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.

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

  1. Hello! I stumbled upon your site and have been absolutely fascinated by your videos! You make it look so easy and your work is just beautiful! I started researching how to make a paper mâché bobcat for my son’s school project. I watched the raccoon videos, and think that would be a good base from which to start. Do you happen to sell the raccoon pattern that you used? Any help is much appreciated! Thank you!

  2. Hi Patricia, I was hoping you might be able to help me with a project I have in mind for my grand daughter’s bedroom wall. It’s a 3D sculpture of a mermaid (from behind, holding out a starfish) that I plan to paint the same color white as her walls. I want it to look like a plaster application– but I don’t know how to make it stick to the wall. I also don’t know whether I should start with chicken wire or some other light weight filler. I would appreciate any suggestions you have. (Your work is so wonderful and quite an inspiration to the rest of us who would love to create something beautiful!)
    Thank you for your time, Sharon

    • Hi Sharon. For a plaster look, the paper mache clay would be perfect. You could stick it directly to the wall, but it would be permanent, and if the family ever decided to move I’m not sure how they’d ever get it off. I would recommend making it as a separate piece of art, perhaps doing the sculpting over a piece of foam board. To make it really light, form the shapes with crumpled foil held on with hot glue. You can see how to sculpt with foil by watching my first video in the Egyptian blue hippo series. You will need to watch carefully to make sure the drying paper mache clay doesn’t cause the backing to curl up – that’s always a concern when working with paper mache of any kind over a flat substrate.

      Good luck with it – and be sure to come back and show it off when it’s done!

  3. paper mache
    so glad found your site
    am a clay artist and have been wanting to find a medium less toxic to the environment for awhile…and have thought about working with paper but unsure about the struggle of learning to work with a new material at this point in my life…but looking through you pages gives me more confidence to make the change….wondering if you do workshops
    Pamala

    • Hi Pamala. I’m glad you’re enjoying the site. I don’t do workshops – I live in a very small town and don’t travel much, so it wouldn’t work out very well. I hope the videos and posts will help you get started. Do you have any clay work that you’d like to share with us? Do you sculpt, make pots, or ??

    • Hello Patricia, I am responding with an idea for hanging your mermaid. If the back of your sculpture/bas relief is closed (or partially closed at the upper reverse side that would lie flat against the wall), you might create a small “keyhole” shaped opening slightly below the top edge of the back surface of the mermaid.

      The keyhole opening is a round hole with a narrower slit that runs upwards for about 3/4” to 1”. It would be wise to reinforce this area of the backing. There are small, flat, metal “plates” with such holes in them that are mounted on mirrors or picture frames for the express purpose of hanging such items. You might be able to glue such a plate onto the back of your mermaid in order to reinforce the keyhole. A single nail is then all it takes to hang your piece. The diameter of the nail head must not be bigger than the hole, and the neck of the nail must not be thicker than the slit.

  4. Hello Jonni,
    I’ve been watching your YouTube videos all morning! I have enjoyed watching and learning. I did a search question in google asking how to adhere an air dry clay sculpture to wood. I know it isn’t exactly what you do, but in line of answers I found your videos. I like your demeanor and honesty in sharing the information you have. So thank you 🙂

    It appears that I need a PVA glue. I would also like to put some sort of sealer/finish on. I heard you say something about a finish that appears like stone, but I didn’t hear exactly what the finish is. Would you mind sharing that information?

    Again, thank you so much for all the tutorials!

    Sincerely,
    D.Tayles

    • Hi D. I would probably use an epoxy glue to attach an air dry clay sculpture to wood – although I probably have used PVA glue in the past. I have been told that the really quick 2-part epoxy glue isn’t nearly as strong as the slower ones. You can find several varieties at a hardware store.

      The finish you heard me talking about is probably the DecoArt Soft-Touch varnish. I’m glad you brought it up because your comment reminded me that I don’t have enough varnish to finish the giraffe I’m working on. I just ordered more. It doesn’t look like stone, but it feels like soapstone. And it has almost no shine, which I like for my animal sculptures. If that wasn’t the finish you were referring to, let me know.

      If you’d like to show us your sculpture, we’d love to see it, even though it isn’t paper mache. 🙂

  5. Hi Jonnie,
    A while ago you did a video on a ciccada bug mask, and I replied how much I love those bugs and collect a lot of them. I tried to find a pattern to purchase but I cannot find it, could you please let me know how to get it, I really just want to make one to hang on my wall.

    • Hi Agnes. I didn’t make a pattern for it. I just started sculpting, adding a bit here and there until it looked like the dead cicada I found at the park. It was a fun project. If you’d like to go back and see how I did it, you can find the series here. Then go ahead and make one – just make it up as you go, like I did. 🙂

      • Thank you very much. I just bought one of your 4 pattern deals yesterday and downloaded it so after the holidays I need to try my hand at them and definitely the ciccada bug. How exciting. Have a great holiday.

  6. Hi , I was wondering if you have a pattern for a dinosaur my grandson loves them.preferably a tyranasaurus Rex.

    • Hi Dianna,

      I don’t have a pattern for a dinosaur, but there is a guest post on my blog showing you how to make one. Irma drew her own pattern but once you see how she made her dino you’ll see that it would be fairly easy. You can find it here.

      I’m sure your grandson would love his new dinosaur when he finds out you made it just for him. 🙂

  7. Hi Jonni, I was wondering if you have an idea (or experience) on how to make the sculptures waterproof… I would like to make one to put in the garden! Thank you

    • Hi Johanna. There are a few guest posts on the site from people who have used a product called Flex Seal to waterproof paper mache. I don’t know how long their sculptures have been outside and we don’t get regular updates. You can see Tom’s Life-Sized Bear post here.

      That said, I don’t recommend putting a sculpture made with paper outside. All of my own experiments have ended in disaster. The only way to make it waterproof paper is to coat it with some form of plastic or rubber, and if you leave even a pinhole uncovered the water will eventually seep in. The sculpture will also need to be re-coated regularly, because almost all forms of sealant will break down in sunlight.

      I recommend using a material that’s originally made for outdoor use, like epoxy clay for small items, and cement (or maybe fiberglass) for bigger ones. My epoxy clay squirrel has now survived two Minnesota winters outside and still looks the same as he did the day I made him.

      While Apoxy Sculpt and other epoxy clay products seem more expensive that paper mache to start with, there are benefits. You can use them in very thin layers like I did on my squirrel so you don’t need to buy as much, you can use the same armatures that you would use for a paper mache sculpture, and you don’t need to buy a separate (and expensive) sealer that may or may not work.

      But if you’re brave, like Tom was, do some experiments. Maybe you’ll have better luck weatherproofing paper mache than I have. 🙂

  8. Do you have a pattern for the sitting elephant. I’ve seen the YouTube video of your finishing the skin and colour however I cannot find any information on making the body. I am hoping to make this for my paper anniversary as my wife’s family is from Kenya

  9. Thanks a million Jonni, your wolf mask saved us tonight. Our son had a school project due tomorrow morning that he’s been procrastinating on. So we got started around 5:30pm tonight and finished 3 hours later. Sure we skipped over the paper mache and did a quick spray paint…it turned out quite well.

    • That was certainly a creative solution! And yes, it did come out well. I absolutely love that photo, too! Thanks for sharing. (And I hope he gets an A for his project).

    • No, I have no goat. Sorry. I’m currently working on a pattern for a piglet (it will be really cute on a kid’s wall) and then I start on a giraffe. I might make a pattern for a wild goat someday – that would be really fun.

  10. jonnie, love your work. I’m thinking of making my daughter’s bulldog’s face and want to adhere the sculpture onto canvas. Is this possible with paper mâché work and is there special glue or medium that can attach the face automatically to the canvas? How many layers need to be done in order to sculpt the face realistically? I’m looking forward to this challenge and if you have any advice…it would be most welcomed.
    Thanks
    Mar

    • Hi Julie. No, I don’t have a turkey pattern. Sorry – but that does sound like a really interesting project. Especially those tail feathers! I’ll put it on my to-do list, but it probably won’t get done this year.

  11. Dear Jonni,

    What wonderful things you make! I would like some advice from you regarding how to make an elephant’s trunk for a 3D acrylic painting. I have a paint studio and teach people to paint with Oils and Acrylic paint and one student already made a elephant and it looks great, but at some point the trunk collapsed when it was painted. we have been able to restore it by sliding plastic underneath. See the attached photo for the result. We then made the trunk with powertex over a mold of chicken wire and I now think that I have to do it with paper mache. However, I wonder if I have to leave it hollow or make it massive to prevent collapse. Do you have an idea?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Bakker. You probably already received my email, but I didn’t realize you had also posted on the site. I will stick with my suggestion that you use foil and hot glue to create your trunk, and then cover it with masking tape so the paper mache will stick. It’s much easier than working with chicken wire, and gives the sculpture support from inside. Good luck with it!

  12. Hi – I just want to let you know how much I have enjoyed your site. I have learned so much from you and I’ve recommended you to a couple of friends. Thank you so much for sharing so much and such a light hearted and simple manner.

  13. Hi, My son is doing a King Tut death mask project. He used a styrofoam head and the rest of the mask he used cardboard and ducked tape. Can he use paper mache? It needs to look museum quality.

    • Hi Sarai. Yes, he can use paper mache. It might not stick to the plastic duct tape, though. If it doesn’t, he can cover it with one more layer of masking tape, and then add the paper mache. If he wants the finished surface to be smoother, he might want to watch my video about making paper mache smooth. I hope he has fun with it.

  14. Hey Jonni, Your work is wonderful and I am happy to see all the variations of things that you can make. I second the request on the Dragon Mask Pattern. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I know you’re busy but if you can, I’d love to buy it. Thanks!

  15. hi madam,
    my name is sudha.. i love your videos. i saw ur paper mache elephants big size.
    is there any chance can i buy those elephants?
    i am seriously looking for those elephant.

    waiting for your response.

    thanks,

    • Hi Sudha. Do you mean you’d like to buy a paper mache elephant that is already put together and painted? I don’t sell them myself, and I don’t know anyone who does. But you can take the pattern of the elephant you like to a local artist, and ask them to make it for you.

  16. Hi i tried to dowload your 5 free downloadable paper mache receipes but wont load comes up error , is this still available thanks

    • It is still available. A few other people have told me they had problems with it, but they haven’t told me enough to help me fix it. I hope you have a few seconds to let me know what page you were on when you signed up. Did you fill in the form, and did the email with the download arrive in your inbox? Did the error message happen when you clicked on the download link, or when you tried to sign up?

      Knowing what happened would really help me get this fixed. I know there’s a problem, but when I fill in the form everything works, so I can’t figure out what’s wrong. I hope you’ll give me a bit more info – but in the meantime, I’ll add you to the list so the download link will be sent to you. Be sure to look for it in the next few minutes.

  17. Is your cheetah mask available as either a pattern or do you make on for sale? I have made my now 7year old grand daughter’s Halloween costumes every year since she was 8 years old. This year, she wants to be a cheetah and while I have the costume nearly done , I lack a mask. I saw yours and I know she would love it because it is so realistic and because it leaves her with movement room and does not appear too tight on her face. I hope you can answer soon as I need to get it done soon.
    Thank you

    • Hi Patricia. I don’t have a cheetah, but you might be able to make the cat mask work if you add the spots and that distinctive stripe between the eyes and muzzle. You’d also want to make the ear round, and move them down the head just a little. Those small changes would make the mask look entirely different.

      If you do try this, I hope you’ll let us see your granddaughter’s costume when it’s done. It sounds like she has a pretty cool grandma. 🙂

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