African Masks with Scratch Art Paper

Scratch Art paper is available with either a white, colored, or foil background, which is revealed when the black top coating is scratched away with a wooden stick.  While this technique is simple enough for Kinders to do, the most striking results are achieved by upper grade students who have the patience to make more detailed drawings and patterns.  (The younger kids often get so excited about scratching away the black, that they forget about their drawing and just scratch it all off – haha!)



1. First, look at examples of African masks.  Note the stylized features and geometric shapes and patterns.
2. Fold your copy paper in half so that the long edges meet.
3. Cut out a head shape on the fold, rounded at the top and pointed at the bottom.
4. Then, fold your paper the other direction, with the fold closer to the top.  Draw your eyes on this fold line.
5. Next, add a nose, mouth, eyebrows and some geometric patterns to your face.  Keep your designs simple and “stylized”.
6. Staple your Scratch Art paper to the construction paper at the corners.  (Try to touch the black surface as little as possible while you’re working.  The oil from your hands will make the black more difficult to scratch off.  By stapling it to a larger, colored paper, you not only have a colorful frame for your art, but also a way to handle it without touching the black surface!)
7. Center the face you just drew over your black Scratch Art paper and trace around it and over all your lines.  When you lift your drawing, you will see an impression of your drawing on the black paper.
8. Now the real fun begins!  Use a wooden stick to scratch your drawing onto your Scratch Art paper.  Avoid scratching out large solid areas – just scratch away patterns instead!
9. If you want, you can use markers to add a bold, geometric pattern to your border.

, ,

3 Responses to African Masks with Scratch Art Paper

  1. Kirsten Larson May 13, 2012 at 6:51 am #

    I remember doing this in kindergarten. Thanks for bringing back a wonderful memory!

  2. Global Kids Oz September 4, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    I remember doing something similar at school, not quite this impressive though. I am a fan of African inspired artwork and this is something I think all children would love.

    • Cheryl Trowbridge September 4, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

      I’m a huge fan of African art, too! And you’re right, the kids LOVE it!!