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Lesson: Reflective 3D Portrait

February 29, 2016 | By Rachel Zink

Portraits are a great way to explore who YOU are, and this one is extra-fun because it has sculptural elements to it. We’ve given you some reflection questions at the end, to talk about while you’re creating your portrait. What other questions come to mind?


  • Apply 3D concepts to portraiture while exploring creative thought.
  • Encourage reflective thoughts through discussion and painting.


  • Cardboard – at least 8×8 inches
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Wide Masking Tape
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paintbrushes


  1. Draw the outline of a head and neck on a piece of cardboard. Start by drawing the oval for the head, then draw the neck line and connect across the bottom. Add ears or hair that would stick out from the outline of the head.
  2. Cut out.
  3. Trace on to a second sheet of the same size cardboard. Cut.
  4. Place 4 – 8 wads of masking tape on one of the heads, then place the second one on top. This will give a bit of depth to the head.
  5. Wrap the entire head and neck in masking tape.
  6. Make a nose by cutting cardboard in your desired nose shape. Score down the center from top to bottom, bend in the center.
  7. Tape the nose to the face.
  8. Mix your flesh tone with acrylic paint. Paint the entire surface of the head.
  9. Mix colors to add details such as eyes, lips, hair, etc. Paint facial features.
  10. For the eyes, paint an almond shape like you would for eyes. Once dry, paint eyelashes so your eyes appear closed.
  11. Paint a shirt.

Tweak It!

  • Make tiny portraits and put a magnet on the back.
  • Make portraits of a friend or family member in reflective though, and ask the questions in the reflection section of your friend or family member.


Close your eyes. Think about what you want to do in 2016. What are your wildest dreams? What do you want to do this year, or accomplish?

Do you daydream? What do you daydream about?


© 2016 Arts For Life