Introduction: Paper Mache Cow Skull

About: Hi. I'm Richard Neuman. I started making Paper Mache Props for Halloween and didn't stop! Lately I've been making Tiki statues and other outdoor garden sculptures.

I’ve always been impressed by real cow skulls. You see them lying in the desert in movies, on the front of 4-wheel drives and hanging on the wall in country bars.

Here's how I made mine from cardboard, newspaper, tape, tin foil wood glue, dry wall mud, and air-dry clay for the teeth. Enjoy!

You will Need:

  • Sturdy Cardboard for the frame
  • Newspaper
  • Masking tape and packing tape (optional)
  • Drywall Joint compound (optional. For smoothing only)
  • Paper Mache, Cloth mache, or paper mache clay. (I used wood-glue for paste)
  • Acrylic paint - White, black, brown, khaki

Buy one on Etsy at Mad Props Paper Mache

Step 1: Reference Photo

One of the most important things to have before you start any sculpting project is a reference photo. You'll need one master photo to actual size if possible and other close up photos for specific areas. The skull is 21”, similar to life-size. (And dead-size!)

Step 2: Cardboard Frame

I started by tracing the reference picture onto 2 pieces sturdy cardboard for the 2 sides of the skull and the nose bones, then added 3 cross pieces to hold it together. I learned this tip and so much more from Ultimate Paper Mache.

If you are using a Silhouette Cameo for this step, you may want to consider the deep cut blade.

Step 3: Bulk Up, Bro

I added bulk to the form with scrunched up newspaper and packing tape. You could use masking tape if you like as well at this stage . I always use masking tape on the top layer because the paper mache doesn’t still to packing tape very well. I used a piece of modeling wire-mesh for the eye-sockets. Make sure each area is solid and compact. You don’t wasn’t to paper mache over a soft, squishy areas.

Step 4: Tin Foil

I used a combination of newspaper, tin foil and masking tape to give it the shape I wanted.

I bent the cardboard horns back to get a more realistic angle.

Step 5: Paper Mache

I used newspaper and wood glue/ water mix for my paper mache. (forgot to take a photo) I then covered it with a layer of dry-wall joint compound to smooth it out. It didn’t look too bad at this stage but it was hospital-white (not bone-white) with very little detail or shadow.

Step 6: Glue Paint

I painted a layer of glue mixed with water and cinnamon-brown paint to seal the dry-wall. Then I dry-brushed it with white acrylic paint mixed with a dash of khaki .

Step 7: Teeth

I made the teeth from Plus Air dry clay from Activa, then painted them and glue-gunned them on.

Step 8: All Done!

Papercraft Contest 2017

First Prize in the
Papercraft Contest 2017