How to make Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls
I’ve always loved the vibrant colors and intricate designs of sugar skulls. Sugar skulls have long been used in Mexico as part of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivities. Originally, sugar skulls were made with sugar, but nowadays you find them in various art forms. With the Day of the Dead coming up on November 1, I wanted to share some fun sugar skull craft ideas that would also be wonderful art projects for kids while teaching them about the history of Día de los Muertos.
Paper Plate Sugar Skull Masks
The idea for paper plate sugar skulls came about while brainstorming on crafting ideas to do with my son’s kindergarten class. I needed an activity that was not only fun and colorful, but also manageable to do with twenty-five children. This activity proved to be a HUGE success.
-Colorful markers. I love these Glitzy Glitter Markers because they have glittery ink.
-Cardstock or construction paper in a variety of colors, including black.
-Gluestick and/or glue.
-Decorative paper hole punch (optional). I used this one to create decorative flowers.
-Jumbo colored craft sticks (optional if you want to turn your skull in a mask).
1.Outline a skull shape on your plate and cut it out.
2.Cut out a nose (heart shaped) and eyes using black construction paper. Glue each piece to the plate.
3.Draw the teeth. This was actually much easier for the children than I expected. I told them to draw 6 small ovals at the bottom of the plate with a line through them.
4.Decorate the skull with gems, marker designs, and decorative papers. You can never have too many decorations!
Here are the finished skulls from my son’s classroom. The children were so proud of their work and kept showing each other all of the details and embellishments they added.
Wooden Spoon Sugar Skulls
-Wooden spoons. You can find these at most craft stores in the wood section.
–Oodles of Doodles Markers. I love that these markers can draw on a variety of surfaces, including wood!
-Outline your design on the spoon very lightly in pencil.
-Using your Oodles of Doodles Markers, draw the details of your design first.
-Fill in the background of your design.
-Decorate the handle of your spoon.
For a unique gift, put several sugar skull decorated spoons in a mason jar, along with small candies and treats.
Toilet Paper Roll Sugar Skulls
-Empty toilet paper rolls.
-Black markers. I used Ink Works Markers because they come in a variety of sizes and are perfect for fine details.
–Origami paper or construction paper.
-Candy (optional filler).
-Wrap each of your toilet paper rolls in a colorful piece of origami or constructions paper. It’s easiest to use Scotch Tape to adhere the paper.
-Using a pencil, sketch a sugar skull design. Look at pictures of sugar skulls for ideas.
-With a fine-tip marker, trace over your pencil sketch and add more details as desired.
Now that you have your finished skulls, use them for decoration or gifts. If you add a hole punch to the top of each roll on both sides, you can string them together to create beautiful Day of the Dead garland. Or you can add a circle cardstock cutout to each end, fasten with tape, and stuff the rolls with mini-candies.
Painted Rock Sugar Skulls
-Acrylic paint. My favorite is Martha Stewart Living acrylic paint.
-Smooths stones. If you can’t find any outdoors, check your local garden center for river rock, or opt for a wood slice instead from your local craft store.
-Small paintbrushes for details.
–Mod podge and a foam brush (optional sealant).
-I typically outline my design on the rock in pencil before I start painting.
-Once your design is complete, add acrylic paint. It’s easiest to add the background first, so start with the outline of your skull design and fill it in. Next add the eyes, nose, and mouth. Finally, add colorful details and designs.
-Seal your rock with one thin layer of mod podge using a foam brush.
Sugar Skull Coloring Page
If you don’t have time for a full craft, but you do want to recognize Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos, download and print this free printable coloring page.