HOLIDAY DIY: Dia de los Muertos Coffin Countdown Calendar

You all know I love Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) about as much as Halloween...if not a little more. Instead of a Halloween countdown, I decided on Dia de los Muertos, which is right after Halloween. Dia de los Muertos is traditionally a Mexican holiday, but like it's people, the holiday spans the globe. It takes place on November 1st and 2nd, as a celebration of departed loved one's lives. I found an awesome wood piece that looks like an old style coffin top, at JoAnn. I had DecoArt paints and clear chalkboard coating on hand. The key to this project is using the clear chalkboard coating over a darkish paint color. Otherwise, you can chose any colors and wood shape you want. If the wood is rough, sand the chalkboard area smooth, before painting and coating. Onward with the tutorial.

These links are Amazon Affiliate links. Any purchases made using these links will result in me earning a small commision. The links are mostly for product references. Feel free to the supply list to your local big craft store, and shop there with lots of coupons. That's what I do. DecoArt provided me with some of their products for this project. Most of the paint, I bought myself.


1) Paint the coffin interior with Purple Pizzazz and Bluegrass Green. Paint the top edge with Fawn. Paint the outside Carousel Pink. Let the 1st coat dry. Repeat with a 2nd coat. Paint over the Fawn with Champagne Gold, to add shimmer.

2) With a white pencil, write the lettering. Use a ruler as a guide if needed. Sketch out the skull and bones. I made my skull and crossbones stylized.

3) With Lamp Black paint and a small flat brush, paint the lettering. After dry, add details with various colors of paint and a thin liner brush.

4) Paint the skull and bones Snow White. Let 1st coat dry. Paint a 2nd coat of white. After dry, paint details with a liner brush.

 5) With black and a liner brush, add a simple design around the outside of the coffin.

6) Seal the painted coffin with clear chalkboard coating. The purple area needs 3 coats, in different directions, for the best chalkboard finish. Let cure for 24 hours.

7) Rub the blank purple section with the side of chalk. Wipe off the chalk with a paper towel. Write the countdown day.

Check out my other Dia de los Muertos tutorials for more related project ideas. I made this countdown calendar for Dia de los Muertos, but this concept can be used for any celebration. Countdown to Halloween, birthdays, prom, graduation, Christmas, other holidays, Winter, a birth, a get the idea. Whatever you're celebrating, have a wonderful time. Happy Makery!


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