Mexican Unit: Fruit Crate Art Project


Continuing with our Mexico-themed art lessons, second graders created “Market Day” fruit crates. The project took three 45-minute sessions.

First session: the students created their own painted paper.

Second session: students free-cut (organic shapes) fruit and vegetables.

Third session: they created a wooden crate from brown paper, added a colorful border and glued all the pieces together.

For a final flourish, the children glued vintage fruit crate labels to their crates. I found them at Now and Then Designs on Flickr.

Click on this link to read about How to Make Painted Paper

Create your own painted paper by using bright tempera paints and lots of texture tools.

Fruit baskets with painted paper project
Arrange vegetables underneath the “crate” and glue everything to a black sheet of paper using glue sticks.

Step by step: Mexican fruit baskets
Use old “placemats” cut into long strips as a colorful border.

Second Grade fruit and vegetable crates!

Mexican fruit basket

Want another lesson idea for your Mexican unit? Download this free PDF by clicking below and we’ll send you our Sugar Skulls Drawing Guide!

Click here to subscribe

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Julie

    When you create the painted paper do you have student put their names on them or do you just have everyone create some and then share for the project?

    • Patty

      No names. The children need so many colors that it would require too much in terms of logistics (drying racks, paper, sorting,etc). It’s much easier for me to set up five table groups (green, red, blue, yellow and browns/neutrals). Kids can make 2-3 12″ x 18″ papers. They can chose the table in which they want to work. No names. Class shares. It works well this way.

  • Laura

    Fun, Fun, Fun! I love the little labels! Isn’t painted paper such a blast! 🙂

  • Julie

    Excellent! Thanks for the tip. I am doing a Matisse inspired lesson with my third graders and I am going to give this a try!

  • Lulu

    Thank you so much for your website! I’m a frequent visitor and have used many of your ideas with my students (2nd and 3rd grade). I shared it with other teachers. Today my class just completed the fruit crate project and each and every one is so creative. You have the talent of putting together lessons that are fun while teaching techniques.
    All the best,

  • Martha Leslie

    This project turned out just beautifully. The kids learned so much about texture with just tempera, assorted stuff I found to mark with, and paper. Thank you so much!

  • Dale Adams

    Patty, Thank you so much for the Mexican Fruit Crate Idea. I tried it today, and it is still fresh in my mind. They turned out spectacular! Yet, at one point I was worried I was going to fail. We were at an art camp for 2 hours/day. It took 4 hours, and I had 2 helpers. I used the sulphite paper you recommended and high grade tempera paint. The painting portion turned out beautiful; the cutting went well, but when we started to lay it out and glue it down, the kids really had a lot of trouble gluing the fruit from the top down, rather than the basket up. My only thought for next time is to glue down a thin pretend basket top line, and have them use it as a visual reference to help them locate their fruit. Once the fruit is on, then cover it with the basket. Do you have a technique for this?

    • Patty

      Hi Dale,
      I know exactly what you mean. Drawing a line where the top of the basket to go is exactly right. Just lay down the paper “basket” and use a piece of chalk pastel to draw a line (or a crayon). Glue the fruit down and then the basket.

  • Bethany

    We’ve tried our hand at both the paper making and the baskets. We adapted ours to autumn vegetables!

    Thanks so much for the terrific ideas!


    I love this project! Well done!

  • Betty Barrett

    I loved this lesson for my four year old great grandson…THIS painted paper is JOY to him! He is learning to cut and while that skill is definitely a struggle in these early stages, he manages to cut some things well. For the fruit and veggies we decided that tearing the shapes and pasting them was so much easier. Thanks Patty Palmer and the team…so very much!

  • Soojin

    So lovely!!

Follow Us

In stores 8/21


The {lesson_title} Lesson is Locked inside of the {bundle_title}

Unlocking this lesson will give you access to the entire bundle and use {points} of your available unlocks.

Are you sure?

No Yes

The {bundle_title} is Locked

Accessing this bundle will use {points} of your available unlocks.

Are you sure?

No Yes



The {lesson_title} Lesson is Locked inside of the {bundle_title}

To unlock this lesson, close this box, then click on the “lock” icon.