Paper Mask Making | Kimmy Cantrell Inspired

3 Awesome Kimmy Cantrell Paper Masks

Made With Primary School

Age 8-11 | Year 4 -6 | 3 - 4 Sessions

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

  • Pencils

  • Scissors

  • Glue sticks

  • Markers

  • 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 half a face shape.


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


Cut a slim shape to create the mouth. It may useful to pre-draw this to test how it will look. I also showed students some expressive mouth ideas by drawing them on the board and drawing a line down the center so they had a better idea of what half of the mouth would look like.


I used the extra scraps of paper from when we cut the face to create the nose and ears.


For the hair, just one way to do it is to cut some paper into a sort of fringe, by cutting skinny strips down the paper but leaving one side of the paper's edge intact in order to keep the strips together, and to a have a place to glue it to the face. Tightly roll the strips around a pencil to curl it.


Add decorations with tissue paper, feathers, pipe cleaners, whatever you like! Some children used pens and markers to add other details.

Crayon Scratched Masks

Year 5 | 2 Sessions

I love this technique!

What You'll Need:

  • Paint Brushes

  • Black Ink. We used some india ink and a no name ink. Use what you have.

  • Card stock paper

  • Scissors

  • Anything sharp-ish like tooth picks, skewers, popsicle sticks, paper clips

  • Crayons

  • Black Sharpie

What to do:


In a sketchbook or scrap paper plan some different face ideas. Take a look at Kimmy Cantrells page and see what types of facial features he creates the most. Draw some inspiration from that and create at least 4 face designs.


With a black sharpie, draw the face onto the card stock paper.