DIY Tutorial – Paper Mache Animal Heads

3 Feb

Paper Mache Animal Head

Specifically a zebra head! Meet Zebulon, Sean named him while I was woking on him one day and it stuck. This summer I had the idea of doing a mounted head as an art project and after searching the internet for a while I came upon Lil Blue Boo’s Blog (which is super great by the way!) and her Unicorn Paper Mache Animal Head Tutorial. I used her newspaper and masking paper construction method to build the basic shape of the head, and let me tell you, paper towel paper mache is the way to go!


Here is my head after I had put the first layer of paper over the newspaper. I used a raw combination of flour and water for my glue. Just put a few spoon-fulls of flour into a bowl and start stirring in water a little at a time, making sure to fully incorporate the liquid before adding anymore. When you have a smooth liquid paste you’re ready to start. I looked at different recipes online and not only is this one easy and cheap, it also seems to be one of the strongest.


Here I have cutout cardboard ears and taped them on the head after the first layer has completely dried.


Now is the fun part. The paper towels are so easy to mold into the contours of the face. I added the brow ridges, the nostrils, covered the ears, and filled in any parts that were looking a little lumpy.


From here I used glue to attach the flat cardboard of the neck to a wooden plaque I had already painted, and I used finishing nails around the edge of the neck to make it even more secure. I then found an old book and stared cutting up the pages into small pieces and Mod Podged the book over the paper mache. This also covered up my nail holes.


When all of that was dry, I used black acrylic paint to add details and stripes. Here he is in progress.


Here he is, stripes all done. I also decided to seal him with some clear Polycrylic.


I chose the semi-gloss finish so he now has a little shine to him.


There he is, Zebulon the zebra! Now I just have to decide where I want to hang him up. Luckily he is very lightweight so hanging him should be easy.

I hope you have fun making an animal head of your own.

16 Responses to “DIY Tutorial – Paper Mache Animal Heads”

  1. Ashley Swenson Hackshaw February 3, 2013 at 11:10 PM #

    Wow awesome! Pinning it! Thanks for linking 🙂

    • asharperfocus February 4, 2013 at 5:37 PM #

      And thanks for the awesome tutorial. You’re blog has really inspired me!

  2. Jessie August 2, 2014 at 9:09 PM #

    I want to make a giraffe head could I use the same steps as your zebra. Been trying to find a tutorial for a giraffe head however all I’m getting are pictures.

  3. gretchen maurer December 30, 2014 at 10:33 AM #

    wonderful- you are a gifted sculpture-er and true artist… captured so much realism! I am going to make a sail fish as they are sooo expensive for real ones and I also want to make large scale angle wings. Did you work from photos?

  4. Cathy October 26, 2015 at 6:53 AM #

    Hi there! I shared your blog link and a picture from your papier mache animal head tutorial on my blog. Hope that’s ok, otherwise please let me know and I’ll take it down. Thanks for a great tutorial! Here is the link to my post:

    • Jessie October 26, 2015 at 1:14 PM #

      Awesome I’m doing a full body giraffe will post pics when finished.

      • Stephani April 4, 2020 at 10:21 PM #

        Did you do it?? Let me know, I would love to make one also, but need help
        Thanks, and I hope you are doing well in this covid mess!

  5. chrustinalynn December 30, 2015 at 7:02 PM #

    Omg!!!! Zebulon is amazing and I am going to make my own zebra friend!! Thank you for the tutorial and inspiration! 😁😁😁

  6. Lea April 10, 2017 at 2:59 AM #


  7. Linda January 18, 2018 at 7:45 PM #

    That’s a great zebra but I’d like to know how you formed the head??

    • Chante July 5, 2019 at 11:11 PM #

      Hi! I noticed no one replied to your question and I don’t know if you still need the question answered, but I was wondering the same thing 😊. I searched this post a few times and noticed there’s a link in the beginning paragraphs to another blog about how to design a Unicorn Head. It takes you to a site that shows you step-by-step all stages of how to build a head of any type of head you could transform into a horse, zebra, gazelle, etc. Hope this helps, if not too late! (Maybe helpful to others as well.) 😁👍 Chante


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