Sunday, October 31, 2010

Make Paper Plate Calaveras Masks!

Like many of my friends and fellow crafty folk, I absolutely adore Halloween but I think I lurve Dia de los Muertos even more! This is the first year in a great many that I was unable to visit Olvera Street in Los Angeles for their Day of the Dead festivities. Since all my stuff is tucked away in a zillion and half boxes I won't be able to make an altar this year but luckily for you, I have whipped up a nifty mask making project using a handful of items you may already have on hand.

*paper plates or large round sheets of paper
*popsicle sticks, sticks or pencils
*black construction paper
*glitter and other shiny bits (optional)

scrumdilly-do it!
Grab a plate and a pencil. Estimate the center of the plate and mark it with your pencil. Your children can do this part, it doesn't have to be EXACTLY center. Using the center dot as your guide, draw two lines intersecting at the center. One line should be vertical, while the other is horizontal, like a cross.
Next, draw two more line using all previous drawn lines as your guide. These two lines will mark an X on your plate and divide up the spaces between the first two lines.
This part sounds trickier than it is so stick with me. You are going to make your skellie cheeks. The first thing you will need to do is position the plate in front of you with the X lines looking like an X. Find the center points on other side of each diagonal line on the bottom half of the plate. Mark with your pencil and then draw an arc from point to point, these are your skellie cheeks!From the top point of each skellie cheek, follow the curve of the paper plate to draw the rest of your skull and cut out.Next up are the eyes and nose of your calavera. You can use a black marker or paint or you can have your wee ones cut shapes from black paper. The nose of your mask should be an upside down heart and the eyes should be large orbs. Use the paint or marker to mark the mouth of your calavera along the vertical ridges of the paper plate. Now it is time to decorate. You can have your kiddos decorate as they will but if you want to make your skull more of a calavera (as traditional as turning a paper plate into a calavera can be) and follow traditional ideas of decorating, chat up your kidlet about symmetry. If you follow any of the links up above you will find a couple of pictures of calaveras and calacas. If you look closely you will notice that most are evenly decorated aka symmetrical. Have your wee one do one side of their skull then have them repeat what they did to the other. Talk it out. See if they find it easy or hard to repeat the patterns. Which hand do they draw with? Have them switch hands for fun. The more color the better. Whatever you choose to do, have fun!Once your calavera is all decked out, you can add finishing touches with glitter and/or sequins. Set aside to dry and tape a popsicle stick or two to the back and you have a happy mask! I did not cut eyes in my mask as they are more decorative than useful but that doesn't mean you can't carefully punch out some eye holes for your kidlet.
Check out these nifty masks made by some scrumdilly-do readers. Thank you for playing along!

These are from Luzia Pimpinella and her kiddos, check out her blog post...And these are from Amber and her kiddos...Aren't they all absolutely fantastic?


  1. Love them!!!! I want to do these today! I love Olivera Street so fun so festive and awesome food!

  2. Your calaveras are fabulous! I've made my fair share of them over the years as an art educator in California, and these are so simple, yet stunning. Thanks for the good idea -- we'll be making these next year, for sure!

  3. These are Great---I love activities for Dia de Los Muertos! I will be doing this next year! I've been looking through your Blog---you have so many fabulous ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I've enjoyed being your Flickr contact for years. Now that I'm an elementary art teacher, I have a great respect and appreciation for all of your wonderful ideas. Thank you for sharing... we are doing this in my class!

  5. I am totally loving this ....thank uuuuu

  6. So cool and creative! Easy and fun. Thanks for these fabulous instructions! :)

  7. really really REALLY cool easy and fun. I loved making these!

  8. Crafted in a bizarre Gothic-Aztec style the house itself is a marvellous set and the many rooms and passages are as mysterious to us as they are to Jesse. Sitting on one of his many mantelpieces is a crystal skull that fascinates him for some reason. He even misses his housewarming party while studying the skull's history.

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  9. This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. You've got a design here that's not too flashy, but makes a statement as big as what you're saying. Great job, indeed. Real Human Skull for Sale