DIY rhino costume

During our visit to the San Diego Zoo, we stumbled upon a zookeeper giving a feeding and information session about their rhino, so we stopped to watch and listen. Upon deciding we should all be animals for Halloween, I half-jokingly suggested Whitney should be a rhino. Well, he loved the idea. And the crafty person he is, he decided to make his own paper maché rhino mask. Why am I so sheltered from the world that I have never done paper maché?!

Anyway, here’s how he made this hilariously awesome rhino mask. You could really make any type, but rhinos are pretty cool.

This took over a week for him to make (because of drying times and…life).


The Head: He blew up a balloon to roughly the size of his head. He was not intending for the mask to fit on top his head but instead strapped to the front of his face. This will work as the mold for the rhino head. He then cut up a bunch of long, one inch wide strips of newspaper. For the paste, he mixed one part flour and one part water (that’s it!). You can find other paper maché paste recipes online.


He dipped each strip of newspaper in the paste and layered over the balloon.He did the top of the balloon, let it dry (it took about a day or so) and then did the bottom of the balloon. He did a second layer as well, just for added sturdiness.


The Horn and Ears: He took a block of foam (bought at Michael’s in the fake plant section) and used a knife to carve out a horn and ears. He’s really good at this stuff, y’all.




Putting The Mask Together: He used a knife to saw through the back, wider part of the balloon -this will also pop the balloon. He cut out a niche for his chin as well (you’ll see a photo of this below where I’m painting it). To adhere the horn and ears to the head, he pierced a nail from the inside of the mask to the outside and slid the horn and ears on. He used an all-purpose adhesive glue (not hot glue…that would melt the foam) to keep them in place. He also used paper maché over these as well, so they would be sturdier and have the same texture as the rest of the mask.




Finishing The Mask: Guys, I contributed! I wasn’t feeling my best this morning, so excuse my “look”. I mixed white and black together and painted over the whole thing. This was the easiest part…which is why I did it.



Here’s a photo of the back, so you can see how he cut the mask.




Whitney used a darker gray to paint on the eyes, nostrils, mouth, and a few wrinkles. He used a knife to “carve” out the nostril holes to see through.


Then he hot glued some Velcro to the inside of the mask as straps to secure it to his head.



The Rest: He threw on a gray hoodie and sweatpants, black gloves, and black shoes, and ta-da! He also used a strip of felt, cut as a “frayed” tail at the end, which we safety-pinned it to his pants.

Disclaimer: Those nostril holes are not the best thing to look through. So though he can see, it wouldn’t be safe to drive or bike wearing this (which is why I drove him to work this morning).

Think this is something you can accomplish? My husband is nothing if not ambitious. But now it has me excited to make paper maché masks for every Halloween! I think this mask is hilarious, and I’m so excited with how well it turned out. We’re going to hang it on our wall as decoration too. Win win. 🙂

Happy Halloween!

-wonderland sam

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actress/texan kickin' it in los angeles. always searching for my next pizza. cia agent in another life.

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