How to Make a Mola

paper mola
Molas are handmade textiles from Panama which use a reverse appliqué technique.
Several layers of different-colored cloth are sewn together and the design is then formed by cutting parts of each layer away. While that technique is pretty intricate, the look can be imitated by layering construction paper.
  • Construction paper, bright, assorted colors
  • Black paper card stock paper
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  1. The process starts with choosing the main animal shape. It should be a simple silhouette that the student can draw themselves. In this case I started by drawing and cutting out an orange fish.
  2. The orange fish is glued onto a larger piece of yellow construction paper and cut out leaving an edge of yellow all the way around.
  3. The orange and yellow fish is now glued onto a piece of red construction paper and likewise cut out leaving an edge of red all the way around.
  4. Now it’s time for the details inside the fish body. I cut an eye out of red paper, glued it to a yellow backing and cut it out. A fin was cut out of yellow, glued to red, and cut out. The eye and fin are then glued to the fish body.
  5. Glue the entire layered animal to a black piece of construction paper. For more advanced students, the layers could be continued as classtime allows. The more layers, the more colorful your mola.