Paper Mask Making

Kimmy Cantrell Inspired Mask Making with Primary School


If you haven’t heard of Kimmy Cantrell, then you’re missing out on life!

I introduced my students to Cantrell’s work and it was the perfect transition from Picasso to mask making. Literally found his work about 2 days before I was going to introduce african mask making. How perfect is that!?


I explained to my students that Cantrell had a very “Picasso-y” feel to his work.  It’s as if he took inspiration from his african american heritage and mixed it with a Picasso flavour like the portraits we painted earlier. And This, in combination with an African heritage Cantrell creates beautifully strange faces from clay and wire.

We watched his artist video before we began making our own.

My school has tons of clay, but no kiln.. so.. we used my favourite medium instead. Paper!

I tried to create a way to make masks or mask type pictures in a few different ways for each year group to try.

Year 4 made paper / origami masks
Year 5 made mask pictures using the crayon scratching technique
Year 6 made masks from cardboard

Each year group had to plan at least 3 faces in their sketchbooks before we started using the materials. I told them to choose the face they liked the most and then ask their class peers to choose a favourite. Make a decision after that.


Origami Masks

Year 4 | 2 sessions


What You’ll Need:

Card stock paper – Assorted colours
Glue sticks
Tissue Paper (optional)
Feathers (optional)

What to do :

By the way, this lesson is a PERFECT symmetry lesson!

Fold card stock in half (portrait way) and cut a half face shape.

Fold both sides of the face inwards and cut some half eye shapes. Triangles work well too.

Now add the facial features. I used the face scraps to create the ears.

For the hair, just one way to do it is to cut some paper into skinny strips and roll the strips around a pencil to curl it.

Add details and decorations with pens and markers if you like. Some children used tissue paper and feathers to decorate the head.

Crayon Scratched Masks

Year 5 | 2 Sessions


I love this technique!

What You’ll need :

Black Ink. We used some india ink and a no name ink. Use what you have.
Card stock paper
Toothpicks, skewers, popsicle sticks, really anything sharp-ish

What to do :

Draw the face onto the card stock paper.

Colour the face in firmly with crayons. (Remember to use white crayons to colour the white areas.)

Brush black ink all over the face. Just one pass, you don’t want it too thick or too watery.

Let it dry. Should only take a few minutes.

Scratch patterns and lines into the face with the toothpick.

You can add a stick on the back if you want.


Cardboard Masks

Year 6 | 3 Sessions


What You’ll Need:

Pens & Markers
Pencils & Crayons
Glue Sticks
Craft knife (Optional)

What to do :

Draw your face onto some cardboard with a black marker.

Use tracing paper to trace the features you want to make raised. Turn the tracing paper over and rub the back of it with something hard like a pen lid or glue stick. The marks will transfer to the cardboard.

Cut out your pieces.

Add little slivers of cardboard in between layers to make some features pop out even more.

Remove some paper layers of the cardboard to reveal the corrugated insides. Use that for texture.

Colour it in, and cut it out.

You can add a stick on the back if you want to.

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these!


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s