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How to Make a Paper Mache Skull


Looking to make some Halloween decorations? Well here's a good Halloween project that's fun for the whole family! In this project we make a paper mache skull. For this tutorial I used foam board as a base, but you can try using a balloon. Remember the most important thing is to do whatever works for you. In the end, this makes for a great Halloween project and decoration for your home.

finished skull project



Let's begin with the materials you are going to need for this project.


foam board

First, cut 3 square pieces of foam board with whatever cutting tools you decide to use. You can cut the square pieces any size depending on the size you want your skull. For this example I cut each piece 10x10in to make sure there is enough material for the sculpting part of the tutorial. This way if you need to fix the shape of the skull at some point, you have enough to work with.

foam board cube

Next, using you hot glue gun put the three pieces of foam board together as even as possible. It's ok if it's not perfect. You are going to be reshaping this later anyway.

skull outline

Now trace the outline of your skull so you have something to follow as you shape your foam board.

traced skull


Here's the point where you sculpt your foam board. First start with the shape of the skull. As you cut around the outline you can round off the edges in order to make a more skull like shape.


finished shape

Now using a knife carve out the features of your skull such as eyes, nose, a mouth, etc.

side view skull shape

Also if you want to shape the skull further before you paper mache now would be the point to do it. At this point I angled off the face and further rounded some of the edges. Once again this does not have to be perfect. Any rough points can be fixed up with the paper mache.


mix paper mache

Now mix up your paper mache with equal parts water and flour. In this project I used 2 cups of water and flour.


paper towel strips

Next, cut your paper towels into thin strips. Remember to make a solid amount of strips for the project as you do not want to have to cut anymore as you are doing the paper mache. Roughly 20 strips should be sufficient.

paper mache first layer

Dip your paper towel strips in the mixture you made earlier and apply 2 layers or as many as needed to get the skull as smooth as possible. Remember to get rid of excess paper mache mixture on your strips as it will get messy:

paper mache first layer backview

finished first layer of paper mache

Shaping paper mache

You can use the second layer in order to smooth out any rough parts in the skull. If need be you can add other layers until the skull is the way you want it. Note: If the holes for your eyes, nose, or mouth are too small, because of the paper mache you can carve the features out a little more since you are going to paint this later on.

finished second layer of paper mache

acrylic paint

Let your skull dry off and then start the painting process. For faster drying you can use a fan.

first layer of paint

Add several layers of white paint. You want the color to be solid since this is the base color of your skull. At this point if you used paper towels or anything like that you can smooth out the small indents by applying several layers of paint, letting them dry, and lightly filing them. This way the paint will sort of fill the holes.

filing down

paint facial features

Now it's time to paint the facial features black. At this point you can also be creative by painting things such as cracks on the skull or anything else you can imagine.

finished features


weathering by washing

Now as an optional step you can choose to add certain details to make the skull look old and kind of weathered. I used grey paint and a technique called washing. All you do is create random lines of grey paint and before it dries use a damp paper towel to blur and spread it around.

finished product

The end result should look something like this. Now your project is done and you can enjoy your own home made Halloween decoration!





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