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
  • White, brown, pink and yellow paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Plenty of newspaper
  • MPVA glue (and water)
  • Marker pen
  • A little blue/green tissue paper
  • Our video of the whole make and/or a picture of the Gruffalo (for reference)

How to make it

1. Blow up the balloon and tie the end.

2. Outline Gruffalo-like ears, horns and tusks with a pencil on the cardboard, then cut them out.

3. Tape the ears and horns to the balloon (in the correct positions, see above – or check the video).

4. Paint the tusks using white paint, and keep till later.

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5. Make a snout for the Gruffalo using newspaper, by folding a page in half (as shown below), then folding again until you’ve got a square. Do this twice, and place the two newspaper squares on top of each other. Secure with tape. Attach to the front of the balloon with more tape.

newspaper folded gruffalo mask

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

7. Cut long strips of newspaper and coat them in the papier-mâché paste. 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).

8. Draw spots where Gruffalo’s eyes will be with a pencil, and then mark out the rest of his features, using the marker pen.

9. Start painting your Gruffalo mask using brown paint (see below), avoiding the areas you’ve marked for his features.

10. Now paint in the features. We’ve used yellow paint for Gruffalo’s eyes, pink for the inside of his ears and white for his teeth.

paint your gruffalo mask

11. Outline the features you've painted with a black marker pen (to make them stand out nicely).

12. Glue the tusks to either side of the snout.

13. Now it’s time to pop the balloon!

14. 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.

15. Glue a 'poisonous' wart to the end of his snout, using a wadded-up piece of blue tissue paper.

16. Cut a T-shaped slit at the back of the mask so it will go over your child’s head… and voila! One homemade Gruffalo mask! Just add brown top and trousers, and your child's costume is complete.


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Magda Ibrahim is a freelance writer who has written for publications including The Times and Sunday Times, The Sun, Time Out, and the London Evening Standard, as well for MadeForMums.