DIY Sugar Skull Crafts for Dia De Los Muertos

Designed with vibrant colors and intricate designs, sugar skulls are one of the most important elements of Mexico’s Day of the Dead (Día de Los Muertos) celebration. These cranium-shaped objects were originally made with sugar (hence the name), but nowadays sugar skulls are created in all shapes in sizes and dressed with brightly-colored paints, glittery sequins, metallics, or other fun and festive decorative details!

With Día de Los Muertos coming up on October 31st (an extra festive Halloween this year!), I thought I would share fun diy sugar skull craft ideas for the family to work on together. Not only are these sugar skulls an excellent way to experiment with color, but it’s also a great way to introduce kids to the rich culture and traditions of Día de los Muertos.

Craft Idea #1 | Paper Plate Sugar Skull Masks

The idea for paper plate sugar skulls came about while brainstorming craft 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. Enjoy!

paperskulls _ day of the dead

Supplies Needed

Directions

Step 1: Outline a skull shape on your plate and then cut it out

Step 2: Cut out a heart-shaped nose and eyes using black construction paper, and then glue them to the plate

day of the dead _ paperskulls

Step 3: Draw some teeth. This was surpassingly easy for the kids. I had them draw 6 small ovals with a line through each one at the bottom of the plate

Step 4: Decorate the skull! From gems to colorful markers, decorative papers and any other festive embellishments,  sugar skulls 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.

Craft Idea #2 | Wooden Spoon Sugar Skulls

day of the dead wooden spoons craft

Supplies Needed

  • Wooden Spoons – you can find these at most craft stores in the wood section
  • perfectly permanent double ended markers – I love that these markers can draw on a variety of surfaces, including wood!

Directions

Step 1: Outline your design onto the wooden spoon very lightly in pencil

Step 2: Using your perfectly permanent double ended markers, draw the details of your design first

Step 3: Fill in the background of your design

Step 4: Decorate the handle of your spoon

For a unique and festive gift, put a few of your decorated sugar skull spoons into a mason jar, along with small candies and treats

Craft Idea #3 | Toilet Paper Roll Sugar Skulls

Supplies Needed

  • Toilet Paper Rolls
  • Black markers – I used OOLY’s ink works markers
  • Origami Paper or Construction Paper
  • Scotch Tape
  • Candy! (Optional as a filler)

sugarskullsupplies

Directions

Step 1: Wrap each of toilet paper roll in a colorful piece of origami or constructions paper. It’s easiest to use scotch tape to adhere the paper

Step 2: Using a pencil, sketch a sugar skull design

tp-skulls3

Step 3: With a fine-tip marker, trace over your pencil sketch and add more details as desired.

tp-day of the dead craft

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 card stock cutout to each end, fasten with tape, and stuff the rolls with mini-candies.

Craft Idea #4 | Painted Rock Sugar Skulls

Supplies Needed

  • Acrylic paint – my favorite is the Martha Stewart Living acrylic paint
  • Smooths stones – If you can’t find you can also use a wood slice, which you can find at a craft store
  • A small paintbrush for adding details
  • Mod Podge and a foam brush (Optional sealant)

Directions

Step 1: Outline your design on the rock in pencil – I usually do this before I start painting

Step 2: Add acrylic paint to the completed design. It’s easiest to add the background first, so start with the outline of your skull design and fill it in.

Step 3: Add the eyes, nose, and mouth

Step 4: Decorate with lots of colorful details and designs

Step 5: Using a foam brush, seal your rock with one thin layer of Mod Podge

And vuela, you’ve just created a special gift or a little keepsake!

Craft Idea #5 | Sugar Skull Coloring Page

If you don’t have time for a full craft, but you do want to celebrate Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), you can download this free printable coloring page.


For more colorful ideas and DIYs, be sure to follow me and OOLY on Instagram.