As a Mexican-American, I find it pretty funny that people in the United States will not only celebrate a Mexican holiday but also give it new meaning. Cinco de Mayo does not equal Drinko de Mayo. Now, don't get me wrong, I like a good meal with cocktails, but the Cinco de Mayo holiday is rarely celebrated in Mexico (as it relates specifically to the people from the state of Puebla).
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely victory over the French in 1862. It is not Mexican Independence Day (that's in September).
Anyway, I wanted to post a more positive Latino project that you can choose to make on Cinco de Mayo to honor the people of Mexico. This tutorial is something I had created for an on-line magazine called Latin Webzine but they had some difficulty in moving forward with the piece, so I'll share it here. It's a fun way to create an embellishment to add to layouts that capture a huge family tradition - making tamales.
Use a paper scorer to score vertical lines on the tan colored cardstock.
I have recently discovered the Martha Stewart scoring board – it’s a favorite new tool. If you’re going to invest in a scorer, I highly recommend you invest in this one. It comes with a guide for how to make to envelopes and paper boxes. It also allows you to score every 1/8 inch versus every ¼ inch.
A scoring tool is used to create creases in paper. It’s normally used to help make a clean crease to make a card. I, however, am using it here to create the lines of the corn husk.
So I scored the paper at every 1/8 inch. - the entire sheet. It really doesn’t take that long (I promise).
If you aren’t ready to invest in a scoring board, you can also fold the cardstock on your own by using the edge of a ruler to make the crease cleaner. It will be harder to make small creases, but the overall look should be about the same.
Using a blending tool with a foam attachment, I inked the foam pad with the Jim Holtz Antique Linen distress ink. I heavily inked the pad and then blotted some off on a tissue so that it didn’t go on too heavy to the paper at first touch.
I then lightly stroked the blending tool across the tan colored cardstock on the side with the raised ridges created by the scorer. I first followed the “grain” of the paper just to add a little color to the overall sheet. Don’t be afraid if the color doesn’t go on evenly because it will look more like a real corn husk if it doesn’t. Real corn husks have various coloring throughout – so just blend away.
I followed up by another light blending against the “grain” which allowed for more color to go on the ridges.
If you don’t want to buy a blending tool, I would try using a make-up foam applicator to achieve the same effect. A cotton ball might work, but the ink won’t be as evenly distributed among the cotton fibers so it might be tougher.
Once the entire sheet has been inked, I used the scorer to create a perpendicular crease.
Depending on where you will use your paper tamale, cut a small section of the full sheet off. For my project, I used about a 3 inch wide strip.
Fold in about ½ an inch of each vertical side.
Use scissors to cut that ½ inch section along the perpendicular crease. Only cut that half inch on each side.
Some members of my family make flat tamales while others make pouch looking tamales. For a scrapbook embellishment, I thought the pouch would be more intriguing texture wise. However, if you want to keep the page as a flat as possible you can fold up the paper in half and glue the edge to the back. It’s like creating a pocket.
To make the pouch-like tamale, you’ll have to first lightly spray the inside of your tamale (the non-inked side) with water. Moistening paper makes it easier to fold into a pouch-like shape. Trying this while the paper is dry will be difficult and the paper may rip.
If you don’t have a spray bottle, you can try using a wet paper towel to blot the cardstock. The spray bottle helps to evenly mist the paper, but you can try other ways. The trick is to not soak the paper but to make it damp.
Once the paper is damp, place a few cotton balls in the inside to create the stuffing. Depending on the size of the paper you cut out, you’ll need more a less than I show here.
I then folded in the top two ½ inch edges and folded up the paper to create a pocket. I gathered the top and tied with a ribbon. I glued the ½ inched edges to the back and trimmed anything peeking out at the bottom of the tamale to smooth out the bottom edge.
So your two final potential styles of paper tamales will look like this!
I used my pouch-like paper tamale to create a 12 x 12 inch scrapbook page of making tamales with my mom. Depending on the size of paper tamales you make, you can use them on cards to invite folks to a tamalada, as decorations for an office Christmas party, or as part of way to remember a fun-filled day with friends and family.