Amate Art Project for Hispanic Heritage Month

It is my absolute pleasure to welcome Jeanette from Artchoo! to this blog today. Artchoo! is chock full of art projects for kids. This week she has an awesome series: 5 easy art projects for kids. I adore the smiley face painting idea from yesterday. The world can never have too many smiley faces, right? If you haven’t signed up for her weekly email newsletter, do it! I especially look forward to her newsletter feature, “cool stuff to show your kid.” By the way, I am sharing books for Hispanic Heritage Month with her readers today, so hop on over there for a few books to read after you’ve tired yourself out making art.

Hi, Erica’s readers! I’m happy to be here today as a guest while Erica is over on my site, Artchoo! I just realized it’s like Freaky Friday, but instead of switching bodies, we switched blogs….

We decided to collaborate for Hispanic Heritage Month, and I’m going to share a traditional Latin American painting technique with you. Beyond just being a technique, these paintings are made on Amate, a special tree bark paper that we will simulate using brown paper bags.

Image courtesy Galería Garros via Wikipedia

To see what traditional Amate painting looks like, and to get some ideas, do a search with your kids and make note of some of the subject matter and stylized designs you see. They might want to practice drawing a few of these before they tackle their project. This site has some lovely examples of Amate painting. View them as a slideshow and pause when something catches your eye.


  • Brown paper bags from grocery store
  • White chalk
  • India ink
  • Wide paint brush or sponge brush
  • Paper towels
  • Tempera paints and/or chalk pastels
  • Black permanent marker


Cut one of the larger sides out of the paper bag and crumple it up. A lot! Crumple and re-crumple; you’re going to want a bunch of creases in there.


Smooth out the bag and lay it on newspaper or a surface you don’t mind getting messy. Using watered down india ink (about 3/4 water to 1/4 ink), and working in sections of the bag, brush ink on and wipe away any extra with paper towels.

This should leave you with ink collected mostly in the crevices, and the paper now resembles Amate bark.


When the paper is mostly dry, iron it on a low setting to flatten it out enough for painting.

Draw your image with white chalk onto the paper, wiping away any mistakes. Paint and/or chalk pastel over your image. We used washable tempera paints, and found we needed two coats to make the paint more vibrant-looking.


When the paint is dry, you can use a permanent black marker to outline your images, and add in any decorative details.


Alternative ideas for this project: use fluorescent tempera paints for a little extra punch, you can skip the crumple/ink step if you want to get right to painting, add the final details in with a white paint pen instead of a permanent marker, little kids can fill in pre-drawn (by you) shapes with paint.

I hope you all enjoy the project with your kids, and thanks for letting me come visit!

Supplies used in this project: {These are affiliate links.}
India Ink
Tempera Paint
Chalk Pastels
Sponge Brush

jeanette nyberg 1Jeanette Nyberg launched the blog Artchoo as a way to help parents inject creativity into the every day lives of their kids. She features: awesome art and craft projects, beautifully designed products for kids, and general creative inspiration for families. You can also find her on , Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook

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