Catalina Gutierrez of Redviolet Studio shares how to create cardboard Miró inspired magic animal masks for kids!
“I want to see large birds, snakes and creatures of the night in pictures.”– Joan Miró
I have a long, and I mean a LONG list of favorite artists that inspire me day after day to do art with children.
Miró is among the top of this list as his art is so colorful and relatable. It’s full of shapes and lines–so magical and inspiring to children (and adults too of course)!
I have done a few projects based on his work before. But I have got to say that these animal masks for kids (inspired by Antony Penrose’s book:“Miró’s Magic Animals” and by the artist’s wonderful paintings of fantastic animals) were a project that really sparked the kids’ interests and imaginations.
After reading the book and learning a little about Miró’s life and his love for plants and animals, we saw some of his paintings of magic animals, and I started asking the kids questions:
“What kind of animal could this one be?” I asked.
“It’s like a fish head with a lizard body!” and “This one has the head of a giraffe and the legs of an armadillo!” were some of their answers.
They were so excited trying to figure out what they saw and give names to the animals in Miró’s paintings.
After this discussion I asked the kids to think about what their magic animal would look like.
“Mine is going to be a Uniraffe!” said a girl. “And mine a catbear!”… We had come up with all sorts of animal mixes and crazy ideas.
The kids were fired up and ready to start working on their masks based on the animals they had invented.
How to Make Animal Masks for Kids
- Recycled Cardboard
- Pre-cut Cardboard Pieces
- googly eyes
- felt pieces
- acrylic paint in various colors
- foam shapes
- colored paper shapes
- cut straws
- colored matchsticks
- dowels (optional)
- hot glue gun & glue gun sticks
- exacto knife
1. Cut out the animal mask shape
First, start by cutting out the shape of the mask using recycled cardboard and an Exacto knife or sturdy kitchen scissors.
If you are working with more than one kid at a time cut the masks differently; be creative and silly!
2. Paint the animal masks
Then set out the pre-cut masks and invite the children to paint them. Cover the animal masks completely with the acrylic paints set out in small jars or cups.
Remind the children to think about their magic animal face, “What does it look like? What shapes can they see in these faces?
Encourage them to cover the whole mask in paint, using different colors and shapes.
3. Cut, glue and paste on animal features
Bring in the glue and most of the supplies you gathered for the project: paper, felt, sticks, cardboard pieces, eyes, foamy, straws, cardboard shapes, etc.
These are mainly things I had around my studio, but you can pretty much include any item you have that may be fun to add features to the animal masks.
Ask the kids to think about what the animal’s eyes look like, and nose…could it have two noses? What about the mouth? Will it be a large one or a tiny one filled with sharp teeth?
Pick their minds asking questions so they really put a lot of details into their creations. Remind them to use their scissors to cut the different materials into the shapes and sizes they desire.
4. Add hair to animal masks
Bring out the yarn, pre-cut in long strands and in different colors and see what happens. Most of the children started adding hair and beards to their animals.
It was so fun to watch how the masks mutated into something more fun and fantastic every minute of the process.
5. Add a dowel rod to the mask
Glue a dowel (with a glue gun) to the back of the mask once it’s dry and take all the animals out on a parade!
6. Imaginative share & play with animal masks
The children loved showing off their masks and discussing with each other what they created and the special powers their animals had.
It was a cool process all the way to the end! And I mean, check these out!!
I hope you get a chance to try making these amazing animal masks for kids!
About the Author
Catalina is the founder of Redviolet Studio, a mobile art experience for children. She is originally from Colombia but has been based in Miami for the past 10 years.
Catalina teaches after school art classes for preschool and elementary kids and sensory art & play classes for toddlers.
She is very interested in the Reggio Emilia approach to education where the children lead their own learning process with the teacher being more of a facilitator rather than a voice who shows them where to look and what to find. She loves crafting with her boys and a good process art session.
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