Introduction: Easy-to-Make Cardboard T-Rex Mask (Stapler & Glue Modelling Tips)

About: Black sheep engineer, Chartered, and very silly. Currently living in the UK. I have been fortunate to have lived, studied and worked in Hong Kong, Norway and California. I believe physical models help people…

The most useful tip in this Instructables is how to use a stapler to build models - fast!

It also seemed an obvious contender for Trash (Amazon & Cereal Boxes) -->Treasure (Dinosaur my toddler and his friends love to play with!). Please vote if you like it, and have a go too - it's really simple, with a stapler!

As mentioned, this is for my son and his fiends - as they are going through the seemingly unavoidable phase of love for Dinosaurs. Where does this come from, I'm not sure, perhaps it's genetic?

Although I have done some reasonably complex and precise models using glue and scalpels (LINK), I wanted to show that one can achieve a fast model with simple tools, such as a humble stapler!

You will need:

- A Stapler!

- Scissors, Knife, Pens, Pencils, etc.

- Toilet Rolls, Card (1 ply Amazon-style boxes are fine), Cereal Box

- Cutting Mat.

- Glue Gun (Pen) or Sellotape.

Step 1: Head First

My son's head is pretty close to a small football I had, but depending on your / your child's patience, take a measurement however you can.

Taking a strip of cereal box (or other thin card), wrap around and staple. Don't cut off the excess - instead bend this into a 'Y' shape, as it will help form the 'nose' of the T-Rex.

Step 2: Head Strap

Next apply a second strip over the top. This stops it falling down over your child's eyes/nose.

Staple in place.

NOTE - face the staples away from the skin, and if wanting to be extra comfy, add some masking/sellotape over the top.

Step 3: Make the Upper Jaw

First take a rough measurement as shown of the width of the head, next to a long strip of card.

Mark these lines, then score with a blunt object (like a biro pen) score to be the corners of the jaw.

Next cut a zig-zag along the teeth. Doing this from the same piece of card will make the jaws line up and look better. Cut along the zig-zag.

Put the lower jaw to one side, for later.

Staple the upper jaw to the 'Y' part of the head band.

Use the stapler to attach the upper jaw as shown to the side near the head. Add tape as needed to make smooth/comfortable on the inside.

Step 4: Making the Lower Jaw

Taking the remaining piece, not the red line - fold along this, and cut the corners as shown. Fold inwards and staple together so the corners of the jaw are at 90 degrees.

Staple the edge as show in the last picture to give strength, and contour near the head.

Step 5: Set Jaws

It's probably obvious, but the opening of the jaws is where you kid can see out of.

So it's worth making this open to suit them, take a measurement, and then staple at that angle.

Oddly, my son seemed pretty cool about me putting it on and off, but I'd recommend being quick over being perfect, so as not to try their patience ;o)

Step 6: Cover Nose to Head

Taking a long piece of cardboard, as show, mark (in red) the width of the jaw sections on the card as reference of the width of the head.

Lay on top of the 'nose' of the T-Rex, and mark where you need to fold it.

Next cut this up to the red line, as shown.

This will allow you to fold the 'tab' inside, and staple it in place from the underside, as shown.

Step 7: Profile

Keep working in the same manner as shown with the nose section. Follow the profile of the head, and keep folding the card around it.

Once happy with the arc over the head, use scissors to cut the tabs up to the red line as shown.

Fold inwards and staple in place as you go.

Step 8: Sides of Head

Now that you have a profile of the head, use this to draw around on fresh card, and cut out a left and a right side.

I used hot melt glue, but any good glue or sellotape will also work.

Staple for strength if needed.

Now you have the basic mask done!

Step 9: Tail Counterbalance

Staple on a large piece of card to the back of the head.

This will be shaped into the 'tail' as shown, with scissors.

This step is a bit freestyle, as you'd imagine, but the key is to try and use the tail to also balance the weight at the front of the head - so make it reasonably large as shown.

Step 10: Spikes!

All dinosaurs need spikes, so add these from off-cuts you have left over.

As shown I only partially glued these on, so as to allow the 'tail' to flex. It's not an exact science, but you can trim and adjust as needed.

Step 11: Psycho Wobbly Eyes

I'm sure any eyes will be fine, but if you fancy going the extra mile - I cut trips of toilet tube, and rolled them into a 'spring'.

I then glued them inside the main tube.

I can then glue on small circles as 'pupils' of the eyes, and these wobbled about nicely with motion.!

Step 12: Nose Holes

This is perhaps overkill, but I cut nose holes in.

I then put card behind this, which was as much to reinforce the nose.

(Your kill will probably want to have 'battles', so making the nose pretty strong is wise, as it takes a beating!)

Step 13: Model Made!

I also added some 'ears' to the T-Rex.

And it seemed sensible to give a test to my son that it fit ok for a good length of time...before painting.

(Any adjustments can be easily made now).

Step 14: Paint It!

I though it sensible to make a second one, as I figured a dino-battle was pretty fun!

Painting with normal Poster Paints.


- Paint in one colour. Let dry. Then do the second colour (yellow here) later.

- Hang it somewhere were the drips don't matter. (for us, this was our bathroom).

Step 15: Second Painting - Details

As mentioned, after base coat is dry, add details of second colour.

Left to dry above radiator.

Step 16: Ready to Rumble!

Hope you have fun making this, or other similar masks using these techniques!

Do post if you made it, and vote if you like it also - thanks!


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