2nd Grade – Huichol Yarn Painting

2nd Grade – Huichol Yarn Painting

Description of the Unit – Students will create yarn paintings in the style of the Huichol of México.

Activity statement – The Huichol are a culture native to western México (mostly in Jalisco and Nayarit) who have preserved many of their ancient arts and crafts practices. So esteemed are they to Mexico’s heritage that the Mexican government and UNESCO have made great effort to preserve the culture and its environment. While the Huichol first used materials found in nature to produce their art, they now Huichol use modern materials and dyes in their crafts. Among the many incredible crafts the Huichol produce is the yarn painting, an intricate, highly colorful tableau of symbols and images “painted” with bright yarn arranged in bold patterns.

Traditional Huichol yarn painting

Goals –

Students should…


  • What the Huichol craft of yarn painting is
  • How symbols and images communicate a ‘special message’ or tell a story


  • Who the Huichol (Wixaritari) are

Be able to:

  • Identify where in Mexico the Huichol reside (they mostly straddle the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Zacatecas and Durango
  • To recognize a Huichol yarn painting
  • Complete one yarn painting
2nd grade Huichol yarn painting

Objectives –

Students will:

Resources and materials –

  • Exemplars of work by Huichol yarn painters
  • Cardboard pieces (5×7 – 8×10 are good sizes for the format)
  • Pencils
  • Glue
  • Glue brushes
  • Cups
  • Brightly colored yarn in as many colors as possible
2nd grade Huichol yarn painting

Questions –

  • What do you see in these paintings?
  • What colors do you observe? What would you call these colors?
  • What could these images symbolize?
  • What kinds of images and symbols could you use to simply communicate your own message?  

Evaluation –

  • Did students incorporate imagery and symbols to communicate a message?
  • Did students use color as a way of creating a focal point and drawing the viewer’s attention?
  • Did students cleanly arrange the yarn to create a clear image?


  • Student questions
  • Group discussions
  • Oral responses to essential questions
  • One finished yarn painting
  • Spontaneity and risk-taking

I’m not a big fan of Wikipedia, but if you want the “Cliff Notes” version of Huichol culture and traditions, their entry is quite thorough and informative: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huichol

2nd grade Huichol yarn painting
2nd grade Huichol yarn painting
2nd grade Huichol yarn painting

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