Lesson Objectives: Students will utilize a variety of elements and principles of design to create a 3-dimensional paper mask. They will become aware of  the history and meanings of masks in various cultures.

Artist: Africa, Kifewebe Face Mask

Time Required:      1 hour


12”x18” Colored tag board for basic form

Variety of colored 9”x12” construction paper for added details



Hole-punches (optional)


  1. Give an overview of styles, materials used and reasons for mask making in various cultures.
  2. Demonstrate how to create the basic form by folding the paper lengthwise, drawing a contour for the mask shape, and cut out.  Cut about a 2” slits in the fold line at the top and bottom.  The cut section is then pulled together and stapled.
  3. Demonstrate a variety of paper sculpting techniques that can be applied to the mask (curling, folding, curving, crimping, hole punching circles, etc.). 


  1. Students build onto the mask form considering the following:  Symmetry (cutting two shapes at one time, cut nose and mouth with center on the fold), “breaking the edge” (extending beyond the contour of the mask), layering of color, and patterns.  Unity is important.  “Breaking the edge” can be accomplished by adding horns, hair, beards, scalloped edge, geometric shapes, etc.
  2. Layer colors.  For example, a yellow triangle can be added to a black mask.  Then a smaller red triangle can be glued in the center of the yellow one.  Then a smaller blue circle can then be glued in the center of the red triangle. 
  3. Patterns are made by repeating lines, shapes, or a theme.  An interesting pattern can be developed by using the shapes from hole-punches.


  1. A template can be used for the basic form to trace onto a variety of colored construction paper prior to class to ensure proper scale and variety of colors within the classroom.
  2. Use only white paper for a completely different effect.