Cardboard Self Portraits

Cardboard Self Portraits

Create an assemblage that is a reflection of your unique personality! During this workshop, learn to use small, geometric pieces of cardboard to create abstract self-portraits and faces. Add color to the cardboard using oil pastels and markers. If you have other items at home to use for adornment (such as small seashells, buttons, feathers, yarn, or beads), feel free to use them.


  • Paper & Colored Pencils
  • Recycled Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Craft Glue
  • Oil Pastels
  • Sharpie Markers

Step 1: Begin by having a brainstorm sketching session. Divide your paper into four sections and sketch a few geometric facial designs. Use colored pencils on your sketches to play with color application and arrangement. 

Step 2: Select one of your sketches that you would like to translate to cardboard.

Step 3: Gather cardboard pieces of all sizes. 

Step 4: Decide how large your face will be and either cut a piece of cardboard to size or glue two pieces together to create your base. 

Step 5: Once your base is ready, begin to place your facial features. Use any geometric shapes you have found and cut new shapes to build your face.

Step 6: When all your facial features are in place, use craft glue to secure them.

Step 7: After the glue dries and all the pieces are locked in place, add color by using oil pastels. Outline the shapes with the sharpie makers to create a bold look. 

Learning and Discussion Questions:

1. Contemporary artist Kimmy Cantrell uses this facial style in his artworks. Visit the following links to see his work:



2. To learn more about the use of cardboard as a medium in contemporary art, read this Widewalls article.

Thank you to our sponsor, PNC Arts Alive!, for helping to make this video possible!

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