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Make Molas

Marbles Rings

Create paper Molas using an animal outline and colorful geometric patterns to imitate fabric Molas from Panama.   

What You Need: 

  • Construction Paper 
  • Pencil 
  • Scissors 
  • Glue 

What You Do: 

  1. Choose an animal for your design.  Think about the basic shapes that make up your animal. 
  2. Draw an outline of the animal on a piece of construction paper. 
  3. Cut out your outline. 
  4. Trace your outline onto another color of construction paper.  This time cut out the outline a little smaller. 
  5. Continue until you are down to little shapes. 
  6. Glue your outlines together starting with the biggest on the bottom. 
  7. Glue the layered outline onto a black (or different color) piece of construction paper. 
  8. Cut shapes out from 1-2 colors of construction paper.  Glue the shapes around your animal in an interesting pattern. 

Did you know? 

Fabric Molas are created and worn by the Kuna people of Panama.  Molas use an applique technique of layering colorful fabric and stitching reverse embroidery.  The colorful layers depict animals in geometric forms and are stitched into clothing.  The animals and shapes are often symbolic. 

 

Words to Use: 

Applique: The process of sewing pieces of material onto a piece of clothing for decoration, or the pieces themselves onto a piece of clothing for decoration, or the pieces themselves. 

Embroidery:  A pattern sewn onto cloth, or cloth with patterns sewn onto it onto cloth, or cloth with patterns sewn onto it. 

Geometric: Having or using the shapes and lines in geometry, such as circles or squares, especially when these are arranged in regular patterns or squares, especially when these are arranged in regular patterns. 

Panama: A country on a narrow piece of land or isthmus connecting Central and South America, between Costa Rica and Colombia. Panama is known especially for the Panama Canal, a long, narrow stretch of water that was built across the country in 1914 in order to allow ships to sail between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. and South America. Panama is known especially for the Panama Canal, a long, narrow stretch of water that was built across the country in 1914 in order to allow ships to sail between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  

What to Talk About: 

  • Where is the country of Panama?  What can we learn about it? 
  • Have you seen art like this before?  Where?  How was it similar or different? 
  • Look at the shapes in the examples.  How can you break down an outline into shapes? 

Change It Up:  

  • Do research on the country of Panama and the Kuna people.  Create a resource book with information and drawings using a paper Mola as the cover. 
  • Try using colorful yarn on black paper.  Was it harder or easier to design and make? 
  • Practice stitching and create a simple Mola using fabric. 

Learning Connections:  

  • Creativity 
  • Imagination 
  • Persistence 
  • STEM-Math 
  • Cultural Understanding 

 

Curriculum Connections 

Visual Arts: K.V.1,  K.V.3,  1.V.1,  1.V.3, 2.V.1,  2.V.2, 3.V.1, 3.V.2, 3.V.3, 4.V.1, 4.V.3, 5.V.2,  5.V.3.2,  

K.CX.1, , K.CX.2, 1.CX.1, 2.CX.1, 2.CX.2, 3.CX.1, 3.CX.2, 4.CX.2, 5.CX.1, 5.CX.2, K.CR.1, 2.CR.1,  5.CR.1. 

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