75 years dog image

Increase Font Size | Decrease Font Size     Bookmark and Share

Papel Picado

Help us fill the museum's entrance with colorful papel picado!

   
Create your own papel picado and we'll hang it in the museum! 

Papel picado is a form of Mexican folk art where template patterns are used to cut designs into stacks of colored tissue paper, producing many paper cuts-outs at once from a single pattern. Cut from colored tissue paper to simulate lace, papel picado can be seen hanging from Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) altars and around graves during November. The paper-cuts are usually purple (for pain), white (for hope) or pink (for celebration). There are examples of papel picado dating back to the early 20th century.

How to Make Papel Picado with Regular Paper

  • Download a template from the selection below.
  • Print out the template. Consider printing on a colorful piece of paper.
  • Fold the paper in half so that the design is on the outside.
  • Cut along the dotted lines to bring the pattern out of the paper. Use a paper cutter (like an exacto knife) for internal shapes.
  • Color or decorate your papel picado, or not. It's up to you!
  • If you make more than one, you can string the papel picados together. Simply punch or cut a small hole into the top corners of each piece and then tie a piece of string, yarn, or fishing line between them.
  • Bring your finished papel picados into the Admissions Desk at Tacoma Art Museum. We will hang your masterpieces in the entryway!

How to Make Papel Picado with Tissue Paper

  • Download a template from the selection below.
  • Print out the template.
  • Cut the tissue paper into a 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet (letter-size) and fold it in half.
  • Place template on top of the tissue paper with the fold on the left.
  • Secure the template to the tissue paper using paper clips. This helps everything stay in place while you're cutting.
  • Cut along the dotted lines to bring the pattern out of the tissue paper. Use a paper cutter (like an exacto knife) for internal shapes.
  • Color or decorate your papel picado, or not. It's up to you!
  • If you make more than one, you can string the papel picados together. Simply punch or cut a small hole into the top corners of each piece and then tie a piece of string, yarn, or fishing line between them.
  • Bring your finished papel picados into the Admissions Desk at Tacoma Art Museum. We will hang your masterpieces in the entryway!
   
  Download a Papel Picado Template
  
Cactus Papel Picado  Bird Papel Picado 
    
Click here to download a cactus papel picado template. Click here to download a bird papel picado template. 
    
Owl Papel Picado Fun Papel Picado Design 
    
Click here to download an owl papel picado template. Click here to download a fun papel picado template. 
    
Skull Papel Picado Sun Papel Picado 
    
Click here to download a skull papel picado template. Click here to download a sun papel picado template. 
   
What is Dia de los Muertos?

Día de los Muertos is an ancient celebration of the eternal cycle of life. Today’s celebrations combine centuries of indigenous practices with contemporary traditions and spiritual beliefs. Observed in Mexican and other Latin American communities on November 1 and 2 (All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day), Día de los Muertos is a powerful, symbolic celebration in honor of relatives and friends who have died. The festival is a joyous celebration that conveys the belief that death is not the end, but rather the beginning of a new stage in life.

Altars, or ofrendas, are often built in the home of the departed one’s family and decorated with traditional items including pictures of the deceased, their favorite food or drink, toys for children, trinkets and keepsakes, and notes to the loved one. The museum’s community altars often honor themes, ideas, or groups of people, rather than one individual.

© copyright 2014 Tacoma Art Museum
Image Use Privacy Policy General Disclaimer