How to Make Papel Picados?

Art has many directions to it and some innovative things added toit. We use various kinds of artistic designs for decorations of weddings, birthdays and festivals. Some festivals come with their specific art touch and the use of papel picados on a Mexican holiday is a must.

A Mexican holiday called Dia de los Muertos is just around the corner, it takes place on 1st November and people confuse it with Halloween. However it is one festival where people remember and honor their loved ones. This holiday is well known by people because of the kind of beautiful art that it comprises of which includes the sugar skulls, alters, offerings and marigold. Mexican folk arts are famous for spectacular and creative uses of paper and this festival is about their art depiction.

Papel picado is a common decoration of this celebration. A papel picado is cut or punched paper that is made from stacks of tissue paper aided by the use of chisels, pinches, hammer and blade. It gives a magnificent look when hung together.

How to make papel picados is not very hard but simple if you follow these directions appropriately:

Things you will require are:

  • Any nice design template of your choice

  • X-Acto knife, blade #11 or #16 

  • Around 6 sheets of tissue paper

  • A Glue stick

  • A String

Some smooth Surface to cut on, you can use a self-heating mat.


  1. Download or printout a design template

  2. Pile the sheets of tissue paper with the printed template on top. Leave space (about an inch) above the top of the design for a flap. It may help to staple everything together to prevent shifting as you cut. Just cautiously remove the staples when you are done.

  3. Then Cut out the white areas of the template. Make sure that you are holding the knife tightly. Press hard. Make smooth, continuous cuts. Be brave! Use the non-cutting hand to hold your paper down around your cut.

  4. After this trim the edges to give a neat look.

  5. After this step you need to string your banner by folding the top edge of a flag .Then open the fold and apply some glue gently to the flap. Lay your string in the flap and then close the fold and press it hard to ensure its tightly closed.

  6. Now select a spot to hang your picado.

Papel Picados when put on a desert table add a special highlight to the decoration. To make those the method is quite simple. You first need to cut narrow (approximately 1.5" wide) strips of colored paper. You can use colored scrapbook or construction paper for this.

After cutting use a lace edging craft punch along the length of the strip of paper. Then cut it into small equal pieces. It is advisable to use a needle and threads to string the miniature papel picado on colorful embroidery floss, and tied it to two striped paper straws. A little bit of glue and a couple miniatures tissue paper complete the amazing look.

In case you make an excess of papel picados then they can also be used for embellishment of plastic cups and glasses. All this just adds a new tinge to the decoration.

I hope these ideas help you to make some Papel picados yourself on this festival rather than purchasing them from a shop and paying a huge amount for the price. Handmade papel picados have a spectacular touch to them hence try using one of these ways to make your own papel picados for decorations.

Every festival has its own importance assets to it and the extensive use of papel picados on a Mexican festival is huge. Not everyone knows how to make papel picados hence here are a few ways that you can make them.

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