How To Make African Style Animal Masks with Kids

African style animal masks are great learning tools for kids. You can teach them about animals indigenous to African as well as harness their artistic skills. These masks are easy to make with only a few materials found in craft stores. You can use a variety of materials some of which are:

  • Construction paper
  • Colored markers, crayons, paint and other coloring materials
  • Glue
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Scissors
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Yarn
  • Pencil
  • hole punch

Research on African animals. Look at pictures of the different animals found in Africa. Some popular African animals are the lion, giraffe, hippopotamus, monkey, elephant and zebra. Study the pictures of the animals and take note of their distinct facial features. Print close up pictures of the faces of the African animals you intend to base your masks on.

Create your mask. You can use construction paper or even paper plate as the base. Start by adding eye holes. Then work on adding the different facial features that are distinct to the animal you are basing your mask on. You can use coloring materials, construction paper and a host of other craft materials in creating the mask. The mask can either be worn around the head or glue it to as stick if it will be held in front of the face instead. Below is a sample of how to make an African lion mask.

Lion mask

  • Cut an oval shape out of tan construction paper enough to cover the child’s face. Pencil in eye holes and cut them out with scissors.
  • Using markers, crayons or even paint, draw the details of the lion’s face. Use the photograph of the lion as the inspiration for the lion’s facial features. You can also cut out shapes from construction paper for the lion’s facial features. Cut a red circle for the mouth, two tan or light brown circles for the part of the face where the whiskers come out off and a triangular black shape for the nose. Glue the mouth first then the two light brown circles. These two circles should be glued partially covering the mouth and overlapping with each other. Glue the black nose in the between the two light brown circles. The top edges should be in line and the triangle pointing downwards. Cut a longer triangle using the light brown paper for the middle part of the lions face. Glue this just above the top edge of the lion’s nose.
  • Cut out two circular shapes for the ears using light brown paper. Glue these onto the top corners of the mask. Draw in the inner ear using a dark brown marker or crayons. Draw the eyebrows of the lion just above the eye holes.
  • Fold and cut brown pipe cleaners in half for the whiskers. Glue 3 of the cut pipe cleaners to each side where the whiskers should appear.
  • Make the lion’s mane by cutting yellow or light brown yarn in 2 inch long pieces. Glue the yarn around the mask.
  • Punch one hole on each side of the mask. Cut two 6’ inch long pieces of yarn. Insert one yarn in one hole and make a knot. Do the same for the other yarn. These yarns will be tied together later on when the child wears the mask.

When making animal masks African style, use an oval shaped masked as a base. Decorate the mask using your choice of materials. Draw inspiration from pictures of African animals to make the masks look authentic.


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