Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mexican Folk Art Trinket Boxes

The final project that I did with my after school art class, Art Around the World 2, needed to be quick and easy since they were also finishing up their Oaxacan snakes. I had such wonderful success at Christmastime having students make Mexican Folk Art Tooled Metal Ornaments, so I had them use that process to make metalwork tops for wooden trinket boxes. They came out great! The boys in the class had just as much fun creating these as the girls did.

Mexican Folk Art Trinket Boxes:

Supplies Needed:

  • Tooling aluminum from www.dickblick.com
  • Newspapers
  • Dull pencil
  • Sharpies or other permanent markers
  • Wooden box (I bought ours at AC Moore for $1.00 each, I think)
  • Acrylic paints, assorted colors
  • Paintbrush
  • Paper plate for palette, water & paper towels
  • Hot glue & glue gun
  • Mod Podge (glossy) or spray varnish, optional


1. Cut a circle from tooling aluminum slightly smaller that the top of the wooden box.

2. Place the aluminum onto a stack of newspapers and use the dull pencil to press the design into the aluminum.

3. Flip the aluminum over and use the Sharpies to add color to the raised design. Set aside.

4. Choose a color for your wooden box. Put a bit of paint onto the palette and add a couple of drops of water to it to thin the paint slightly. Use your paintbrush to work quickly and paint the outside & inside of the box. While the paint is still wet, use a paper towel to wipe off the excess. This technique creates a stained effect on the wood of the box, allowing the wood grain to show through. You may need to work in sections to be able to wipe the paint off while it is still wet. Let the box dry completely.

5. You can now add a decorative pattern to the box. Choose 1-2 colors that coordinate with your design and squeeze a bit of each color onto your palette (about a pea-sized amount of each). Dip the wooden end if the paintbrush into the paint and touch it to the surface of the box to make a dot. Continue around the edge of the cover or around the base of the box, as you like.

6. Once all the paint is dry, you can seal the wood with 1-2 coats of Mod Podge, if desired.

7. Once the sealant is dry, attach the tooled metal piece to the top of the box using hot glue (a grown-ups job). 

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