Tag Archives: bark

Indigenous Crafts: Mexican Bark Paintings

Indigenous Crafts: Mexican Bark Paintings
Mexican Bark Painting

Mexican Bark Painting

Latin American bark paintings depict birds, fish, sea horses, alpaca, armadillo, and flowers like marigolds, roses, hibiscus and sunflowers. Consider combinations of these objects when creating your design for the bark painting.


White drawing paper

Tracing paper


Permanent black fine-line felt-tipped marker

Acrylic paints – bright colors of choice

Paint brushes


Large paint brush

1/4 inch thick piece of plywood 8” x 10”


  1. Draw your design on a piece of white paper. Then place the tracing paper on the drawing. Trace your design on to the tracing paper.
  2. Blacken the back side of the tracing paper and place it blackened side down on the plywood. Tape it down.
  3. Go over the design on the tracing paper with a pencil by pressing down hard. Remove the tracing paper and go over the lines on the plywood with the black marker. (They should show up on the plywood. Take a peek under one corner of the papers first to see if an impression was made.)
  4. Color the designs with the paints. Make it colorful like real Mexican bark paintings. Allow to dry.
  5. Layer a coat of shellac over the painting to make it shine and to protect it. Mexican bark paintings are colorful. Hang it up in a prominent place.
Mexican Banana Bark Painting

Mexican Banana Bark Painting

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Two-Dimensional Ideas on Paper: Prints from Nature

Two-Dimensional Ideas on Paper: Prints from Nature

The craft NATURE PRINTS was adapted from the project “From the Yard/Nature Prints” found in All-Around-the-House Art and Craft Book by Patricia Z. Wirtenberg and published by Houghton Mifflin Company in1968


Leaves, bark, twigs

Printer’s inks or poster or acrylic paints in various colors (cheaper to use)

Drawing pencils (optional)

Rice or bond paper in white or various light colors (works best with poster/acrylic paints)

Brown wrapping paper or construction paper for use with printer’s inks

Brayer (or roller)

Piece of glass


Solvent for cleaning brayer and glass if using printer’s inks unless using water-soluble printer’s inks

  1. Collect fresh leaves from the trees or bushes in your neighborhood or yard. You will need some to experiment with and some for the last print. Other objects such as tree bark (if it’s easy to peel off) and even some twigs will work along with the leaves, too.
  2. Cover your work surface with newspaper. Lay down the glass and brayer on the work surface. Select the paints or inks that you will use. Acrylic or poster paints are less expensive than oil-based printer’s inks and easier to clean up after use.
  3. You can squeeze one color for each leaf or squeeze two or three colors side-by-side on the glass. The leaves in the samples shown used one or two or three colors at one time.
  4. Roll the paint or inks on the glass until the pigment covers the brayer. If you are using more than one color, let the colors run into each other. Roll the brayer over the leaf several times and turning the leaf over, lay it on a piece of paper like rice paper or bond paper. Use your hand to press the leaf so that it prints on the paper. Paper that is not too thick or too thin is the best to use if using acrylic or poster paints. Printer’s inks can use a slightly heavier paper like construction or brown wrapping paper.
  5. Remove the leaf and see how it printed on the paper. Experiment until you have a print that you like. Experiment with other materials from nature combined with the leaves.
  6. To create a mixed media design, color the whites of the leaves or the background paper or outline the printed leaves with colored pencils. See the two samples below.
  7. Frame the print or using old note card stationery, make note cards or poster cards of the printed leaves. They make a thoughtful gift for people who still write notes!
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