4 Crafts for National Hispanic Heritage Month

Spark your kid's creativity with these DIY projects inspired by artistic traditions across Latin America.

colorful taino rock carvings
Photo: Jeffrey Westbrook
01 of 04

Taíno Rock Carvings

colorful taino rock carvings
Jeffrey Westbrook

Taíno petroglyphs, found in caves and near rivers in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and throughout the Caribbean, are some of the oldest in the world. Kids can create their own "rock art" as they learn about the indigenous culture.

1. Knead clay such as Model Magic (a little bigger than the size of a golf ball) until it's smooth.

2. Press it into a flat disk, or use a cookie cutter to punch out a circle shape.

3. Etch designs into clay using round household objects, like paper-towel rolls, and the pointed end of a toothpick. For Taíno symbol inspiration, visit TainoAgo.com.

4. Add a hole and string to make a necklace.

Tip: Dip a toothpick in water before carving designs to help the tip glide more smoothly.

02 of 04

Hojalata Tin Art

hojalata tin art squares
Jeffrey Westbrook

Transform aluminum foil into tin art, or hojalata, a beloved Mexican folk tradition dating back to the 16th century.

1. Cut a 5 1/2-in. square from a clean aluminum foil roasting or pie pan. Round the edges with scissors to prevent sharp corners.

2. Draw a design on a 5-in. square of paper.

3. Layer the paper over the foil. Use painter's masking tape to secure the squares to a piece of felt or Fun Foam (enough to keep the foil in place).

4. With a pencil, draw over the paper design, pressing hard to emboss the foil underneath.

5. Remove the masking tape and felt or Fun Foam. Flip the foil square over, and color its indented spaces with Sharpie markers.

Tip: To display, frame the finished design, or punch a hole at the top and add a string.

03 of 04

Mola Pillows

blue, orange, yellow, and pink mola pillows
Jeffrey Westbrook

Inspired by the intricate, hand-sewn Mola textiles of the Kuna people in Panama and Colombia, these vibrant pillows make geometry fun!

1. Measure and cut a 13x30-in. piece of felt. Lay the felt with the long edge horizontal.

2. With a pencil or chalk, mark a vertical line 16 in. from the right side of the felt.

3. Cut two 30-in.-long strips of 5/8-in., double-sided fabric tape. Line one strip on the top edge of the felt and one strip on the bottom edge. Remove the paper backing from the tape.

4. Fold the right side of the felt over to the 16-in. line, pressing the top and bottom felt edges together as you do.

5. Mark a vertical line 4 in. from the right fold of the felt. Fold the left side of the felt to that line, pressing the top and bottom edges together, to create a flap.

6. Turn the pillowcase over. Decorate the front with geometric designs cut from adhesive felt.

7. Through the back flap, stuff the pillowcase with a 12-in.-square pillow insert.

Tip: Trim top and bottom felt edges if they don't fold perfectly.

04 of 04

Mayan Kites

colorful round mayan kites
Jeffrey Westbrook

A kid-size twist on the gigantic, hand-painted kites flown in Guatemala honoring All Saints' Day.

1. Cut the flap off a large Tyvek envelope. Open the envelope to its full width by cutting along its bottom edge and one of its side edges.

2. On the unprinted envelope side, place an 8-in., 10-in., or 12-in. wooden embroidery hoop. Trace around the hoop in pencil.

3. Remove the hoop. Draw another circle 2 in. outside the first one. Cut the largest circle out.

4. Draw concentric circles on the unprinted envelope side using a compass or circular shapes.

5. Paint the design with acrylic paint. Allow to dry. Add more details as desired.

6. Once paper is completely dry, secure it in the embroidery hoop. Cut the outside edge into 1/4-in. fringe.

Tip: Start with lighter paint colors, and cover any mistakes with darker colors later!

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