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How to make a paper mache lion head

Updated April 17, 2017

Papier mache is a popular sculpture medium for items like party decorations and pinatas. Common subject matter for these types of projects include a variety of animal shapes, including the king of the jungle. The shapes and colours of a lion's head make for an impressive-looking, yet relatively simple papier mache project. You can create your own fearsome, proud lion's head for temporary or permanent decoration.

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  1. Inflate a balloon. Make it as large as you can.

  2. Place the empty tape roll around the mouth of the balloon, covering the tied-off nozzle. Tape the roll in place. Stretch tape across the roll to cover the empty space; this will become the lion's muzzle.

  3. Attach the second tape roll to the middle of the round portion of the balloon to make the base of the lion's head and neck.

  4. Cut a circle of paper board measuring 3 inches in diameter. Cut this into two equal pieces.

  5. Tape the half circles of paper board to the sides of the head, flat sides against the balloon and tilting slightly backwards; these will become ears.

  6. Tear the newspaper into strips of about a half-inch by 2 inches.

  7. Soak the strips of newspaper in wheat paste, one at a time, and wrap them around the balloon frame. Cover the frame entirely in newspaper strips and let it dry for four to six hours. Add another four or five layers of newspaper, and let those layers dry for 24 hours.

  8. Give the papier mache head a coat of beige paint. Let the paint dry before proceeding.

  9. Detail the facial features of the lion in black paint lines. Make an upside-down triangle for the tip of the nose, two upside-down curved lines for the mouth, and large black circles for the eyes. If you like, dot the cheek areas with small specks for the whisker areas.

  10. Cut strips of dark brown tissue paper, each measuring 1 inch wide and 4 inches long.

  11. Glue the tissue paper pieces to the head to make the mane. Attach them one at a time. Apply glue to the end of each strip and press it in place with your fingertip. Place the strips as close together as possible and cover all of the lion's head except the face and ears.

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Things You'll Need

  • Large round balloon
  • 2 empty duct tape rolls
  • Duct tape
  • Old newspapers
  • Wheat paste
  • Beige acrylic paint
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Dark brown tissue paper
  • Craft glue

About the Author

Ryan Voss

Ryan Voss is a freelance writer/blogger and artist/graphic designer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His areas of specialty are current events, politics and the martial and fine arts. He has been freelancing in a variety of creative fields since 2005.

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