Mexican Folk Art Turtle

Some Mexican folk art features animals painted in vibrant colors and festive motifs. These pieces may be hung on the wall as decorations for holidays, such as Cinco de Mayo. Recreate your own piece of Mexican folk art at home with recycled materials!



Step 1. Gather your supplies.

Step 2.

To make the turtle’s body, glue 2 plates together, so that the bottom of each plate faces outward. Let the glue dry.

Step 3.

Cut cardboard paper tubes into 5 even pieces; four pieces for the legs and one for the head. 

Step 4.

Cut 2 slits in one end of the paper towel tube, about ¼ apart and 1” deep.

Step 5.

Fold the cut flap over, as shown.

Step 6.

Repeat steps 4-5 on the opposite side of the tube.

Step 7.

Repeat steps 4-6 on the remaining 4 tubes. You should have two folded over pieces within each tube.

Step 8.

Slide the cut end of one tube on the body of the turtle. This will be one of the legs.

Step 9.

Add the remaining tubes to the body, as shown, to make the legs and head of the turtle.  Use a little glue to secure the pieces.

Step 10.

Place your turtle on a piece of wax paper. Using green Simply Spray Project Paint, spray one even coat of paint on the turtle. Begin and end spraying off the project to prevent splatter. Let the paint dry approximately 30 minutes and repeat with one more coat of spray, if needed.

Step 11.

Glue bottle caps in a symmetrical pattern on the shell of the turtle.

Step 12.

Make the eyes by using 2 bottle caps. Use the Oil Pastels to draw designs on the turtle.  Look for inspiration in Mexican Folk art. On our turtle we drew sun rays, and different patterns inspired by leaves.

Step 13.

In addition to the oil pastels, we used acrylic paint to add another layer of textured painted designs. Tip: bright colors show up really well against the darker green paint.

Step 14.

Add acrylic jewels to finish the turtle.

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