African Masks Again (March 2014)

I devised this project three years ago, and it was the subject of my first ever blog post (click here). The project was just as successful second time around, enjoyed this year by my youngest Art Club set who are three and four years old.

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The children used white paint to decorate their own masks, inspired by an ornamental wooden African mask which I have at home. I also showed them some photos of West African tribal masks adorned with different patterns and designs.

blog DSCF9117Each child was given a mask shape cut out from brown paper, which they carefully decorated with intricate patterns in white paint, even using the wooden tip of the brush handle to add patterns of dots.

I encouraged the children to emphasise the eyes, and try to make their masks really bold and striking.

Finishing touches were added by stapling ‘fringed’ offcuts of white fabric to represent hair and beards.

When they were dry, the masks were folded in a special way to give them a contoured form.

And here they are modelled by the children outside on a crisp, bright winter’s day!





  1. These masks look fantastic! Would you have a template for the mask and folding directions? They are so effective – I want to try it with my special needs kids. Thanks.

  2. Hello EJ and Kaleb, I’m sorry but I don’t have a template for the mask – it was a long time now. I adapted the mask from some cardboard packaging from the supermarket – for apples I think! You would have to sketch it out and figure out the folds – the second image shows the shape and structure of the mask quite clearly though I think…

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