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Level: Junior, Middle School
Grades: 3-8 | Age: 8-14 | Written by: Margaret Morales
[Margaret is an Artist/Teacher from McAdory Elementary School in Alabama, who has been teaching art in public schools for 25 years.]

Students will express ideas about Mexico using metal tooling techniques and the elements of art and principles of design.

What You Need:
What You Do:

Beginning of lesson:

Say, "Today we will learn about a Mexican folk art called metal tooling." Show a sample. Show students some examples of metal tooling if you have any, or look on the Internet: and

Have students locate Mexico on a map. Ask them, "What are some types of metal?" Examples would be gold, silver, copper, and aluminum.

Ask, "Why are some metals more expensive than others?" Discuss natural resources and why we should recycle because there is a limited supply of it on our planet.

Demonstrate in front of small groups how to emboss using the tool on a giving surface.

Safety Issue: Caution the students to be careful handling the metal because it is sharp and could cut them. Tape may be placed around the edges to make it safer to handle.

Discuss some potential images such as chili peppers, maracas, birds, sunshines, lizards, and sombreros… Give the students a small piece of paper and a pencil to do their rough draft.

Some things to remember for success are:

  1. The design needs to be bold and simple thinking about the elements of art and principles of design.
  2. Trace the foil on your rough draft paper so you can practice on the same size paper.
  3. Make sure a stack of paper or a magazine is under your foil when tooling.
  4. Either trace the design by putting it on top of the foil or draw it free hand with your wooden tool.
  5. Emboss by rubbing larger areas to make it pushed out on the other side.
  6. Turn it over and emboss using the other side, also.
  7. Color the metal by using permanent markers.
  8. Finish by putting these together as a group project with beads and wire. They can also be finished individually as a small wall hanging.

More Information:


Mexican Folk Art

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