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.

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

  1. Hi Jonni,

    Thanks lot for your emails.

    Since I only want to make a cover for my robot machine (18” cube), which it has wheels, I just need shape of the legs( I can do it by myself).
    How big the the dog head need for the body parts(wide and high are 18?, I do not care about the length of the dog )? I like your 3-D Black Bear Faux Trophy Mount Pattern. Could you tell me the pattern size for my dog head?

    I can pay you first and you can email me the size of the pattern of the dog head with the steps

    Thanks a lot.

    Shu Liu from New Jersey

    • I really can’t create the armature for you, but if you look at the photo of the dog you sent, you should be able to either draw the head or draw around the photo itself and then increase the size. I thought your machine was 18 feet wide, rather than inches, so you can ignore a lot of what I said in my first reply. If you really aren’t comfortable with designing your own armature, you might be able to find an art student at your local community college who would be happy to help you with it.

    • Hi Shu Liu. We don’t have a pattern for that exact design, of course, but you can use make one of your own. Read this page to see how it can be done. Then create your own pattern based on the shapes of your dog. It looks like it will be considerably bigger (almost as big as a house!) so finding enough materials might be a challenge.Start by making a box that will easily slip over your robot machine, then add the pattern for the legs, body and head made with cardboard. Round out the forms with crumpled paper and masking tape, and cover with paper mache. It should be a fun project.

    • I should say that another option is to skip the crumpled paper and use chicken wire instead. I hate chicken wire because the little cut ends poke me, but a lot of people do use it for really large sculptures.

  2. I want to try making a life size right and left angel with their wins spread for our church. Any ideas?
    Thanks, Lynnn

    • Goodness – that is a very ambitious project. You’ll need both good figure sculpting and good engineering to keep the angels upright. If they will be standing together in a way that would make their base shaped like a triangle, that would help. If they’re to be standing separately on just two feet, you’ll need to attach the armature very firmly to a very wide base. Even if the robes reach the ground, which would make a wider base than just feet, you still have to consider the weight of the wings and the fact that they are probably not going to be directly over the center line of your sculpture. You might want to ask a carpenter for help designing the inside supports for your armature.
      If you have never made a figure sculpture before, you might want to watch this video of someone making a paper mache figure. If your angels are wearing the traditional robes, you really only need to carefully sculpt the shoulders, arms, neck and head. I found another video that shows how to use a free cardboard head armature, and that would give you a great start on your sculpture.
      For wings, you need to make them as light as possible. The ‘bones’ of the wings need to be firmly attached to the backbone of your figure, and a triangular support beneath the wings would be a good idea. You could cover the support with feathers. Without the support the weight on the tips of the wings will pull them down towards the floor. You might get some ideas for your wings from my dragon video. It had a ten-foot wing span, but the placement of the wings above the body and the dragon’s five-point stance helped to balance the wings and keep them from pulling the dragon over. You would definitely not want bat wings on your angels, but I would suggest using the aluminum mesh to cover the feathered portion of the wings. Make the single bones along the top of the wings as strong as you can get them, and then (if your fire marshal will allow it) use paper feathers to cover the mesh instead of paper mache feathers. That would make them considerably lighter. That’s a lot of feathers to cut out, but if you get some help it shouldn’t take too long. I believe you can get a roll of wide white paper at Walmart. Tape doesn’t stick to the mesh, so you’d need to use a hot glue gun to stick the feathers onto the wings. Just make sure you don’t put candles anywhere near your angels when they’re displayed. I’m really paranoid, so I wouldn’t want candles within ten feet, just in case one of the angels gets knocked over.

      Have fun – and be sure to check back and see how they come out when they’re done.

  3. Hi ,your site helped me a lot . I love to make products of papier mashe . I m a starter yet but want to know more about it . Your work is awesome .

  4. Hi Jonni, My daughter wants to make a papermache Hedwig Owl from Harry Potter. do you cover a basic owl in any of your books? thanks very much

  5. Hi There, I’m from Rio de Janeiro and I was asked to make an ox head for the Carnival of my small community. Since the name of the carnival group is “slobbing ox”. Can you help me? Thanks

  6. Dear Jonni, I bought your books “Make animal sculptures” and “How to make masks”, and I love them! And I love your work!
    I made my first piece of paper mache clay after your recipe, it worked well! It is an Orc head that I carry as a trophy, when I cosplay my Dwarf character in the world of Tolkien, I’ll try to upload a photo.
    I have a question: I want to make a mask, using the plaster mold that I already have. But then I should make a positive clay mold from it, that I can cover with paper mache. How can I avoid the clay stick to the plaster, and remove it without causing damage?

    • Hi Gerda. I’m so glad you liked the book. Thanks for letting me know!

      Did you try to upload a photo? They need to be under 250 kb, so if you tried and it didn’t work, please edit the image and try again,

      As for making a mask a sculpture when you have a plaster negative mold, you might want to check out the recent guest post by Sarah. The project is entirely different, but she was able to get a very nice casting in a plaster mold without first creating a new clay positive mold. She used paper pulp without any kind of thickener or paste. You could strengthen the mask with a thin layer of paper mache clay on the inside, or even with paper strips and paste. I don’t know how strong her paper pulp would be, but you could test it.

      I can’t remember ever making a clay casting using a plaster mold. A release agent, like petroleum jelly, might work, but you’d want to test it. The could be some damage when you pull the plaster off if there are any undercuts.

      • Dear Jonni, thank you very much for answering my question, and for your advice!
        I’ll try again to upload the photo .

      • Dear Jonni, congratulations on your amazing work, You have an amazing talent.
        I have a daughter that will be having a Quinceañera, with an “Under the Sea” theme, so I will need to create many props from starfish, seaweed, coral reef, sea horse, clam shell, a mermaid, etc.
        I would lime to ask if I could buy a mermaid pattern from you, to make the armature, and also what will be your book recomendation to learn to create the patterns for the other figures.
        I will attach a photo of a mermaid I would like as a reference. Side note, I am not a very good sketch artist. Please and thank you very much in advance on any assistance with this overwhelming project.
        Many blessings!

        • Hi Teresa,

          Your daughter must be very excited about the upcoming event! And what a great theme for it. I don’t have a pattern, though, for any human figures – and I don’t know anyone else who creates patterns for sculptures. I think the mermaid would need to be hand-sculpted the old fashioned way, but building up crumpled paper and masking tape until you achieve the shapes you need. The tail could be made with a piece of cardboard cut into the proper shapes, but the rest will need to be done by hand. It would be a fun project, but challenging. The Ballerina Bunny videos on this page might help you get started.

          My book about Making Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay does have a fish in it, and you could use the instructions in the book for making your own pattern for a seahorse. And I made a starfish a few years ago, which you can see here.

          How long do you have to complete the decorations?

    • Hi Leticia. Yes, the patterns can be used as many times as you want. If you sell your items, you would, of course, give me credit for the design. But if you need five pandas (or whatever) go for it!

  7. Hi Jonni,

    I have been looking at Brendel botanical models for a while now. They are valuable antique teaching models. They look beautiful but are too expensive to buy. Also i want models of flowers they did not make. I found a shop for the wooden stands. My main worry is thinking of a way to make thin, yet stiff curved flower petals. Any tips?

  8. I made the elephant head for a jungle theme birthday party…it was not only a fun project but it came out great! The template was like a 3D puzzle. Thanks Jonni!!

  9. Hi Jonni: I’ve followed your site for quite awhile and want to add my thanks for your wonderful, researched info…you’ve helped so many of us venture into creativity…i love your work…it’s awesome!!!

  10. Dear Jonni. I love your sculptures, and the generous way you share your knowledge and skills. I’m a kangaroo “mother’. My husband and I raise orphaned kangaroo joeys whose mothers have been killed on the roads, or sometimes by dogs or hunters, and our farm is a sanctuary where kangaroos and all other native wildlife is free to roam in safety
    I’m looking for ways to raise much needed income to help pay the large vet bills we receive when we have to take a joey or injured adult kangaroo to the vet for treatment, and am thinking of trying my hand at making small kangaroo ornaments for sale, and a large (possibly lifesize) kangaroo to place as a donation box . One thought was that donations could be ‘fed’ to the kangaroo so they drop through the body into a box the sculpture is standing on, and attached to as a means of stability for such a long-legged animal.
    Have you sculptured any kangaroos? And if so do you have a pattern and information I could use to guide me in making them? Creating anything like this would be a first for me, so I’m not sure how to go about it.
    Sending you greetings from “Down Under Down Under” on Kangaroo Island, Australia.

    • Hi Lorraine. What a wonderful place to live – right in the middle of a wildlife refuge with all those orphan kangaroos. Do they remember you as friends when they grow up?

      I have not made a kangaroo, although I would love to do it someday. However, you can make a pattern yourself using the instructions in my book How to Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay. I recommend doing one of the easier projects in the book first, then make the dachshund, because he’s sitting up on his hind legs. Very short legs, of course, but his stance is very similar to a kangaroo’s. Then use the instructions to make your kangaroo pattern. That part is easy, and you’ll already be an expert by then in sculpting an animal. I don’t know if you’ll have all the ingredients available for making the paper mache clay, but you can use traditional paper strips and paste, too.

      Once you have one pattern, and your first sculpture comes out nice, you can use the same pattern for an entire collection of kangaroos. They can all have a slightly different posture, and even different sizes, using the same pattern.

      Two-legged creatures are challenging when it comes to making them stand up, but the large feet on the kangaroo and his tail will create a triangle where the sculpture meets the table. I don’t think it will be at all difficult to make them stand up with three points. If you put them in a stance with the tail up and the head forward, a stand would be a great idea.

      If you do this, I really hope you’ll let us know how they turn out. Let me know if you have any more questions.

      • Hi Jonni. Thank you for your reply. Kangaroos are very social and family orientated animals, and stay together all their lives. To be a kangaroo mother means committing yourself to having a kangaroo family for the rest of your days (kangaroos can live 20 -25 years, and then there’s the children they have after growing up with us.) Yes, our kangaroos know us very well. As soon as they see us coming, or we call out to them, they come bounding to us.
        Life has been getting in the way of me making a start on practising, but I thank you for your suggestions and look forward to trying my hand at sculpting soon.

    • Hi Cindy. I didn’t make a pattern for the ballerina bunny. I just started with the wire armature and started adding padding until I was happy with it. That’s actually the traditional way to create an armature for paper mache, and for some sculptures (especially two-legged ones) it often works quite well. If you’d like to make your own pattern for the wire armature, draw out your sculpture to the size you’d like it to be, and then draw in the ‘bones’ for the body, legs, arms and skull. Then cut your wire to the right lengths and bend them so they fit the drawing. Put the wire armature together and start adding crumpled paper or foam. Because the wire would be made to fit your drawing, your proportions will already be set and your final sculpture should look just the way you want it to.

      Have fun!

  11. Hi Angela. I have made a female paper mache torso. I made it with strips of newspaper and did about 16 layers. I now want to put a finishing coat over it to be able to smooth out the bumps and then sand it back to into a really even shape. Can I make up your recipe and apply it over the newspaper strips as a finishing coat. I then intend to paint it in flesh tonings and then dress it in draped material.
    Your comments would be greatly appreciated.
    Regards Gaye

  12. Jonni, I would like to attempt a life size horse for our community Christmas parade, any patterns, any help or suggestions how to accomplish such a task.

    • Hi Martha. I have a pattern for a horse in my book How to Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay. I used the pattern to make a small horse, but the size doesn’t really matter. You can just make the pattern larger by using larger squares on your grid (that makes sense after you read the first few chapters). I wouldn’t use a cardboard pattern for something that big, though. You would probably want to use 1/4″ plywood, or even thicker if you think it will be handled a lot.

      When I made my life-sized baby elephant I discovered that crumpled paper is really heavy. If I made another large animal, I’d fill out the rounded shapes with empty milk jugs or even bubble wrap, and then fill in the finer details with crumpled foil. It would make it a lot easier to move it around.

      And one last suggestion – horses have long legs, and it would be easy to tip a lightweight horse over if someone leaned on it. You might want to use some metal brackets to attach the plywood legs to another piece of plywood to act as a stand, then add your padding and paper mache. It would be a lot more stable that way.

      Have fun. And be sure to let us see your horse when it’s done!

  13. Hi Jonni
    would this recipe be suitable for making a mascot head? I had planned on using traditional papier mache recipe with newspaper. I much prefer your recipe and the possibilities for more detail would be great, I just wondered if this would be too heavy.
    many thanks

    • Hi Mary. It will be heavier than just a few layers of paper strips and paste, but you can use a very thin layer of the paper mache clay if there’s something under it to give it support. Since the head will be hollow, you might want to experiment with using paper strips and paste first, with a thin layer of the paper mache clay over it to smooth everything out and make a nice surface to paint.

    • Hi Bela. It’s probably a good time to be thinking of the holidays – they always tend to sneak up on me when I’m not ready. 😉

      You might want to check out some of the holiday tutorials on the Paper Mache Library page. There may be something there that you would enjoy making.

  14. Hi Jonni, I have made a baby Indian elephant using your plans in memory of my brother Andrew. Andrew was born with Downs syndrome and was recently diagnosed with liver cancer. The family made sure that Andrews final months were used to create as many memories as he could. One of the the activities that Andrew chose was a day out at the zoo, so from there I decided to make a baby Indian elephant and found your website. Thank you so much for sharing these plans…..I am very proud of my elephant named Andy. Sadly Andrew passed away on the 19th June, he did however get to see the elephant nearly finished and thought it was great!

    • What a wonderful idea – and I’m so glad Andrew got to see your elephant, even though it wasn’t quite done. It must have meant a lot to him. Did you try to upload an image with your comment? We would love to see Andy the elephant. If you tried and it didn’t work, you might need to edit the photo to make it smaller.

      Where will the elephant live now? Do you have a spot for it at home?

  15. Where can I find the boer goat pattern? And maybe directions? This would be awesome for my daughter’s 4-h project…any tips for making a body

    • Hi Angela. I ended up sculpting this one free-hand, so there is no pattern. I did start with one, but there were so many changes along the way that I threw it out. That happens sometimes… 😉

      However, you can make a pattern for just the head of a goat if you can find a photo of a goat that’s taken directly from the side. Trace around the outside edge of the head, and you have your pattern. It would go on the inside of the sculpture, the way I made the Bongo faux trophy mount.

      If you want to make the whole goat, legs and all, there are a lot of tutorials for animal sculptures in the Paper Mache Library. And for a full course in how to make animal sculptures, I wrote a book called “Make Animal Sculptures With Paper Mache Clay.”

      And you can find some tips on posing your goat here.

      Have fun!

Leave a Comment

Heads up! You are attempting to upload an invalid image. If saved, this image will not display with your comment.

Heads up! You are attempting to upload a file that's too large. Please try a smaller file smaller than 250KB.

Note that images greater than 250KB will not be uploaded.