How to make a paper mache lion mask

Updated: Jan 7, 2019

This was such a fun project to do! The most challenging parts were to wait for the layers to dry so I could continue with the next steps. So, for this project you will need... patience, patience and Patience!

Here's the tutorial:

The papier-mâché will need to dry over night before you add the next layer. I added two layers, and surprise surprise: the more layers you add - the stronger the sculpture. I made quite a solid base out of cardboard, so it did turn out quite thick and strong only with two layers.

Three steps:

1. Sketch your animal on a paper, so you can understand the shapes better and see what type of structure you will want. Create a strong base out of cardboard and tape it together well, using masking tape. Take your time with this step. Like the skeletons in our bodies, this is what defines the shape of the sculpture.

2. Create the paste. I used wall paper paste - simply follow instructions on the package. It will need 3-4 minutes to thicken, so meanwhile you can rip the paper strips as shown in the tutorial above.

You can recycle newspapers or packaging papers for this, as that type of paper sucks up the paste quite well. Rip longer thicker strips for bigger surfaces and thinner smaller ones for more detailed areas, such as eyes, nostrils and ears.

Then place a few of the strips inside the paste, but most on the side. Leave a thin layer of paste on the strips and start covering your base thoroughly. When your hands get too messy, simply wipe them off on one of the dry strips.

Again, take your time. Be mindful not to add too much paste as it will get soaked and take a very very long time to dry. However, too little paste will not get the papers to melt together. Use just about enough to make the paper wet.

Gently smoothen out the strips so there isn't any air or paste lumps stuck underneath. That will also get rid of any unwanted wrinkles on the paper. Place the strips in different directions to get a stronger base (vertical and horizontal).

Leave to dry over night and add more layers if the sculpture still feels week, or if you want to fix the shape.

When left to dry, I placed a soup bowl underneath the lion head. This will give the sculpture more of a face shape, compared to drying on a flat base.

3. Once you are happy with the shape of the sculpture and it has dried, you can continue to the last step: Painting! I used water based acrylic paint, that turns water resistant when dried.

Mix the shades you want to use and make magic happen with those brushes! Again, if needed, leave to dry and add more layers of paint later.

I hope this project inspired you to get creative!

This is another of our recycled art projects: art out of a delivery box.

For any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch in comments below or on YouTube.

Let's get those brushes out! :)

Charlotta Xx

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