PAPIER-MÂCHÉ MASK – Form, Pattern, Contrast

Students design and create a papier-mâché mask for a specific purpose.

Required Time

180 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 10


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


acrylic paint armature features mold papier mâché


Crayola Modeling Clay Crayola Acrylic Paint - 6 Count Crayola Paintbrushes - 5 Count Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") or Sketchbooks Crayola Erasable Coloured Pencils - 12 Count Crayola Glitter Glue Crayola Doodle Pad Newsprint - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Recycled Newspapers Petroleum Jelly Water Containers Embellishments Cardboard - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") - 1 per student

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PAPIER-MÂCHÉ MASK – Form, Pattern, Contrast - Step One

Step One

  1. Use Crayola Modeling Clay to build up the mask form. This will be your mold.
  2. View the mold from the side to be sure you have built up the features to make them really stick out.
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ MASK – Form, Pattern, Contrast - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Coat the mold with petroleum jelly
  2. This will make it easier to remove the mold when the mask is finished.
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ MASK – Form, Pattern, Contrast - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Cover the mold with small pieces of torn newspaper dipped in water.
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ MASK – Form, Pattern, Contrast - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Tear small pieces of white newsprint into a small pile.
  2. Tear small pieces of recycled newspaper into another small pile.
  3. Pour Crayola School Glue into a container.
  4. Add a small amount of water to the glue to thin it slightly.
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ MASK – Form, Pattern, Contrast - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Dip a piece of the white newsprint into the glue mixture then place it on the mold.
  2. Cover the entire mold with a layer of white newsprint.
  3. Repeat this process making the next layer newspaper.
    - This way you can easily tell where you have added a new layer of paper.
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ MASK – Form, Pattern, Contrast - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Add 5 layers of paper alternating between newspaper and white newsprint.
  2. Be sure to use the white newsprint for the last layer.
  3. Allow your mask to dry for about 3 days.
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ MASK – Form, Pattern, Contrast - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. While it is drying use erasable coloured pencils to make 4 plan drawings for painting your mask.
  2. Choose the design you like the best.
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ MASK – Form, Pattern, Contrast - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. When your mask is completely dry squeeze your fingers in between the paper and the modeling clay and gently remove the modelling clay.
  2. Trim the edges with scissors.
  3. Glue small pieces of paper over the edges of the mask to give a smooth finish.
  4. This layer should dry in a day.
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ MASK – Form, Pattern, Contrast - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Use acrylic paint to finish the mask.
  2. Depending on your design, you may want to start by applying a base coat of white.
  3. Add details and embellishments.
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ MASK – Form, Pattern, Contrast - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. View your mask with fresh eyes.
  2. Give it a title.
  3. Write a description of your mask's purpose.
  4. Explain how it is designed to meet its purpose.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a papier-mâché mask with raised features;
  • plan a design for the mask to suit its purpose;
  • use elements of design to communicate their ideas;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.


Have students:

  • research the role of costume designers;
  • create a costume to be used with the mask using the Costume Design lesson available on this website.


  • collect and display pictures of masks used in contemporary society, e.g., hockey masks, protester masks;
  • add comments about how and why the masks are used:
  • choose 2 maks used for different purposes to compare;
    How are they similar?
    - How are they different?
  • present their work to the class.


  1. Download a variety of mask images from the Internet.
  2. Gather and make available books and pictures of masks and other materials that support the focus for your mask lesson, e.g., masks of ancient civilizations.
  3. Download images of papier-mâché projects from the Internet.
  4. Create a sample mold using Crayola modelling clay.
  5. Review the The functions and forms of masks available at the Britannica website.


  1. View and discuss a variety of masks and mask images to find some common characteristics.
  2. Make a list of characteristics of most masks, e.g.,
    - exaggerated facial features
    - mood
    - symmetrical balance
  3. Discuss how masks 'transform' the wearer. 
    - when a person puts on the mask he/she changes
    - in some cultures there is a belief that the mask has special powers and the wearer of the mask receives those powers and becomes one with the mask
  4. Focus on masks that support your topic. Discuss use of materials, decoration, embellishment and possible purpose.
  5. View the pictures of papier-mâché projects and discuss the technique. Explain the process.
    - layers of paper dipped in glue are placed over a mold and allowed to dry
    - glue makes the paper dry hard and strong
    - the more layers you have, the stronger the finished product will be
  6. Introduce the challenge. 


The Challenge

  1. Create a papier-mâché mask with raised features.
  2. Plan a design for the mask to suit its purpose.
  3. Use elements of design to communicate your ideas.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. ​Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria for the mask, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a mask with raised features
    - created a design that suits the purpose of the mask
    - communicated ideas using the elements of design 
    - created a mask that is strong and carefully crafted
  3. Remind them that this mask is meant to be used for a specific purpose.
  4. Encourage them to think of the kinds of details they will need to add to make an effective mask.
  5. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  6. Observe students as they work. 
  7. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Ask students to give their mask a title, and to write a brief description of their mask's purpose, and how it is designed to meet this purpose. 
  2. Display the masks along with the written information for a group discussion. Remind students of the challenge. Ask them to look at the masks, either alone or with one or two others. Read the title and accompanying information and find 3 interesting things they notice.
  3. Proceed with a discussion focusing on the concepts for this lesson.
    purpose - how design elements support the way the mask is meant to be used
    - elements of design - use of colour, line, texture, shape, form
    - technique – papier-mâché surface is smooth, edges are finished


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their paintings – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the painting, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – Mask_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – Mask_self-assessment.pdf)