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Mexican Lacquer Art.

In this project, fifth-grade students learned how Oriental and Mexican artists used natural resources to create elaborate lacquer work. We admired several examples of lacquer art, noting various nature motifs and design details.

With nature as the theme, students glued layers of newspaper over paper plates. By using white glue instead of wheat paste, there was no mixing and the circular plate forms dried quickly. This project required a different approach because students are usually drawing on a rectangular piece of paper. They had to consider the curve of the circle in the pictorial designing of the plate.


1. Cut four circles from newspaper that are the same size as the paper plate. (I used the most inexpensive plates that could be purchased.)

2. Cut circles in half, apply white liquid glue to the entire surface of the newspaper semicircles, and place them on top of the plate. If a heavier plate is desired, add more circles of newspaper.

3. Glue a white paper plate on top so that there will not be a problem of the black print of the newspaper showing when painted. Paint the plate using tempera paint.

4. Draw a dominating design on drawing or construction paper using the theme of nature. A pattern may be designed for the outside edge of the plate. Color designs using markers. Cut out the designs and glue to the plate. Be sure that the dominating design is glued to the center area.

5. Glue a yarn loop on the back of the plate so that it can be hung.


It was a challenge to cut the narrow areas in some of the designs. Students' skills improved as they cut and glued paper and painted, designed, and colored details. Many students creatively curved part of the design to fit the plate, while some designed a pattern around the edges to accent the curve. The fifth graders learned new vocabulary as they gained historical knowledge and appreciation of the Oriental and Mexican artists and their lacquer art.


paper plates, markers, tempera paint, drawing or construction paper, white liquid glue, newspaper, scissors


Students know that the visual arts have both a history and specific relationship to various cultures.

Berniece Patterson is an art teacher at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Denton, Texas.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:art class project
Author:Patterson, Berniece
Publication:School Arts
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2001
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