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.

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.

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

  1. Hi Jonni

    Love this site. I’m looking to make a life size Oscar Statue (about 5ft tall) and I’m undecided in how to start my pattern. I see you often start with a side profile pattern for your animal sculptures but I was thinking it may be best to start with a front view first for this project then do the back, what would you suggest?

    • Hi Bill. That would probably work best. I haven’t used patterns for figure sculptures yet, but if I did I’d probably do it your way. Good luck with it!

  2. I am so impressed by your work. I need to make a horse- not life size, but larger than a toy for a civic club event that has a theme of the Kentucky Derby (horse racing). I have to have a pattern as this is new to me. I know you don’t have a horse pattern, but do have a unicorn pattern. Any suggestions? Thank-you for your help.

    • Hi Shay. I suppose you could make the unicorn pattern a lot larger with the grid method or by printing it larger, but it doesn’t really have the proportions of a real horse. You should watch my video that shows you how to make a pattern for a four-legged animal using a photo or drawing. It will make the type of pattern that only sets the outlines of the body, head and legs, but it won’t fill out all the rounded forms of the face and body like the head patterns on this page. But it will certainly get you started. You can see the video here.

      If you want to make a smaller horse to practice, it’s one of the last projects in my book.

      Happy sculpting!

  3. Hello Jonni..
    I am making a face mask and I wondered if I could use Watercolour paint in the gesso mix ?
    Blessings .

    Nicholas Williamson

    • Great – thanks! I hope you like it. When you finish some of the projects come back and show them off on the Daily Sculptors page. I’d love to see how they come out.

  4. Hi Jonni,
    I have just recently decided to try to work with paper mache’ to make marionette puppets and dinosaur statues. I have enjoyed watching your You-Tube videos on your techniques and the inspiration it has given me to resume my creativity. It has been many years since I have worked with the traditional flour paper mache’ formula and I love your new version of the clay. I have tried making one batch already and it came out sticky and lumpy. Although this first batch was a failure I am keen to try again. I need a very thin consistency to apply a final smoothing coat to the details of my marionette faces without altering their features too much. Do you have any suggestions for me?

    • Hi Theresa. The paper mache clay isn’t supposed to be lumpy, but it is supposed to be sticky. It replaces paper strips and paste, so it needs to hold on to the armature. Perhaps you used more paper than you need? In any case, there’s another recipe that would probably work better for you. I use my smooth air dry clay recipe when I make my dolls. You can find that recipe here. I think you’ll like it much better.

  5. Hi Jonni, I need to create a large octopus for an Under the Sea banquet on March 23, I am running out of time, any suggestions on which recipe would be best to use and what would be the best way to make the armature for the legs.

    • Hi Nancy. For the armature, I’d use the same method that I used in my recent video, but instead of using a side view I’d try to get a photo of an octopus from the top for the legs, and from the side for the head. Or make a cardboard pattern for the inside of the head to get the basic size and shape right, then attach eight pieces of heavy wire to it for the tentacles. Wrap the wires with crumpled foil and hot glue, and bend them into interesting shapes.

  6. Do you have a pattern for a life size Tiger? if you do , how long does something like this take to make ? Thank You Carol

    • Hi Carol. I don’t have a tiger pattern at the moment. Are you looking for one of the three-dimensional patterns that create all the shapes for you, like the lion and wolf? Or are you looking for the whole tiger, legs and all?

  7. Hello, just popping by to say an enormous thank you for all you do for others. It’s much appreciated. I am a paper artist but normally create quilled artwork, but I recently made Harold the stag, and I love him. I just wish I’d known about using patterns beforehand! Lol. Now I’m trying to create a Fox but I cannot get the face shape right. I don’t suppose you have a Fox pattern by any chance? No worries if not. Big hugs. Xxxxx
    Apologies if this has posted more than once, I’m having trouble uploading the photo, xxxxx

    • Hi Carla. Harold is beautiful – is all of his fur and the texture on his antlers made with paper quills? That’s amazing work.

      I don’t have a fox yet. Have you tried sculpting a fox with modeling clay, and using it as a mold for your paper mache? The oil-based clay would need to be removed, of course, after the paper mache is dry. And the paper mache might need to be cut in order to get the clay out.

      • Thanks Jonni,

        Clay is my next mission, I’ve tried various armatures but I just can’t get a fox jaw right and I’m beginning to dream of fox skulls!! Lol. (Not that I’m giving up!!). Harold’s fur was made with rolled newspaper (which I wet first) to make newspaper noodles. I cut short pieces for his fur and used very long pieces to make the coils for his antlers which seemed to work well. He’s far from perfect, but as a first attempt I’m pleased with him.
        Thank you so much for your advice, I will put it to good use.


        • Lately, I’ve been dreaming of dragons. Last week it was kangaroos – maybe the dream state is trying to help us out with our design problems?

          I just found an interesting YouTube video showing a fox head that was carved out of wood. Half of it is the outside of a fox head, and the other half is the skull. It must be for a natural history museum or something – no voice on the video, so it’s hard to tell. Seeing the outside and inside shapes together like that might help your jaw shape challenge. You can see the video here:

          You can see the completed sculpture around the 8 minute mark.

          I took a look at your site, and I’m in love with Clarence. 🙂

          • Oooh, Jonni, you’re so good, there was no need to go to that trouble, but I am super grateful, thank you; I’ll check it out now. Clarence was such fun to make, I’m not a traditional quiller so I get to play with shape and texture which puts me in a very happy place, I’m pretty sure you can relate! I’ll keep you posted on the fox if I get him sorted. Hugs from Yorkshire, UK. XXXX

  8. Do you have a pattern for Pumbaa in the Lion King? My child is going to be playing that role and needs a costume very quick. Any suggestions on how to make the mold would be greatly appreciated. Your work is amazing. So very talented!

    • Hi Jenn. The closest pattern I have would be the pig. I know it doesn’t look like Pumbaa, because my pig is young and cute, and Pumbaa is a warrior pig (and wild, not domesticated like mine). But it might be a good starting point, if you add tusks by crumpling foil into long teeth and attach the tusks to the mask with masking tape or hot glue. The nose needs to be slightly bigger, and pointier. That’s easy, since the end of the nose is separate piece and the shape can be changed without altering anything else. The ears need to be smaller than the ones on the pattern, and he’d need a Mohawk haircut, perhaps made with yarn or strips of cardboard. And the back, which is added so it can be hung on the wall, would not be used.

      I know it’s a stretch, but it’s the closest thing we have. I hope this helps. And I hope your child has a great experience acting in the play!

  9. Hi Jonni!
    I’ve recently discovered your blog and videos on YouTube and I can’t wait to try some of your techniques out! I’ve done simple, old fashioned paper strip mache in the past and am ready for another level.
    My first project will be a disc shaped African sun to decorate a friend’s catering table for a special event. I’m thinking a radius of about 12” and I’d like it to be somewhat raised, as it will sit on a table, behind the food. I think I may start the armature with a round wire wreath and build rays out from there with wire or cardboard. Do you have any ideas on how I might raise it off the table, while keeping it freestanding? 3 to 6 inches maybe.
    Thank you so much for everything you share! I am INSPIRED!

    • Hi Jennifer. You could make a stand by pouring some plaster of Paris in a container, and sitting a dowel into it, standing straight up. Fix the dowel so it won’t fall over while the plaster is still wet. If the base is heavy enough, you should be able to attach the sun to it, and it would be raised as high as you want it. You’d need to make sure the base was heavy enough so it won’t fall over if bumped, because it could cause havoc with the rest of the items on the table.

      This sounds like a great project. I hope you’ll show it to us when it’s done.

  10. Hi Jonni! First, I love your page and all of your tutorials. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and creativity! Friends of mine posted a picture of them at their company Christmas party. The Christmas decor was spectacular! Standing next to them was a life size, paper mache buck, with a Christmas wreath around it’s neck. I have been obsessed with making this deer, ever since. I’ve never paper mached anything in my life, and came across your page while do some research. After reading your post on making a full size horse, I was wondering if that would be a good template for me to use, when making the buck? The buck will be roughly twice the size of the horse in your project. I’ll attach a photo for you. Thank you so much for any advice you might have. I can’t believe I’m taking on such a project. I seriously have trouble drawing a stick man! The thought of sketching out the head of an animal, has me shaking in my boots, but you have given me hope and I’m going to give it a try. Thank you!

    • Hi Alicia. I think you would be happier starting with a pattern you make from scratch. A deer doesn’t have the same proportions and shapes as a horse, and it would be frustrating to try to change a horse into a deer. I go through the process of creating a flat internal pattern for an animal sculpture, using a photo or sketch, in my book Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay – but the main idea is fairly simple. Find a good photo of a deer that is taken from the side. Print it, or use a computer drawing program, and trace around the outside edges of the body on one piece of paper or layer, and the near legs on the other piece of paper or layer. Transfer the outlines to cardboard that is the size of the deer you want to make, using a grid. Put the pieces together, and add shaping with crumpled paper and masking tape. I plan to create a video tutorial explaining this process in detail, but it will take me a week or so to finish it. Good luck with your project!

  11. Can I use anything other than newspaper or blue shop towels, when making a mask?
    Shop towels are too expensive where I live, and newspaper just doesnt cut it for me…. i need something smooth. Would regular paper towel work… or toilet paper?

  12. Hi Jonni,

    Love your work. Do you have any patterns for birds? I volunteer with seabird rescue and we are wanting to make some birds to go on display when we do educational markets.


  13. Ciao Mrs. Jonni, I would like to leave a comment about that video about the mistaken Marking choices.. I would like to say something… It is a very clever, and interesting, and honest. Your Art is lovely, well made and I personally I think that in your case, the prints will not sell as much as could sell the true 3D objects that you create. Use the prints of the armature in carboard to create yoru more real masks and sell those, to schools, to Children Nursery ect.. I think the unique selling point you have, to sell it is the actual masks to hang on the wall of to wear.. People would love them even adults, Thousands of adults.. there are a lot o people especially in the States that really love Animal Cos-Play (they love to dress and make noises like animal). You could make masks also about other subjects ( i do not know if it is legal make movies themes, maybe not) … I think there is a market immense. If you find a gathering near you or a competition about these cos]play, where you can present your masks to the people that loves to go to these gatherings … You could have a chance to see you Business take off, on it’s own. I need to to start a business but at the moment I cannot due to health. I wish all the Best take care Madam Jonni. Much love Tiziana Hetherington

    • Thank you for your kind thoughts, Tiziana. I must confess, though – I really prefer selling the patterns and books and helping other people make their own sculptures and masks, instead of selling hand-made art. I started the print-selling business just as an experiment to see if I could use Pinterest to send traffic to a new site. We get thousands of Pinterest visitors every day on, and if I could figure out how artists without a blog could use it to sell their work, I would write a book about it. I have sold my dolls and sculptures in the past, but the patterns and books (and the wonderful people who buy them and become part of our community) are so much more fun. I am sad that I couldn’t figure out the Pinterest traffic thing, though. If it had worked, it might have helped a lot of artists who don’t have time to do any other kind of marketing.

  14. I loved your video and the results I will soon try your recipe, it is almost a scientific precision. I need to recycle a lot of paper it is the perfect way. Lovely Masks you make. Ciao for now. Tiziana

  15. A while back there was a guest per video post ,someone building a armature for a whale and I can’t find it again, can you point me in the right direction please ?

  16. Your stuff is gorgeous!
    I was browsing for a paper clay recipe to create my next Halloween costume. I can’t wait now to get your recipes. I am very excited to start on my project as soon as I can.


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