!
Hi Sarah. The paper size for all my patterns is letter sized. Be sure to have your printer set to print at “actual size” or 100%.
The jackrabbit is the smallest pattern I have, and all the pieces are quite small.
I’ve been working on several items made of paper mache for an “Alice in Wonderland ” themed party and was about to the end when I found your site. And, I found it as I was looking for how to smooth out my items ( I’ve got some sharp ridges from wrinkles in my paper).
So my question now is can I apply the paper mache clay over existing paper mache to get it smooth?
Yes, you can do that. A very thin layers should be enough.
thank you so much. I’ll try to send you a picture when I’m finished. I’m attempting to make a model of Abosolem for a little girl’s birthday party, as well as get my mushroom heads to quit flaking off. Hopefully this will take care of it
Hello, my daughter is going to be a dog in a Noah’s arc play at school so I’m going to attempt the wolf mask, but she would like floppy ears like a golden retriever instead, how can I achieve this? Thank you
Hi Jessica. Print out the ears on regular paper, and then re-draw them before cutting them out. A retriever’s ears are longer, so you would move the edges marked 10 and 11 farther down. Try them on the mask to see if they’re long enough after they’re bent at the top. If they look good, go ahead and glue the new ears to cereal box cardboard and attach them to the mask. The points should be facing the front of his head.
I hope this helps. Have fun!
I just found you today and have been on your site for hours and hours. Just read this question about the retriever mask. ( struck me because my niece trains retrievers for veterans). Have you ever tried adding cloth, fur, wired ears to a mache mask???? Seems doable , maybe…..
Really have to quit reading and get some sleep……
I usually become possessed with my mom’s creative spirit at Christmas…… May be possessed year round now after finding your site….. Thank you from my heart….
Hi Theresa. I’m glad you found the site. 🙂 I have added wire to some of the ears on my critters, but I can’t remember which ones right now. But you can see how a lot of people have added cloth. fur, and a variety of other things to their lions here. There are lots of other sculptures that have been submitted that use a variety of things, in addition to paper mache, but the lions were the easiest ones to link to. Almost anything can be used, as long as it can be securely attached to the mask. Have fun! 🙂
Hi Jonni! I get to teach an art class at my homeschool co-op this upcoming school year and I was wondering which of your patterns would be the easiest. The wolf, fox, and cat looked good but I was curious what you would suggest.
I love your work. You are so talented.?? My question is about the cat head. I need to make a 3d cat for a float for a cat rescue. I think your paper mache will be perfect. Do you have a body that I can be attached to it?
No, I don’t have a body pattern for a cat. However, you can make a different kind of pattern yourself. This video shows you how.
Hi. I’m looking for a pattern for a large Thanksgiving Turkey and a Luau-type of roasted pig (with an apple in its mouth). Any thoughts?
Hi Melinda. We have a guest post about a Thanksgiving turkey that looks so real it’s hard to believe it’s paper mache. You can find Betsy’s post here. I think she used the pattern-making method that you can see in this video. Since you wouldn’t have to add the feet, head or feathers, you could really just draw out the body and drumsticks on cardboard and start sculpting with your crumpled paper, like Betsy did.
I recently received an email from someone who used my pig’s head pattern to help make a paper mache ‘roasted’ pig. She drew out the body and leg outlines on cardboard, just like the turkey, and then made the pig using the directions that come with the pattern. Then she stuck them all together and added paper mache and some very realistic roasted pig skin with paper mache and paint.
Are you using your turkey and pig for props for a play?
Thank you so much. I’ll take a look. I’m making these things for our church VBS in June. This will be my first paper matches project! Wish me luck! I’ll send pics.
Do you have a pattern for the baby orangutan mask? Or a way to make it have a head in back?
I don’t have a pattern, but it’s really easy to sculpt one yourself. To get a cap on the back, you can use a head-sized bowl covered with plastic wrap for a form. If it’s about the shape of a baseball cap that fits, that would be perfect. When both the face and the cap are covered with paper mache and dry, use more paper strips and paste to connect them together. Have fun! 🙂
Do you offer classes?
No, I don’t have any classes, but my book Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay is ‘class,’ sort of. It starts with really easy projects and takes you through to much more challenging projects at the end. What kind of class would you be interested in?
I’m wondering if you can recommend a program for creating my own mask forms? I tried searching for 3D modeling that can convert to printing flat polygon patterns, but am clueless. I’m needing a chicken and goat for a 10 minute play my co-op theatre students are performing in three weeks, and can’t find patterns for sale that I like.
Hi Stephanie. 3D modeling is not a fast skill to master, I’m afraid. There are some low-poly animal tutorials on YouTube using the Blender program, but even after you get that figured out you then need to learn how to convert the 3D file to a flat file in Pepakura. It looks easy, but it’s not. I did use these programs for my elephant, bear, frog and bear patterns, but each one took me at least a month to complete. It’s now been years since I used them and I can’t remember how to do it. I’ve considered trying it again, but I would have to give myself another month to learn it all over again – they keep updating Blender and moving the buttons around.
But there’s an easier way to make multiple identical masks that is much faster anyway, and it produces much more realistic masks. Just create your sculpture using clay, and then make a silicone mold of it. I have a video showing how to do it, and it’s the way I recommend to anyone who wants to make multiple copies of the same design. You can find that video here: https://www.ultimatepapermache.com/how-to-make-a-silicone-mold-for-paper-mache
If you really only need one chicken and one goat, there’s an even easier method – make your original with clay, cover it with plastic wrap, and use it as a positive mold. You might even be able to use the same form for several duplicates before the clay gets too damaged. You can see how to do that here: https://www.ultimatepapermache.com/paper-mache-african-mask
Good luck with it! I hope you’ll show off your masks on the Daily Sculptors page when they’re done! 🙂