Amate Bark Paintings

Adapted from Art Works


  • To increase students’ awareness of South American art forms.
  • To learn about colors and patterns.
  • To gain appreciation for other cultures while exploring the history of bark painting in South America.


  • Examples of Amate Bark Paintings
  • Heavy Brown Paper or brown paper bags
  • Scissors
  • India Ink
  • Paint Brushes
  • Blow Dryer
  • White Chalk
  • Brightly colored tempera or gouache paints
  • White Tempera Paint
  • Black Sharpies


  1. Study examples of Amate Bark Painting while talking about the background and history of this style of painting.
  2. Discuss the texture of the paper, the bright colors, the use of black and white, borders, and stylized designs.
  3. While completing steps 4 – 6 think about the design or image you would like to portray in your painting.
  4. To make your paper similar in appearance to bark, crumple up the paper to make creases and wrinkles.  Cut to shape how you would like.
  5. Using watered down India Ink, paint a black wash over the brown paper.  The wrinkles in the paper will trap more of the ink, creating a texture.  Drips and dots of the ink will help make the paper look more authentic.
  6. Spread the paper out flat and dry with blow dryer set to warm.
  7. Once dry, use white chalk to draw your design on the paper.
  8. Use the tempera or gouache paints to fill in your design with color.  Allow to dry completely.
  9. Use a black marker to outline the shapes and images.

Amate Bark Painting Examples and Information

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