HOLIDAY DIY: Dia de los Muertos Banner

I love celebrating both Dia de los Muertos and Halloween. This year I wanted to have a papel picado style banner, but using Oly*Fun instead of tissue paper. Oly*Fun is more durable than tissue paper, can be cut like paper, doesn't fray, and will hold up well outdoors. It also comes in a rainbow of colors. I have made both traditional papel picado and non-traditional papel picado projects in the past. This banner is perfect for my front porch. This project does take some experience with a craft knife. It is not recommended for children, as the craft knife is very sharp. This project is part of a Dia de los Muertos Blog Tour. Head to the bottom to see the other participants and the giveaway for this week!



1) Using your ruler and white pencil, Mark out even 10" by 10" squares of Oly*Fun. I cut one of each color, but you can cut more if the space you are hanging it is larger. Using the fabric scissors, cut the squares out.

2) On each square, using a clear ruler and white pencil, draw a 1" grid on one side. This will be on the back of the panels, so don't worry about the lines.

3) Fold a square in half. Using the white pencil, draw half of a design, aligning it with the fold. While drawing, you want to keep in mind the use of negative space for cutting next. Leave a 1" plain border around your design.

4) Place the folded square onto the cutting mat. Using the craft knife, carefully cut out the squares around your design, and any little details. You will leave a small gap in between in square, to create a grid and keep the design intact. I cut the squares around the design 1st. Then, opened up the square and cut the additional squares, using the grid lines as my guide. This will not be perfect, but that's ok.

5) Using scissors, cut a scalloped or pointed edge along the bottom of the square.

REPEAT STEPS 3-5 on each square until you've completed all of them. To flatten them, press them under heavy large books.

The designs I chose coordinate with the colors. A heart for red, a marigold for orange, a sun for yellow, leaves for green, moons and stars for blue, and a skull for purple. In Dia de los Muertos culture, red mean blood, orange is sun, yellow is marigolds (to draw spirits back to Earth), purple is death, white is purity, and black is the land of the dead. I didn't know this before I made this banner. If I had swapped the orange and yellow images, it would have been oddly accurate. Though I don't know if the green and blue are accurate, but they work for me, representing nature and the heavens/night.

6) Cut a 2" wide strip of Oly*Fun in Jet Black, as long as you need it. The Grab N Go packs are 3 yards long. If you need a longer piece, you can sew two ends together. I used the clear ruler and a white pencil to draw long line for an even strip. Mine was about 2 yards long.

7) Lay your panels along the strip, evenly spacing them. Mine overlap the strip about 3/4". Use straight pins to temporarily hold them.

8) On the sewing machine zigzag stitch the panels onto the strip. I set my needle, centered along the edge of the panels, so the zigzag stitching evenly caught the panel edge and black strip. I straight stitched to start and stop the zigzag, and in between the panels.

9) Hang it up as desired. If you leave enough of a tail on the strip, you can tie it around something. I left short tails, so it could be hung on cup hooks. My husband hung it for me (I'm shorter), by poking holes through the strip, on the cup hooks. Oly*Fun doesn't fray and has a large enough weave to easily poke small durable holes into it.

DISCLOSURE: Fairfield World provided me with the Oly*Fun and Westcott provided me with the cutting mat for this project. Several of the above supply links are Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase something using those links, I will receive a small compensation for that purchase. This all goes back to blog expenses. All opinions, instructions and above images are mine.

My project is included in the Dia de los Muertos Blog Tour! Check out these other awesome blogs this week for their projects!

October 26: Rebel and Malice - Felt With Love Designs

October 27: From a Box - Paisley Roots

October 28: Crafty Lady Abby

October 29: Sewing Sober - Two Novembers

October 30: Handmade Boy - Ginger House Designs

October 31: Call Ajaire

November 1: Lulu and Celeste

November 2: Rebel and Malice (Last day to enter giveaway!)

Giveaway sponsors: EYMM  -  E+M Patterns  -  Golden Rippy  - Ginger House Designs


  1. I wish I was artsy tartsy - love these!!

    1. Thanks. Yeah, this particular project does take a lot of artistic skill. Some of my other ones are a bit easier for the beginner or dabbler. Check out my list of tutorials.

  2. thanks for showing me how to make cool decorations. I need to make these with my boys.

  3. Very festive and super intricate! I'm so pinning this :)

  4. thanks for being on the tour Abby. Papel picado is one of my favorite things, but I lack patience to make it. One day I will though :)

    1. Thanks for letting me join! I love doing papel picado too. It's very tedious and intricate, so it does require patience. I wasn't as patient as normal with this one, as the fabric was more forgiving than paper.

  5. I've never heard of oly before, I wonder if it could be cut with the silhouette cameo??

    1. OlyFun cuts like paper. One of our Master Makers team members showed how she used her Silhouette Cameo to cut out intricate designs in the OlyFun.
      You can purchase OlyFun online or at Hancock Fabrics (I think). It's still a new fabric, so Fairfield World is working on getting it into other retailers.


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