Our friends over at Aleene’s asked us recently if we could make a cute paper mache craft. And since we’re always up for a creative challenge, we said yes! Our designer Meagan created this paper mache leopard head that fits in perfectly with our tropical theme for this month’s craft collection.

Because this project is sponsored by Aleene’s, the template and tutorial are free to download. Everything we used is linked below and you can find the free printable template at the end of the post.


If you want to make this paper mache leopard the same way we did, print the template below in color and use the acrylic paint colors linked in the materials list below. Otherwise, you can print it in grayscale and choose whatever paint colors you want. Whatever you decide, this DIY craft project is a great way to encourage creative exploration and build their confidence. 

To guide you and your little one through the crafting process, we have also created a video tutorial for this paper mache leopard. If you have any questions about this craft project, just comment below. Happy crafting! ~ Lia and team

How to Make a Paper Mache Leopard Head

  1. Gather your craft tools and materials. Then download the free template below.
  2. Cut cardboard according to the template using scissors.
  3. Use hot glue to attach cardboard circle to 8″ foam ball (refer to video for placement).
  4. Fill in gaps between foam ball and cardboard with newspaper using masking tape to hold in place.
  5. Cover gap completely with masking tape until space between foam ball and cardboard circle is smooth.
  6. Use newspaper to form shapes for nose, cheeks, and mouth. Refer to video tutorial for sizing and placement.
  7. Attach nose, cheeks, and mouth to head using masking tape; cover completely until smooth.
  8. Mix 1 to 1 ratio of Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue and water in a large mixing bowl.
  9. Rip newspaper into strips, then add to your glue and water mixture.
  10. Apply newspaper strips to head, removing excess glue mixture from strips before applying. Cover head completely until smooth and allow to dry overnight.
  11. Assemble ears following the video tutorial and glue to dried paper mache leopard head. Cover ears with newspaper strips in glue mixture, then allow to dry.
  12. Paint head using a paintbrush (see painting tip below).
  13. After paint dries, use hot glue to attach D-ring to the back of the leopard head for hanging. You may use the small screw or nail included with the D-ring to screw into the cardboard with a bit of hot glue for more stability.

Painting Tip: To achieve a smoother painting surface, you can paint your paper mache leopard head with polyurethane or mod podge before painting. For a smooth glossy finish, you can also apply polyurethane or mod podge after painting as well!

Handmade paper mache leopardTools and materials for paper mache leopard Aleene's original tacky glue for paper mache mixture  DIY paper mache leopard headpaper mache leopard head

Explore More

For more free kids’ crafts, take a look at our DIY worry dolls, woodland animal masks, and felt pine cone bears. If you’re a member, you can also make our other paper mache animals. Or check out our felt leopard stuffie.

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