DIY Crafts for Kids holidays

Colorful DIY Papel Picado Banner Craft for Dia de los Muertos

This beautiful DIY papel picado banner craft is full of bright colors and perfect for your Dia de los Muertos decorations. Try making this easy Mexican paper banner at home.

Colorful DIY Papel Picado Banner Craft for Dia de los Muertos

Mexican papel picado for Dia de los Muertos

Do you celebrate Dia de los Muertos? We had heard of the cultural holiday before, but really got an understanding of its significance when the movie Coco came out!

If you’ve been around here long enough, you know that we enjoy making crafts and DIY projects for fun, for the holidays, and more. We have lots of Halloween crafts, but this is the first we’ve made for Day of the Dead!

Although Dia de los Muertos is celebrated around Halloween, they are not the same thing. Learn more about this Mexican holiday and make this fun decorative banner for Day of the Dead.

Homemade papel picado for Dia de los Muertos

What is papel picado?

Paper picado, or pecked paper, is a detailed and colorful Mexican craft that uses different cuts and designs into tissue paper and is hung as a banner at Easter, weddings, Dia de los Muertos, and other special holidays and events.

This project is a great Dia de los Muertos craft for kids because there are so many different, creative papel picado designs you can make and it uses just a few materials to create a beautiful and colorful DIY Mexican banner!

Altar ofrenda for Dia de los Muertos with papel picado

What is Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos in Spanish, is a Mexican cultural holiday celebrated November 1 and 2 each year that remember, honors, and celebrates the ancestors who have passed. This can include the gathering of friends and family, visiting grave sites, and creating ofrendas to celebrate the dead.

Decorations for Dia de los Muertos commonly include family photos, candles, marigolds and other flowers, decorated skulls, and papel picado banners, just like this craft! To learn more about Dia de los Muertos, visit the Mexican Museum.

Colorful DIY Papel Picado Banner Craft

Follow our paper picado tutorial to learn how to make an easy colorful banner for Dia de los Muertos. Make this Day of the Dead craft with your kids, it is great for elementary ages and older.

Materials needed to make this Dia de los Muertos decor:

  • colorful tissue paper – at least 5 colors
  • scissors
  • ribbon
  • clear tape

Materials needed to make Mexican paper banner papel picado

Learn how to make papel picado

These paper picado instructions are pretty simple to follow. Just fold, cut, string, and hang!

First, cut your tissue paper into squares in the desired size. Ours were about 6×6″ squares. These squares do not have to be perfect, but we do recommend that you cut one out first and use it to trace the others so that they are all the same size.

Easy papel picado template - how to fold and cut papel picado banner

Next, lay each square flat, then carefully fold them in half once, then again longways. At the bottom of the tissue paper, hold the layers together and cut out a couple of triangles.

Gently open up the paper square and you will have a fun cut-out design at the bottom, like the photo below!

How to make papel picado design ideas - Dia de los Muertos

How to cut your papel picado banner

Now you are ready to cut your papel picado banner squares! To fold your squares, begin by folding the outer left and right sides so that they meet in the middle.

Then, take the top and fold it over almost all the way to the bottom, just before you get to the triangle-cut bottom of the paper as shown below. Leave that part exposed – this is a no-cut zone!

How to cut tissue paper for a papel picado banner

You can start to cut on the top, left, and right sides, making different shapes like triangles, lines, circles, hearts, or whatever you desire.

DIY papel picado banner with tissue paper cut outs

Open up your tissue paper squares

When you are finished cutting your paper picado craft squares, carefully open them up and take a look at those beautiful designs!

We tried to cut each square differently so they would all be unique pieces of our banner. I think my favorite design idea is the details in the yellow square!

How to make paper picado banner for Day of the Dead decorations

Add ribbon to your Mexican Day of the Dead craft

Flip each of the squares over and tape your ribbon across the top of each square. Be sure to leave some extra ribbon hanging on both sides so you can hang up your banner.

Add ribbon to hang Mexican Day of the Dead craft banner

We suggest making a couple of different banners so that you can hang them all together when you decorate for Dia de los Muertos!

Homemade papel picado for Dia de los Muertos

We hope you love this Day of the Dead craft!

Enjoy this papel picado art project with your family this fall! Making this papel picado for kids is so much fun to learn about, celebrate, and decorate for Dia de los Muertos.

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