Welcome to another Wacky Workshops project – paper mache heads.



paper Mache head
Life-size head made from paper mache



I love making these life-size heads with my art students. The paper mache process teaches patience and coordination while the decorating process unleashes creativity and imagination.

The finished product is full of fun and fantasy and can be used as a decoration or even a hat stand.



paper mache head picture
Everyone has their own personality.



paper mache picture


  • Balloons
  • Newspaper – lots
  • Cardboard cylinder or thick card you can fashion into a cylinder
  • Masking tape
  • Paper mache paste – get the recipe here
  • Assorted paint colours
  • Clear varnish – I use spray varnish.


  • If you don’t have a wide cardboard cylinder, cut a rectangle shape from a cardboard box and roll into a cylinder and join the ends with tape.
  • Blow up a balloon and place on top of an open end of the cylinder. Attach using the tape.
  • Tear newspaper into strips around 5 cm wide.
  • Place a strip in the paste to cover, using your fingers to remove excess glue (I know this part is messy, but it’s quick. If you want to keep your hands cleaner, try using disposable gloves or you can use a brush to paint on the glue, but be prepared for mess regardless).
  • Start covering your head form from bottom to top with the newspaper strips. It’s best to keep the strips going in the same direction  so that you can keep track of your layers.
  • Once the head and neck are covered, repeat the process making the newspaper strips go in another direction. So if you placed your strips vertically on the first layer, place them horizontally on the second.
  • You can get away with 3 – 4 layers before you need to stop and let the whole thing dry completely – usually 24 hours but it can vary according to the weather.
  • Repeat the process until you have built up around 12 – 15  layers (the more layers, the stronger your head will be). This process can take a week or two, depending on how much time you leave between adding new layers.
  • Once the head is completely dry, it’s time to add some features.
  • Scrunch up small pieces of newspaper and tape to the sides of the face for the cheeks.
  • Roll small pieces of newspaper to form eyebrows.
  • Roll thin pieces of newspaper to form the eye then add a small newspaper ball in the centre for the eyeball.
  • Form lips, and even ears using newspaper rolls.
  • Once you are happy with the definition in your face, cover the entire thing with one layer of newspaper strips, being careful not to lose the new shapes you created.
  • The hair can be made by simply glueing long strips of newspaper to the tops of the head, or you can coil the newspaper to represent curls.
  • Time for more patience while this dries then the fun decorating begins.
  • Use the paints to colour the face, hair, lips and eyebrows.
  • Follow up with clear varnish which will help protect your paintwork.
  • Play around with adding extras, such as feather pieces for eyelashes or old jewellery for earrings and necklaces.
  • Pop your favourite hat on top and enjoy your sculpture.


paper mache picture


Check out the Wacky Workshops Gallery Page to see some beautiful paper mache heads – unicorns, dogs, cats and more created by Wacky Workshops students.

If you enjoyed this project you may also like How To Make Glamgorgious Easter Eggs.

Don’t forget to share the fun on Facebook and Pinterest.

Happy crafting and have a gleeful, Tamuria.


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