This papier-mâché-based make is dead simple, and you can see how it all comes together in our step-by-step video (above). The make falls into 2 stages, as you'll need some time for the papier-mâché to dry. Ideally, set aside 1 hour or so one day, leave to dry overnight, then finish off the next day.


What you'll need:

  • Balloon
  • Cardboard
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Yellow, orange, red and brown paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Plenty of newspaper
  • PVA glue (and water)
  • Black marker pen
  • Our video of the whole make (for reference)

How to make it:

1. Blow up the balloon and tie the end.

2. Outline the lion’s ears and mane with a pencil on a piece of cardboard and cut them out.

3. Stick the mane and ears to the balloon using masking tape.

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4. Make the lion’s snout using newspaper, by folding a page (as shown below) and folding again until it becomes a square, then tucking two corners under.

5. Add some masking tape and stick the snout to the balloon.

6. Make papier-mâché paste from 2/3 PVA glue and 1/3 water.

7. Cut strips of newspaper and coat them papier-mâché paste (see below). Cover the balloon head 3 times over with this newspaper-and-paste combo. Leave the bottom of the balloon (where the tie is) uncovered. Leave to dry (allow at least a couple of hours).

lion mask papier mache demo

8. Draw little spots where the centre of the eye holes will be, using a pencil. Then use the marker pen to draw the outline of the eyes. Then (with the marker pen) mark out the insides of the ears, the nose and the mouth.

9. Paint your lion! We used pink for the insides of the ears, brown for the snout and eyes, lighter brown for above the eyes, yellowy-orange for the lion’s face and an orangey-brown (with highlights of yellow) for his mane.

lion paint colours demo

10. Outline the features you've painted with a black marker pen (to make them stand out nicely). Dot some freckles on the cheeks, too, while you’re at it!

11. Pop the balloon.

12. Trim the edges of the mask (where the bottom of the balloon was) to remove any stray newspaper/papier mâché. Make eye holes using scissors.

13. Cut a T-shaped slit at the back, so the mask can fit over your child’s head. And you're done!

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