Third Grade: Mexican Folk Art Mirrors

A year ago, my vice principal found a roll of metal foil in one of our school’s storage areas.  He brought it into my art room and asked if I could use it.  At the time, I didn’t know what it was, much less what to do with it.  While looking for a third grade art project, I stumbled upon Mexican Folk Art Mirrors in images and followed up with this idea on

Thank you to Mrs. VandenBush’s art room for sharing these lovely mirrors!

I made a Powerpoint featuring Mexico, folk artists, and threw in famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo for fun.  Most of these students have little idea about Mexico other than it is below the United States on a map.  Now they know a little more – Mexico is beautiful, and the art work is colorful.  It’s a start.

I really enjoy working with the metal foil.  The edges look sharp, but they are thicker than paper and not dangerous for little hands.  I felt pretty confident my students would be able to make fun designs and turn their mirrors into masterpieces. IMG_6521

To make these mirrors, we traced large bowls to make the outer shape.  Then we learned how to use a compass for the inner circles.  Once the circles were drawn, we used Sharpee markers, colored pencils, and metallic crayons to create our designs. The main focus for this project was radial symmetry.  We discussed fractions and broke our “pizza” into eight slices.  I told students all their pizza slices had to look the same. There were a couple of mirrors that broke the rules, but I love how they came out. Like this one, which mixes bigger fish and smaller fish.  I like this one’s ocean theme as well.


Students had a lot of fun using a glue gun., to glue the metal onto the construction paper.  This was stressful for me, but the more they use it, the better they’ll be at it, and then they can use it independently.  Only a few came away with burnt fingers, but nothing too bad.

In the end we reflected on our work, and had an art critique session in the hallway where the mirrors hang.  The students all agreed the best ones look balanced in their shapes, designs, and chosen colors.  They can tell which ones look rushed, and which ones look a little asymmetrical.  They can’t wait to work with the foil again.


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Author: Sonia Chapman

I am an art teacher, living in the Middle East, following my passion for art, teaching little children about the finer things in life, and loving every bit of it.

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