Skip to Content
DIY Papel Picado

Celebrate el Día de los Muertos with Papel Picado

El Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, originates from the vibrant Aztec culture of Mexico and Central America. The holiday was originally a month-long celebration intended to honor family ancestors and the continuation of life.

Today, el Día de los Muertos is largely celebrated on November 2nd in Mexico and many parts of the United States and Central America. Families remember their ancestors by creating ofrendas, or altars, in their homes and special public places.

Every ofrenda is unique to the families that make them, but it’s traditional to find delicious foods, drinks, and flowers arranged on these honorary displays. The main flower of the holiday is the marigold, which was an important part of Aztec culture, so it’s quite common to find them on ofrendas and other decorations.

Papel picado, or pierced paper, is hung in long strands to add color and brightness to the celebration. Make your own papel picado by following the steps below!


  • Tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Clear tape

Papel Picado Craft Instructions

Step 1: Cut small squares of tissue in varied colors. Bright is best!

Step 2: Fold one square into half, and then half again.

Step 3: Cut small designs into the folded parts of the tissue paper.

Step 4: Unfold your square to reveal the design.

Step 5: Repeat with other colored squares until you have about 20 squares to hang on your garland.

Step 6: Using the clear tape, affix each colored square to the string.

Step 7: Hang and enjoy!