DLTK's Crafts for Kids
Make an African Mask/Shield
Behind the mask is a
3 yr old in a ballerina
version in our
fan art section!
(Our finished mask was about 2 1/2 feet tall). There are eye holes so the kids can see (they can only see through one hole at a time) and it's a perfect size for protecting your body from the razor sharp claws of Sera our housecat. You can also Make a Spear (the tip is styrofoam!) for your mighty hunters.
This was a very exciting project for both of the girls. Since my children are young (ages 3 and 7), I allowed them to freely create their own design for the mask (I don't think most African masks have big smiley mouths, but my 3 yr old insisted we make it look less scary).
If you are crafting with older children, have them examine some African masks on-line before they create their design. One resource I found to do
this was at http://cti.itc.virginia.edu/~bcr/African_Mask_Portraits.html.
- corrugated cardboard (old cardboard box)
- scissors (good strong ones!), case cutter or exacto knife
- brown paint (poster/tempra paint)
- decorator color of paint (we used white, but any color would work)
- raffia, string or wool
- Optional: Paper Mache -- visit "How to Paper Mache" for the recipe
Tasha's original design
- decide on the design for your project.
- Visit http://cti.itc.virginia.edu/~bcr/African_Mask_Portraits.html
for some ideas.
- Keep in mind that you'll have to cut out the pieces, so you'll
want to make them fairly basic shapes.
- Draw the design on a piece of paper (or on computer software that allows drawing)
- Freehand draw the facial pieces onto corrugated cardboard (old
- Cut them out
- If you want some facial pieces to stick out more:
- trace the first piece
- Cut the shape out again
- Glue the shapes together
- We did 2 layers for the mouth and 3 layers for the nose.
- trace the first piece
- freehand draw the shield/mask shape on a large piece of cardboard.
- Cut it out.
- Cut out eye holes.
- At this point you can just glue all of your pieces together.
- OR, you can paper mache the project. The Paper Mache will make
the craft MUCH sturdier. It is the method we chose.
- paper mache (2 layers) the shield and all of the face pieces.
- while the mache is still wet, assemble the face. The wet mache will stick together and hold the pieces in place
- let dry
- cover with a final layer of scrap white paper mache
- visit "How to Paper
Mache" for tips on paper macheing.
- Once everything's dry, paint the entire project brown -- young siblings can help with this step!
- Decorate with stripes and pokadots in a different color.
- Poke two holes on one side of the mask (about the center), one on
top of the other about 4 inches apart. Do the same on the other
side. A drill or nail/hammer works well for this.
- Thread raffia, string or wool through the holes, tying in front of
the mask. Don't tie it tight -- leave a loop in the back as