Paper Mache Skull

This paper mache skull is an extra creepy way to hold jello shooters to serve at your next Halloween party.


Age: Adult

Difficulty: Easy

Time Scale: 3 out of 5


  • Large plastic skull (Costco)
  • 2 -3 inch wide Newspaper strips
  • Paper mache paste recipe
  • plastic container for paste
  • celluclay (can do without if you don't have any) 
  • Baseball size rock (for weighting skull)
  • tin foil
  • masking tape
  • sharp knife
  • skewer stick
  • hot glue/glue sticks
  • For the eye: Your choice, use either paper mache, celluclay or sculpey. I used sculpey.
  • Future floor wax
  • white glue
  • cereal box board
  • cardboard
  • scissors
  • pencil or pen
  • paint brushes
  • large plastic syringes (dollar store) 
  • drill
  • 7/32nds drill bit (or the size of end on the syringe for a tight fit)
  • rag or paper towels
  • Craft paint:



           off white

           medium green 

           light green


Paper Mache Skull How to

large plastic skull from costco

The easiest way to make this is to start with a large, hard plastic skull. It will be used as a mold and removed later. This one is from Costco. The features are quite exaggerated, which is good for getting more detail to come through. If you don't have one, you can still make a paper mache skull but it will be more difficult and time consuming. This is a great shortcut that makes it worth the initial extra expense. It can be used over and over again to make multiples! 

Remove the light bulbs from the sockets when possible, if the mold you are using has them. 


Cover the entire head with 2-3 layers of tinfoil. (No, not your head. We aren't preparing for a martian invasion.) Push the tinfoil into all the cracks and crevices, so all the details still show through. Use tape to hold the tinfoil in place, if you are having trouble getting it to stay put.

Start applying the strips of newspaper that have been dipped in paste. Use smaller pieces in the eye sockets and around the cheekbones, so there aren't a bunch of folds in the paper.

Leave the very bottom open, for now.

Cover with 3 layers of newspaper strips. 

Let dry. 

Cut the paper mache skull open with a sharp knife. Slice sideways, halfway back across the top and then down the sides, behind the cheekbones. Be careful not to cut through the tinfoil. 

Carefully pry apart.

Remove the plastic mold. (If it isn't holding it's shape, leave it on and add more layers of newspaper strips. Let it dry again, then remove it.)

Hot glue the two pieces of the paper mache skull back together. 

The teeth probably lost a lot of detail, so they will have to be built up to make them look a bit more menacing. Cut out cereal box board in those ugly teeth shapes. 

Hot glue in place.

Mix up a small amount of celluclay. Use this to add even more shape to the teeth. Make the lines between each tooth with a skewer stick. (A skewer stick has got to be the most useful non craft, craft tool there is. It works great for sculpting clay.) 


Sorry, there are no in progress pictures here. Do you know how hard it is to take pictures when your hands are all gooey? 

Here are the finished teeth...

Pretty creepy, right?

Set the skull on a heavy piece of cardboard. 

Trace around the bottom edge to get the shape of the base. 

Cut out the cardboard piece. 

Hot glue a large rock on the cardboard. Make sure the rock fits. I know there is no such saying as "If the rock fits... " but in this case it does need to be the correct size. It will have to fit inside the head to serve as a weight. Once the jello shooter syringes are poked in the top, it will need this extra weight, to keep it from being too top heavy. Yes, there is always a method to my madness and no, I didn't remove this rock from the collection in my own head.

Glue the cardboard to the bottom of the skull, so the rock is inside. 

Cover with 3 layers of newspaper strips. Do the edge too. 

If you still aren't satisfied with the shape of this, use celluclay to add more details. (Around the eyesockets and the cheekbones, especially.) 

Let dry completely. 


Apply two coats of off white craft paint. 

Let dry. 

Now, to make those details pop...

Mix 1 part brown paint with 2 parts water. 

Apply over entire piece. 

Leave for 30 seconds or so. 

Wipe with a damp rag or paper towel. 

Time for this guy to get a bit more personality. Add an eyeball and he almost comes to life. 


The eyeball can be made using a ball of newspaper, celluclay or polymer clay. Whatever you have on hand, make it work. Out of all three methods, the polymer clay works best. 

To make a polymer clay eye, roll out a ball of white clay about an inch wide. 

Bake in toaster oven for approximately 30 minutes. Check the baking instructions. The baking time can vary depending on the brand of clay. 

Let cool.

Paint on the iris with green paint. Add lighter green closer to the center.

Use black paint for the pupil.

Add small red squiggles on the white part, using a liner brush, for a blood shot look. 

Coat with two layers of future floor wax. 

Hot glue the eyeball into the socket of the paper mache skull. This guy only has one eye. If that disturbs you too much, make two. Maybe this one originally had two and someone had too many shooters and they ate one? Hope not, because these eyeballs aren't edible. 


Drill holes in the top of the head using a bit that is the same size as the end of the plastic syringe. Make sure it is a tight fit. In this case the bit was 7/32nds.

Space holes about 2- 21/2 inches apart.


Here he is, all ready to go and there is his brother, the mold. He made it out alive. Okay, maybe not alive, but not any worse for wear. 


Fill large plastic syringes with the jello shooters. After they have cooled, poke them into the holes in the paper mache skull. 

What a fun and unique but creepy way to display those jello shots!

› Paper Mache Skull

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