DIY Day of the Dead Papel Picado Banner

In just a few days it will be Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead! This is a lively Mexican holiday that draws on indigenous and European traditions and celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties and activities that the dead enjoyed in life, since they would not want sadness around their memory, but celebration. This is a rich and beautiful holiday, and even if you have never celebrated, you are likely familiar with the skulls and floral decor often associated with the celebration, as well as colorful papel picado!

Papel picado (or perforated paper) is a decorative craft made by cutting elaborate designs into sheets of tissue paper. In Mexico, papel picados are often incorporated into the altars (ofrendas) during the Day of the Dead and are hung throughout the streets during holidays.

If you celebrate the Day of the Dead and don’t have access to authentic papel picado, you can make it in a snap using your Silhouette machine! The Silhouette Design Store has the perfect cut file for this project and Silhouette machines can cut each delicate detail, with gorgeous results. Here’s what you need to make you own:

Supplies needed to make a Papel Picado Banner

Colorful Cardstock
Silhouette Machine
Papel Picado Cut Files (we used this one, this one, and this one)
Hot Glue Gun + Sticks

How to make a Papel Picado Banner

Step 1: Load your design into your Silhouette Studio software and adjust each flag to your desired size. Adjust your cut settings to cut cardstock, load your paper and click send. (If you are new to Sihouette and have not cut with your machine before, visit our “Getting Started with Silhouette” page, here.)

Step 2: Remove your paper from your machine/cutting mat and weed any excess paper.

Step 3: Using scissors, cut your string to the desired length of your banner.

Step 4: Apply a line of hot glue along the top of the first flag and carefully press the string into the glue. Repeat this process with each of the flags, leaving about an inch of space between each banner.

That’s it! Now you have a beautiful banner, perfect for decorating for Dia de los Muertos! And you can carefully fold it up and save it for Cinco de Mayo and other celebrations! (Be sure to pair it with our vibrant Cinco de Mayo centerpiece, found here!)

This kind of project is one where I want to sing the praises of my Silhouette machine from the rooftops. I mean, the tiny, lacey details! So gorgeous.

Happy making!

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