We’ve always been amazed by the paper-cutting talents of our collage-artist friends. And, we’ve had our own successes making window silhouettes for Halloween. So, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, we thought we’d try our hands at making Papel Picado (perforated paper) and stringing a garland across the dining room entranceway. You most often see Papel Picado garlands around the Day of the Dead, brightly coloured tissue squares cut with elaborate birds, skeletons, flowers, suns, and other fantastic images. Papel Picado are most often made by taking several layers of tissue paper and cutting or chiseling figures into them [or placing a stencil over top in order to do so]. You can also simply fold the paper and cut designs as you please. [Think paper snowflakes]. On Sunday afternoon, we did both.
DIY Papel Picado Garland
Brightly coloured tissue paper
Scissors [for the cut-out style]
Exacto Knives & Cutting Mat [for the chiseled style]
Optional Stencil [for the chiseled style]
String or Ribbon
Cut tissue paper into rectangles or squares the size of your choosing.
[We cut 10×13 in rectangles, or quarters of one sheet of dollar store tissue paper.]
For the cut-out style
Fold the rectangle in half and then fold it in half again or to your liking.
[This is flexible, you can also fold it as you would a snowflake]
Cut shapes into the folds of the tissue paper.
Unfold and repeat as desired.
For the chiseled style
Lay a rectangle of tissue paper on a cutting mat.
[If desired, lay a stencil over top. We did not use stencils, but we “thought in stencil,” as they say.]
Carefully, using an exacto knife, cut small shapes into the tissue paper.
For the garland
Cut astring or ribbon long enough to accommodate each rectangle of tissue paper, allowing for a few inches in between each Papel Picado and additional length at each end to hang.
Starting at one end of the ribbon, one at a time, lay each Papel Picado face down on a covered table.
Place the string across the top .5 in of the Papel Picado.
Fold the top of the Papel Picado over the string.
Glue the flap over the string to seal.
Repeat until you have hung each Papel Picado.
Hang the garland and celebrate!