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Hearts & Heart Decor

The Radiance of Tin Art

Tinwork is one of Mexico's oldest crafts. Rooted in Spanish colonial times, tinplate workers manufactured it by dipping thin sheets of iron into molten tin. This coats the iron with a bright, durable surface that is resistant to rusting. Our tin figures are entirely handmade (cutout, punched, embossed and soldered) by craftsmen using great precision and artistic flair. Painted with bright, durable lacquer and enamel colors, tin figures are inexpensive, lightweight and long lasting. In modern Mexico, the two centers of tin smithing are Oaxaca and San Miguel de Allende, and we carry products from both cities. 

tin art
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Read More About Hearts & Heart Decor

This subcategory of Mexican tin art contains colorful tin heart ornaments and wall plaques.  All are handmade in Oaxaca. First, we have the biggest selection of handmade Mexican tin hearts online. Our customers use them for wedding and shower decorations, Valentine’s Day keepsakes, clever dangling mobiles, and decorative wall decor.

Please take the time to browse our other tin products.  We carry beautiful animal figures and birds.  For example, our Day of Dead and Halloween tins make unique decorations for holiday festivities.  We carry hundreds of Christmas and Hanukkah ornaments that will sparkle and shine,  In addition to those, our Nicho frames are filled with images of the Saints, Frida Kahlo, Lady Guadalupe, and more.  We also carry small decorative magnets. Use the drop-down menu above, under TIN ORNAMENTS & DECOR.

The age of tinwork in Mexico goes back at least to the 1700s. Tin was originally manufactured by dipping thin sheets of iron into molten tin to coat them with a bright surface that was durable and highly resistant to rusting. (However, if the surface is scratched, revealing the iron underneath, it will begin to rust if exposed to rain or high humidity.) For an artisan, the appeal of working with tin is its lightness, strength and low cost. It is easily bent, cut and soldered to form intricate shapes.

In eras gone by, Mexicans decorated their homes with tin photo frames, candelabras, lanterns, and tin and glass frames (nichos) holding pictures of saints. In humble churches, tin crowns were set on the heads of statues.  Lit tin lanterns were carried during processions and tin candlesticks adorn the altars.

Tinwork is often referred as the poor man’s silver. In Mexico, every religious and festive object handcrafted in silver has a counterpart in tinplate. The same degree of skill and passion the silversmiths put into their work can be found in the less opulent pieces made by tinsmiths. Most importantly, these pieces also have an alluring shine and charming brilliance.

These days, tinsmiths in Oaxaca and San Miguel de Allende are carrying on the traditions, making Christmas decorations, tin soldiers, heart-shaped wall plaques and a variety of clever toys. Most of their work is for export to the southern United States, where tinwork is one of the most visible manifestations of Mexican Culture. Most popular with American collectors are the cheerful, flat ornaments, of which we have many here at Viva Oaxaca Folk Art. Take a look and enjoy.

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