How to make easy DIY Papel Picado banners with children

My work is planning a special event for the Day of the Death for the community, and this has been a great opportunity for me to learn more about the traditions and the cultural importance of this celebration in Mexico.

One of my favorite elements of the Mexican celebration for the Day of the Death is papel picado banners.

papel picado


I have seen this beauty before in a few restaurants and didn’t know that papel picado is a Mexican folk art traced back when the Aztecs used amatl  (a rough paper made of wild ficus trees and the bark of mulberry) in numerous rituals to make flags and banners to decorate their temples.   

After the Spanish conquest, tissue paper was imported from China and became the material of choice for papel picado. I think this explains why tissue paper is known in Mexico as “papel china” which literally translates to “China paper.”

Are you ready to make easy DIY papel picado banners with your children?

What you need:

  • A small piece of cardboard
  • Tissue paper
  • Scissors and a pencil


  • Draw some shapes on a piece of cardboard. This is going to be your template.
  • Cut tissue paper down into 20 x 12.5 cm size sheets and cut out the shapes on the template.


  • Fold again to access interior shapes.


  • Once you have made 3 or 4 sets of papers, lay them onto masking tape. The top tabs of the papers should only cover half of the width of the masking tape.


  • Finally, fold over the masking tape to create your garland.


For more Day of the Dead post take a look Multicultural Kid Blogs’  first annual Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) Series.



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