DIA DE LOS MUERTOS: Papel Picado Tutorials

Papel Picado are the colorful cut paper banners that you see hung for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Traditionally it's a craft of love and labor done with chisels, a hammer, and a drawn template through a thick stack of tissue paper. Since the traditional ones take great skill and patience to finish, I thought you all would enjoy how to do the simplier version. Most people have created paper snowflakes at some point in their lifetime, and the simple version is very similar. This makes the banners a kid to centenarian friendly craft! What you will need for any of these is colorful tissue paper, sharp scissors, string, and a glue stick. All of those materials can be found at a dollar store, which also makes this an inexpensive craft! For more precise patterns, you can use an xacto knife, but that isn't recommended for young children, as it is a sharp knife.

Here are some great tutorials to help you create your own papel picado banners!

Unschool Me - Making Magic Windows (3 designs)

Aymujer on Etsy Blog - How Tuesday: Papel Picado (required xacto knife)

Crafty Lady Abby for Skull-A-Day - Dia de la Abby #63: Skull Papel Picado (Xacto knife and scissors required)

Craftingeek - How to Make Papel Picado - 4 Styles (English captions)

Happythought - How to make Papel Picado for Day of the Dead (uses simple template design)

eHow - How to Make Mexican Papel Picado : Festive Decorations (uses a full tissue paper sheet)

Even if you don't celebrate Dia de los Muertos on November 1st and 2nd, hopefully these tutorials will give you some ideas for festive party and winter decorations.


  1. Cool! I remember making snowflakes sort of this way as a kid. My attempts would be nothing like some of these, though. Those are art!

    1. Thankfully tissue paper is cheap. You can get a big pack of it from a dollar store. Use small scissors and simple shapes. Also, if you keep with doing non-angled folds, the cutting will be easier and faster. Doing the snowflake way can be harder. The xacto knife ones are the hardest.


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