Thursday, May 19, 2016

Abstract Cardboard Masks

Ella, 2nd grade

Raya, kindergarten

 Charlize, 2nd grade

 Kiran, 1st grade
(This shape reminds me of Keith Haring's dogs - Love it!)

 Harper, kindergarten

 Kate, kindergarten

 Thalia, 3rd grade

Katherine, kindergarten
(My kinder girls were very adamant about wanting their masks to be "cute")
Love the blond locks

Mira, 3rd grade

Scott, 5th grade

It's been six years since I have done an abstract cardboard mask project inspired by artist, Kimmy Cantrell shown here. Recently I saw some Fantastic masks over at Handmakery. They inspired me to give it another go with my Unique Materials Art Fun classes. I loved the way they layered facial features on separated pieces of scrap cardboard, so I had the kids create their masks in a similar way. The bases were created on squares cut from large cardboard boxes. (I've earned my black belt as a dumpster diving ninja) ;) We looked at examples of Cantrell's clay work before creating a unique face shape. These were divided into sections with permanent marker and painted with acrylics or shaded with pastels. 

I then handed out thin pieces of cardboard from boxes of cereal, oatmeal, soda ect... It prompted a funny discussion about grits. (My husband is from the south, but none of these west coast kids had ever heard of them.) I encouraged the kids to make their features, bold and unique. They added color with oil pastels and cut them out. They played around with their arrangement before gluing these down.

Kimmy Cantrell uses unique hardware accents in many of his masks. So I provided a variety of fun embellishments to use in their masks. Key earrings were all the rage. (My mom works at a hardware store in case you were wondering) Miss Mary used a glue gun for these heavy pieces.

This was a lot of fun for my wide age range groups. Everyone felt successful and it was a great way to teach the children that they could create art from a variety of recycled materials.

  Recycled food and beverage boxes for facial features - easy for the kids to cut out


  1. I absolutely love these! I am wondering how the kids cut out the face shapes - my experience with the little ones (K-2) is that corrugated boxes are very very tough for them to cut out. Did you cut them for them? Thanks!

    1. Thank you! Yes, since my classes are small and these were young students, I did cut the cardboard faces for them. Smaller features on thin cardboard could be cut with scissors by the children.


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