Making Origami Masks

Lafosse Origami masks

Making Origami Masks is a delightful origami book by Michael LaFosse. Very young children can create these masks with much parental help. However; the book is probably more suited for slightly older children (8+ for those who know origami and 10+ for those who are new to origami).


Some of the masks have eye holes, so you can actually use them as masks. You can hold the masks in place, or use tape and string to fashion a band. Keep in mind that these masks are made of paper thus, they are delicate and may not last more than a few days.

This book has instructions for 8 masks:

The Mardi Gras mask is a half mask: it covers the eyes only, leaving the nose and mouth exposed. It is a generic mask with no particular attributes and, as such, it is one of the most versatile masks in this book.

The Monster Mask is easy to make and very accommodating. Since no one really knows how a monster looks like, you can make it any way that you like and it will still be a monster (long or short ears, wide or narrow eyes etc).

The cat mask is the most difficult. It requires two pieces of paper (one for the head and one for the whiskers). Note that the eyes on this model are round: it is actually somewhat difficult to cut a perfect half circle, so you may need to make this mask a few times before it is perfect. Unlike monsters, everyone knows how a cat looks like. Thus, any variations on the folds will change the facial features causing it to look (or not look) like a cat.

The Skull Mask is getting a little more difficult to fold since the model is slightly curved and has a bit of a 3D effect.

The Daruma Mask is easy to fold but cannot be worn. In Buddhism, the Daruma Mask is used for making wishes. Make a wish and then draw in the pupils in Daruma's eye. Make another wish and draw in the second pupil. In this mask, you can fold the paper to make the pupil instead of drawing it in.

The Elf Mask is delightful. The folding sequence is relatively easy, but cutting the eye and mouth holes is difficult. The best way to make the eye holes is to make slits in the paper with an exacto-knife or a very sharp knife. These implements are very sharp and can be dangerous; parental help is advised. This mask can be worn in front of the face, but it also looks great in front of a greeting card.

The Bird's Beak Mask is probably the most simple mask in this book. It is a half mask: the bottom half. A child can hold the mask in front of his mouth and pretend that he has a beak. The beak will open and close if you jiggle the sides the right way. You can also use this mask as a toy to pick up crumpled paper or small, lightweight balls.

The Fox Mask is not hard to fold, but does require a few more folds that the above masks. This mask does not have eye holes, but the paper can be pried open to give white eyes on a colored face. A child can wear this mask on top of his head: when he is crawling on all fours, the fox mask will look straight at you.

Lafosse Origami masks


Summary

All in all, I really enjoy this book. Rarely do you see such elegant mask designs made in simple steps. Before each model, LaFosse gives a short introduction to the topic, thus this origami book is kid friendly and educational. It can be a good stand alone book and a member of the entire 12-volume set.