Making a Japanese mask out of construction paper provides a creative challenge for a wide range of age groups. The vivid facial expressions and evocative colours and shapes of traditional Japanese masks make bright sheets of construction paper an ideal medium for the project. The construction method of cutting and pasting allows you to layer shapes and colours and create patterns easily. You can also experiment with adding 3-dimensional details and appendages that break the boundaries of the mask, such as horns and beards.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Coloured construction paper
- Paper hole punch
- Rubber bands
Collect images of traditional Japanese masks for inspiration.
Sketch a design for your mask using colours and shapes inspired by the images.
Fold a 9 1/2-by-11-inch piece of construction paper in half vertically.
Draw half of the mask using the fold as the centre line. Hold the paper against your face to mark the location for the eye holes if you intend to wear the mask. Fold the paper again and add one eye and half of the mouth to create a symmetrical mask.
Cut out the mask along the lines, including the mouth and the eye, keeping the paper folded.
Sculpt details from construction paper in contrasting colours. Curl thin lengths of paper to create hair or eyelashes. Fold a triangle in half to make a nose. Layer colours, shapes and patterns as you design to make your mask come alive. Make shapes such as decorations on cheeks symmetrical by cutting two layers of paper at one time. Extend features such as horns, ears and eyebrows beyond the edge of the mask for a dynamic visual effect.
Glue the details to the mask and allow it to dry.
Punch holes for the ear straps.
Insert a rubber band into each ear strap hole then pull the rubber band back through itself to create the ear straps.
Tips and warnings
- For preschool aged children, hand out pre-printed shapes that they may use to practice cutting and gluing. Allow older children to experiment with creating their own shapes.
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