Mexican Tin Art: Inspired By Diego Rivera

Today’s Mexican tin art project for kids is inspired by a type of Mexican folk art called hojalata (tin art work).  Since the 1500’s, Mexican artisans have been shaping, stamping, punching, cutting and painting this metal into decorative and sometimes functional artwork.

One reason this type of art is popular is that it’s light and inexpensive.  Its shiny surface appears similar to silver which makes it very appealing for making decorative art.

There are several regions of Mexico that specialize in tin artwork.  One is Oaxaca and the other is San Miguel de Allende.

Examples of Mexican tin art

In this art project, we will create Mexican tin folk art inspired by Diego Rivera.

Diego Rivera is thought to be the most influential Mexican artists of the 20th century.

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Diego Rivera was born in Guanajuato, Mexico in 1886.  Rivera’s interest in art expressed itself at an early age.  He began drawing as a child and at the age of 10, he went to study at the San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City.  An early artistic influence in his life was an artist José Posada, who ran a print shop near his school.

Around the age of 21, Diego visited Europe to further study art.  While in Europe he made friends with many popular artists of the time, including Pablo Picasso.  He was able to view art created by Paul Gaugin, Henri Matisse, and many other artists as well.

In his own artwork, Diego Rivera created art that reflected the native people and working class of Mexico.  Rivera was able to express his artistic viewpoint of Mexico’s people through a series of murals painted on the walls of public buildings funded by the government.

In 1922, Rivera completed his first of the murals at Escuela Nacional Preparatoria in Mexico City.

Creation (1922-1923)

Diego Rivera was married several times in his life.  One of his marriages was to fellow Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.

Flower vendors were a popular subject of many of Rivera’s paintings.  The artwork that inspires today’s project is, El Vendedor de Alcatraces.

El Vendedor de Alcatraces by Diego Rivera

El Vendedor de Alcatraces

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To make things a bit easier for the art project, I cropped just the center of the painting.

Supplies needed for this Mexican tin art project for kids are:

  • Cardboard or Bristol Board (8 x 10) (we used a recycled cardboard bo)
  • Printed detail of artwork trimmed to 8 x 10
  • Aluminum Foil (heavy duty is best)
  • Tacky Glue
  • Glue Stick
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Acrylic Paint (Red/Yellow/Blue/White/Black)
  • Paint Brushes and Palette for mixing

The first step of this project is to use the glue stick to glue the copy of the artwork to the piece of cardboard.  The rigid cardboard will create a durable surface to support the artwork.

Next, trace the important lines of the painting in tacky glue.  Allow the glue to lay flat and dry completely.  The glue will dry clear.

Diego Rivera art project for kids

Once the glue is dry, tear off a sheet of aluminum foil just a bit larger than the cardboard.  Coat the back of the foil (less shiny side) with the glue stick and gently lay the glued art face down in the center of the glued foil.

Carefully turn the artwork over and gently begin pressing down on the foil with your fingertips to adhere the foil to the raised glue.  Start in the center and work your way out, this will help the foil mold over the raised glue.

Once you have the foil patted down with your fingertips, gently take a cotton swab to smooth the foil over the glue even further.  The reason we are using a cotton swab is so that we do not tear the foil.

Once the foil is smoothed over the glue, gently turn the cardboard over and apply glue around the edges.  Smooth the extra foil around the edges of the cardboard and adhere to the back of the cardboard.

How to make 3d Mexican tin art

Your Tin Art is now complete and ready for paint!

Using acrylic paint and a small brush, fill in each area of the artwork with paint.  Use the raised edges of the glue to create the edges between the shapes of color.  Fill in each area of the artwork with the colors of the painting.  The last step of the painting is to apply yellow paint to the raised centers of the flowers.

Allow the paint to dry completely.

Diego Rivera Mexican tin art project for kids

Your Mexican Tin Art inspired by Diego Rivera is finished!

Mexican tin art project for kids

 

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About the author

Crystal Foth manages 19 Southern California fine art studios for Mission: Renaissance Fine Art Classes. She spends her free time creating art, planning fun art projects and enjoying creative adventures with her family around Los Angeles.

View all articles by Crystal Foth

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