Mola panel: How to design a complex geometric pattern


mola patern, mola, molas

image copyright owner: © The Trustees of the British Museum, 

Mola Panel: How to draw a complex geometric pattern

Step 1: First, you have to look carefully the mola panel and to identify the basic pattern. If necessary, try to copy many times the mola panel in a piece of paper, in order to identify the pattern. Almost in any complex geometric design, there is a smaller pattern which is copied, as it is and/or mirrored.

Step 2: Draw a grid, of equal number of squares. The measurments of the grid depend on the measurement of the final piece of fabric. 


Step 3: Draw, the basic centered lines of the pattern. 

mola pattern


Step 4: Draw, the secondary lines of the pattern 


Step 5: Draw, some lines around the basic ones, to give weight to the pattern. 



Step 6: Add more lines (the red ones). You might need to make small adjustments, in order spaced to be as equal as possible. 


Step 7: Add more  more details (the yellow lines). leaving the same in-between spaces. 


Step 7: Complete the design, and paint the strips


 Step 8: Flip horizontally the drawing and copy it. You can photocopy the drawing to save time. 

 mola pattern

Step 9: Connect the pieces together. The pattern begins to apear. 

 mola drawing, molas

Step 9: Flip and copy the image vertically 

 mola drawing, molas, kuna indians

Step 10: Copy the whole picture horizontally

molas san blas panama

 Step 11: Copy the first line at the bottom. 

 mola, san blas indians, panama

Step 12: Draw a frame around the drawing. The pattern is ready to trasfer on fabric

mola, molas

Learn mola online:

The blog Textile Arts Now offers a free online course on mola art.


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