The Taínos used to decorate their bodies with imprinted designs or tattoos. They would create clay seals engraved with symbols called pintaderas and dip them in red dye made from annato or achiote seeds. The designs held spiritual significance and the dye acted as a natural mosquito repellent. You can make your own pintadera using a few simple materials.
- Small potato
- Paring knife (adult supervision suggested)
- Washable ink stamp pad
- Cut the potato in half crosswise, creating a flat circular surface.
- Using the pencil, draw on the symbol you’d like using the reference below (or create your own symbol!)
- Get an adult to cut away the background around the symbol to a depth of about 1/4 inch, leaving the raised design.
- Stamp the potato onto the ink pad and then onto your arm or face or wherever!
If you’d like to create a more permanent stamp, you can use a rubber eraser instead of a potato or buy blank rubber stamps at a craft store. They are also great for creating Taíno wrapping paper, stationery, or greeting cards.