Molas are cloth panels that form part of a blouse for the Kuna women of Panama. They use a quilting technique called reverse appliqué to create the design formalizers of fabric. Because I used to be (and hope to be again!) a quilter, I know all about reverse applique. It’s a pretty fun to do but darn hard to explain to kids. After a few attempts I decided that it’s just best to say that a Mola is a fabric panel with colorful strips sewn in. Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple.
Take a look at this blog, Postcards from Panama. There are some wonderful photographs of Molas. I wish I could see them in person. Aren’t they wonderful?
How to Make a Paper Mola
I used the project in the book, Dynamic Art Projects for Children by Denise M. Logan as inspiration and used the wonderful handouts that accompany the project. You can also create your own. I showed the kids how to start their drawings but drawing the main body or largest shape first. After a few quick demos on the board, the students picked their favorite Mola shape and drew their image onto a piece of 12″ x 18″ white paper using a black marker.
I like broad tip Crayola markers for coloring. I set a tray of them on each table group then demonstrated proper marker technique.
Take a look at this video that shows how I color drawings. It really helps to trace around a shape and then color slowly; giving ample time for the ink to flow onto the paper. After image is colored, cut it out.
Glue colored piece onto black construction paper and glue strips of paper along the borders.
Tip: leave a little space between the colored drawing and the strips of paper.
Fifth Grade Paper Molas….