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How to Make Papier Mache African Mask

Home > Everywhere > Art | Craft | Fun for Children
by Danielle (subscribe)
I am a primary school teacher that is very passionate about the arts and creativity. I enjoy writing about different events to show how people can make the most out of their life.
Published March 15th 2013
A fun activity to do whenever, wherever
African masks play a vital part many cultures and tell such tales of expression, religion and personality. They are created with so many colours and designs and they are great fun to make. You can create your own design that is full of feathers, sequins, glitter and much more.

To make this fun and creative mask, you will need:

1. Newspaper- around four of them (make sure they are used first.)

2. A large piece of cardboard.

3. Large mixing bowl and mixing spoon

4. White school glue

5. Water

6. 1 knife and craft board.

7. A pencil

8. A range of different Acrylic paints and different sized paint brushes.

9. Accessories (such as feathers, rope, sequins, straw, or beads).

10. Strong craft glue

11. Chicken wire

12. Flour

Step one:

You need to take your large piece of cardboard and draw your African mask shape on to it with your pencil. When you are happy with the outline of your African mask, you need to go around the outlines of your design with your craft knife cutting it out on your craft board.

Step two:

We need to make our papier mache mix. For this we need to mix glue, water and flour. The instructions for making your papier mache are below:

Boil 5 cups of water in a saucepan.

In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup of sieved flour with a cup of cold water. Mix to a smooth consistency and when completely free of lumps, add the mixture to the water in the saucepan. Gently boil, stirring constantly for two or three minutes until the mixture thickens. This mixture should be very similar to thick custard.

Step three:

You need to shred the newspaper into strips. After you have done that, you need to dip the strips into your papier mache mix and start to build up your African mask on the cardboard outline you had made before. When it starts to get too wet, give the papier mache time to dry and then start to build it up again. We want to make sure we have detailed features like the nose, eyebrows, any make-up features that you might find on some African masks. This might take a few days.

Step four:

After you have built up your African mask, you need to give it a thick brown coat of acrylic paint, so you can no longer see the newspaper and you can then make a creative design on your mask when it is dry.

Step five:

It is time to make your creative design on your African mask. You can use whatever colours and designs you want, but if you are struggling for designs, there are plenty on the internet if you type in 'african mask designs'. Below is a design you can follow.

Step six:

After you have finished your design, you can now put your mask to one side and make your wig. You need to cut the chicken wire to the shape of you head, by putting the chicken wire on your head and shaping it.

Step seven:

After you have made your chicken wire shaped head, we need to build up a few layers of papier mache on top of the wire head.

Step eight:

When the papier mache has dried, we need our strong craft glue to stick the rope to the head, but you can make any hair design you want.

Step nine:

When the strong craft glue has set we need to stick the African mask on to the African wig.

Your mask is now ready to wear.


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Why? Very fun and creative.
When: Whenever.
Where: In the home or school.
Cost: Less than five pound.
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