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Celebrate Día de los Muertos With These Colorful Crafts

11 beautiful, crafty ways to share the traditions of the Day of the Dead with your family

Margo Gothelf · 3 months ago

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Heeral Chhibber

It's time to celebrate Día de los Muertos! If you're new to the holiday, Día de los Muertos is a holiday rooted in Mexican culture that celebrates those who are no longer with us. The holiday, also known as Day of the Dead, takes place on November 1 and 2. During that time, families organize ofrenda, or altars to honor their loved ones. Keep on reading below to find out different crafts and traditions for you to add to your Día de los Muertos celebration this year! (Looking for more information about the holiday? The characters from Disney's Coco have you covered!)

DIY Ofrenda

The celebration of Día de los Muertos is all about welcoming the dead back to the land of the living. In order to guide them to the right place, each family builds an ofrenda, or altar. The ofrenda is often filled with items that celebrate loved ones and let others learn about their lives. Each ofrenda ends up being personalized with pictures, memories, their loved one's favorite foods and drinks, and classic decorations like calaveras (or sugar skulls) and marigolds. What would go on your ofrenda? Check out the Crafty Chica for ideas on how to construct your own.

Calaveras or Sugar Skulls


Hola Jalapeno

If you're new to Día de los Muertos, you're probably wondering, what's up with all of the skulls? The skulls, formally called calaveras, are one of the main symbols of the Day of the Dead and are typically made out of granulated sugar (the symbolize the sweetness of life), mixed with meringue powder and water. They are then decorated with brightly colored embellishments to be placed on the ofrenda. Want to make your own calavera? Head on over to Hola Jalapeño to see how you can get started. 

Día de los Muertos Wreath


Handmade Charlotte

For Día de los Muertos you're only going to want to use the brightest colors to decorate, especially when it comes to this Día de los Muertos wreath. The wreath puts a playful spin on the calaveras, giving them a welcoming smile. Add this wreath to your ofrenda or just hang it up around the house to get into the Día de los Muertos spirit.

Calaveras Banner


Hello Little Home

The calavera is pretty much the unofficial symbol of the Dia de Los Muertos, and is used in all kinds of decorations, including this banner from Hello Little Home. The banner is great to hang anywhere around the house, both inside and out. Plus, if you store it right you can use it for years to come. 

Day of the Dead Bookmarks


Red Ted Art

Have a loved one that cherished reading? Honor them this Día de los Muertos with a Day of the Dead bookmark. To make this nifty craft from Red Ted Art, you'll need to channel your inner origami skills to perfectly fold the paper into a calavera. When you've mastered the technique, find your brightest colored markers and start decorating. 

Day of the Dead Paper Puppet


Red Ted Art

Skeletons are typically not described as lively, but it looks like we might have to make an exception for these Day of the Dead paper puppets. The paper puppets are put together with split pins and bakers twine to give them a true wobbly look. Want to know the best part about these puppets? They can be customized in any way you would like. Add on a traditional flower crown or give them a handsome sombrero. Either way, they'll be perfect for your Día de los Muertos celebration. 

Glow in the Dark Day of the Dead Lanterns

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Growing Up Bilingual

Until the sun goes down, your Día de los Muertos lantern may look a little subdued compared to your other decorations — but after dark, the glow-in-the-dark paint brightly illuminates the calavera design. You can even add the lanterns to the altar alongside your candles as another source of light to guide the spirits home. 

Day of The Dead Photo Frame


Cool Moms Cool Tips

There is no lack of bright colors when it comes to decorations for Día de los Muertos. But did you know that each color has a specific meaning? White shows the connection between hope and renewal, black represents death, red is all about love and respect, pink shows the joy in a tribute, and orange and yellow symbolize the bridge between the dead and the living. Use all of the colors to show off their meaning in a customized picture frame for your ofrenda. Decorate the frame with traditional designs and add in all of the colors to show the true meaning of the holiday. When the frame is ready to go, add in a picture of the loved ones you're honoring and find a special place for it on the ofrenda. After the holiday, keep the picture frame out to keep their memories alive all year long.

Tissue Paper Marigolds


Casa Pizzi

All types of flowers are lovely, but when it comes to Día de los Muertos, marigolds are the star of the show. The beautiful flowers are used to help guide the spirits back to the altar thanks to their vibrant scent and color. While many people use real flowers for decorations, paper flowers are just as popular. Plus, you don't have to worry about watering the paper flowers, so they'll stay vibrant regardless of your green thumb abilities. 

DIY Nicho Boxes


Kitchen Table Classroom

Toilet paper rolls might be the most underrated crafting material. They seriously can be used to make something for any holiday or occasion. Case in point: these toilet paper roll nicho boxes. New to nicho boxes? They're basically a three-sided display case that honors a loved one who has passed away. Kitchen Table Classroom has the DIY to turn the humble TP roll into a beautiful shadowbox display.

Papel Picado


The Crafting Chicks

​​Love making endless amounts of paper snowflakes? Then something tells me you're going to be very into making papel picado. The traditional Mexican banners are a staple part of the celebration and are traditionally made out of bright and vibrant colored tissue paper. The designs may look delicate and intricate but are actually pretty simple to make. As long as you're willing to get crafty with a pair of scissors, you'll end up with a pretty neat papel picado to string around the house.