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Art Lessons for Kids - Make a Masterpiece Picasso Mask

Updated on July 28, 2011

How to make your own Picasso mask!

Pablo Picasso, (1881-1973), was one of the most important 20th century artists. He painted, was a sculptor and a draughtsman. It was said that if there was a type of art to be made, he made it. He was also one of the most prolific artists that has ever lived, with an estimated 25,000 pieces of artwork created in his lifetime. He was a phenomenal painter of realism, yet is most widely known for his cubist paintings.

During the years, 1909 -1912, Picasso was heavily influenced by African artifacts. During this time period, he often painted masks on figures in his work. This is what has inspired the Picasso Mask!

There are two types of masks that can be made. One is for older children, and one for young children which is always successful to make. Both are a tremendous amount of fun! I recommend using Google to look up images of "Masks" or "Tribal Masks" or "African Masks", and share a bunch of these images with the kids before you begin. This will inspire them to create wild patterns and use interesting colors.

Materials you'll need for your Picasso Masterpiece:

For Younger Children:

  • Colored construction paper
  • A Pencil
  • Hole punch
  • String
  • Your choice of: Oil Pastels, Tempera Paint (if you use this, you'll need paintbrushes), or Markers
  • Scissors (with teacher supervision or help)

For Older Children:

  • Thin Cardboard
  • Masking tape or Paper tape
  • Colored Tissue Paper
  • White Glue
  • Tempera Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Water Cups
  • Scissors or an X-acto knife (with teacher supervision)

How to assemble your Picasso Mask Masterpiece:
For Younger Children:

  1. Draw out the shape of your mask onto colored construction paper, it should be larger than your head
  2. With adult supervision or help, cut out the eyes and the mouth
  3. Draw or paint your mask with loads of patterns and colors
  4. Use a hole punch to punch a hole on each side of the mask, close to the ears, but not too close to the edge of the paper.
  5. Carefully tie string on each side, then fit to the artists head, and tie the string behind the head. (See the last picture below for a sample! )

For Older Kids:

  1. Draw the shape of the mask, keeping in mind that it needs to be a bit larger as it will be slightly folded to look three dimensional. (See example below )
  2. Cut out the mask shape
  3. With help or supervision from an adult, cut out eyes and a mouth (if necessary)
  4. Cut a triangular piece of cardboard for the nose (either long or short, wide or thin), this too needs to be drawn larger as it too will be folded for a three dimensional look.
  5. Gently bend (NOT folding) the mask, look at the top of it and determine the size of cardboard that will need to be cut to help keep the mask rounded, (Look at the example below of the top of the mask).
  6. Draw and cut out the top mask shape.
  7. Design, draw and paint your mask, let it dry
  8. Using white glue, add on any colored tissue paper you would like to use to build up eyes, patterns or lips. This may take a while to build it up, but looks amazing!
  9. Set aside to dry.
  10. On the shape that has been cut out for the top of the mask to help keep it curved, use masking tape or paper tape to line the edge and while the mask is bending, carefully tape this piece into place. Then use tape again on the top edge outside to reinforce it. (This will be covered).
  11. Use tape on the inside of the nose piece and tape it down onto the mask as it is bending.
  12. Reinforce the tape on the edges of the nose.
  13. Using paint and tissue paper, cover the nose and the top of the mask so it blends in.

Tip:To build up surfaces quickly under the tissue paper, you can use string or twine and glue it down, then glue tissue paper on top. This is especially helpful if you want to build up large shapes.


Clean Up:Use a rag with warm water and mild detergent to clean up any glue or paint. Wash out brushes immediately and make sure scissors are free from glue so they last many more projects to come.


And, remember: Art is a practice. The more you make, the better it gets!

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