Day of the Dead Homemade Decorations

Written by christi aldridge
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Day of the Dead Homemade Decorations
Sugar skulls are commonly seen on the Day of the Dead. (Getty Thinkstock)

Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday that celebrates the lives of the dearly loved and departed. Parties take place, and the dead are celebrated from October 31 to November 3 with homemade gifts, decorations and food.

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Felt Banner

Making a felt banner is simple and can be customised to your theme and artistic level. Decorate colourful sheets of felt with fabric glue and flowers, beads and felt cutouts of skulls and faces. Use glitter glue to draw the names of loved ones or special messages. The felt pieces can be glued to a ribbon for hanging the banner. This is an easy craft activity for kids to do and can help decorate your Day of the Dead altar.

Tissue Paper Marigolds

Marigolds are orange and yellow flowers that are known as the flower of the dead. Make some pretty tissue paper marigolds to celebrate your loved ones that have passed. These vibrant flowers are a beautiful addition to your Day of the Dead decorations and only take a few minutes to make. All you need to do is stack about 10 sheets of colourful tissue paper together and fold them like an accordion. The tissue will look like a folded fan when you are done. Use a pipe cleaner to secure the fan in the centre then gently pull out each layer to form the flower.

Sugar Skulls

The hallmark of Day of the Dead decorating is homemade sugar skulls made to show respect and love for the deceased. You will need skull moulds to make them. Mix up 2 cups of sugar, 2 tsp of meringue powder and 2 teaspoons of water. The mixture should look like sand and can be packed tightly into the skull moulds. The skulls will be ready to take out right away. Hold a heavy piece of cardboard up against the open end of the moulds and let the skulls fall out onto the board. The skulls should dry overnight and then can be decorated with colourful liquid icing.

Papel Picado

Papel picado, which means "punched paper" in Spanish, is a Mexican tradition. Artists use crafting tools to make beautiful and intricate designs in fine paper to create paper banners and decorations. Pay homage to this tradition by using tissue paper to make simple paper picado designs. Fold a piece of tissue paper several times to form a square. Cut into the paper (but not the corners) as if you are making a paper snowflake, using circles and rectangular cuts. Once you unfold it, the paper picado should have cutout designs all over it. These are typically taped to string and hung like a banner for the Day of the Dead.

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