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How to Make a Mannequin Head

Making a quick and easy head mannequin head out of paper mache, will be a fun project for adults and children alike.

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  1. Make the mannequin head form. Begin by blowing up a balloon, slightly smaller than the size of a human head. Use the masking tape vertically to attach the smaller base of the balloon to an empty plastic tub. (Tub will be the neck area, so it should not be too wide or too tall. Empty margarine tubs work great as do wide peanut butter containers.) Steady the balloon atop the jar with the tape.

  2. Prepare your newspaper strips ahead of time. Rip the newspapers into long thin strips, ranging from 1" to 2" wide, by 10" long. Leave one section of newspaper unused, as you will need it for the spray paint phase at the end of the project.

  3. Make your paper mache. Mix 2 cups water to 1 cup flour in the large bowl, and use the fork to whisk it into a pasty substance. It should be a somewhat creamy consistency; break up any lumps that may exist with the fork.

  4. Start the layering process. Dip the first newspaper strip into the paper mache mixture, wiping excess off on the edge of the bowl. Layer vertically first, connecting the tub to the balloon, which will now be referred to as the neck to the head. Continue with a thin layer horizontally around the neck and head. Once everything is covered, allow this first layer to completely dry.

  5. Layer the base of the neck, which will be the bottom of your mannequin head. Layers should be even across the bottom of the empty tub, so that the head will stand up freely. Allow to dry completely.

  6. Repeat Steps 3 though 5, building up your layers. Allow to dry completely between layers.

  7. Add the beginning of features, which are thicker layers on the forehead area, what will be cheeks, nose, and lip area. You can do this by moulding the newspaper strips into features, or using smaller bits of newspaper. Build up layers in these areas, leaving the eye areas somewhat recessed. Allow these layers to dry.

  8. Once your layers have dried, it's time to go over the mannequin head with one final layer, repeating steps 3 through 7 until you are happy with the look of your mannequin head. If additional shaping is needed in the features, do so. Allow to dry.

  9. Spray paint your mannequin head while it is set on your saved newspaper. Work in a ventilated area (or outside in good weather), wearing a mask and using light sprays. Continue to apply coats until even. Allow to dry and decorate with your favourite hat!

  10. Tip

    The finished model will be painted a solid colour, but you may opt to paint flesh tones and add realistic details, which is optional.


    Dry times may vary depending on ventilation, humidity and weather conditions. Ensure your work is completely dry before moving to the next layer. Failure to do so may result in mould growth.

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Things You'll Need

  • Half bag of flour
  • Large bowl
  • Water
  • Fork
  • Stack of newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Empty 454gr plastic food tub
  • Balloon
  • 1 can spray paint - any colour

About the Author

Ira Mency

Ira Mency, nom de plume of Cindy Fahnestock-Schafer, has been writing for more than 25 years and is a published fiction novelist. Her work encompasses ghostwriting, e-book publishing, press releases and Web design. She is also editor of the blogs Retro Chalet, Vintage Chalet and Etsy Recyclers Guild. Mency received a Certificate of Study in Marketing from Mid-State University in Augusta, Maine.

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