Art Tip

Crafting Paper Flowers

In honor of the upcoming Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, I thought we could do a fun craft on the blog this week!

Dia de Los Muertos is a holiday celebrated on November 1 to November 2 throughout present-day Mexico and parts of Central and South America.  The holiday celebrates and honors the lives of those who have passed away.  Their souls return to visit their loved ones during this time when it is believed the veil with the spirit world is thinnest.  Families decorate gravesites and set up ofrendas (alters) for their loved ones in their homes using candles, marigolds, decorated skulls, photos of the deceased, favorite foods and drinks, and personal belongings.  In contrast to the spookiness and fear of Halloween celebrated just before, Dia de Los Muertos is a time of celebration with feasts, dancing, music, and sharing stories.

The Mexican Marigold (cempasuchil/flower of the dead/Aztec Marigold/Tagetes Erecta) is a type of marigold flower indigenous to Mexico.  Family members elaborately decorate the gravesites and alters with these flowers.  The vibrant color and strong scent help to guide the spirits from their resting places to their family homes.    

Below I show the steps of how to create a paper flower that you could use while setting up your own alter or to decorate during any other time of year. 

Materials:

Materials you’ll need:
-A sheet of tissue paper
-Scissors
-Stapler (or pipe cleaner)

Step by Step:

Take your piece of tissue paper and cut down to the size you’d like to work with.  (For the large size I folded the paper in half, and then half again in the same direction, and then cut the folded edge.)  Fold the papers in an approximately one inch accordion style fold, making sure that both ends are open.  As pictured, the left and right sides should not contain a fold.

Staple in the center to create the middle of the flower.  Alternatively, you can wrap a pipe cleaner around the center if you would like a stem or want to attach the flower to something when you finish.  Optional: You can shape each of the ends with scissors to create the look of different types of flowers (example – rounded, pointed, wavy, etc.).

Turn to the side and carefully pull the individual layers of the tissue paper upward and towards the center on both sides.  Then finesse to reach the desired shape.

Here I show an alternate smaller version using a pipe cleaner as the center.

Having a pipe cleaner as the center is helpful if you’d like to attach the flower to something or wear it as a bracelet. 

Let's See What you create!

Tag @LauraJaenArt in your posts to show me the flowers you’ve created!

Resources & Further Learning

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