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by Erica Fischer on Dec 7, 2010

Hojalata Art: Mexican Tin Art Project

Hojalata is the tin art made in Mexico that creates both practical and ornate objects. Mexican artisans and craftsmen draw on their imagination to mold inexpensive, readily available tin into elegant, delicate works of art. Candelabras, jewelry boxes or nativity scenes all began as flat pieces of tin, waiting for the craftsman’s touch. Often times glass, mirrors, talavera tiles or other materials are also incorporated into the design as an accent.

Depending on the region, art styles and characteristics differ greatly. In Oaxaca, tin artisans either leave their pieces natural and shiny or use vibrant, colorful paints. In San Miguel de Allende, the tin goes through an aging or oxidization process before it is even shaped. The designs painted on these artifacts range from humorous images to cultural and religious motifs.

This traditional art form provides a wonderful opportunity for you and your students to experience the culture of Mexico in the classroom.

Here is a Hojalata variation you can do with your students!

What you will need: tin foil, dull pencils, scissors, paint
  1. Begin with a flat piece of tin foil.
  2. Use a dull pencil to score the foil with a design.
  3. With scissors cut around the outline of the design to create a unique shape.
  4. Paint the design with bright colors.
  5. Let dry and then display your fine work of Mexican Art.
Dianne, Mark. “Poor Man’s Silver-The Art of Mexican Tin.”
Mase, De. 6th grade students. Mexican Tin Art based on Mayan and Aztec motifs/designs. 3.4.2004.
Elementary in Spanish
Erica Fischer
Erica is the founder and CEO of Calico Spanish. Her passion for teaching her own children to speak Spanish led her to create Calico Spanish. Our mission is to give all children the opportunity to learn to speak real Spanish for life.


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