How to make papel picado video tutorial with easy to follow step-by-step instructions and templates!

How to make papel picado from template and pattern!
Make your own papel picado!

We had to have a go at making some beautiful Mexican papel picado, and we were so pleased with the results that we’ve put together this photo and video tutorial to show you how!

Papel picado means ‘punched’ or ‘perforated’ paper, and traditionally papel picado are made from colored tissue paper and cut using chisels.

We made ours using 3 papel picado templates and  crepe paper in lovely, vibrant colors. We found it much easier to handle than tissue paper. It also means that your papel picado last longer so you can use them again next year!

Papel picado garlands are traditionally used to decorate the streets and ofrendas during the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival in Mexico.

We used them to complement our Day of the Dead party printable kit. We loved using the crepe paper. We decided to try and make a classic mexican folk art, beautiful paper flowers.

How to make your own DIY papel picado for parties or fiestas at home! 

How to make papel picado: Photo & Video Tutorial:

How to get you own papel picado is easy. Follow these simple step by step photo instructions below. Watch the video tutorial above or on on our Happythought youtube channel (more videos and papel picados ideas at the bottom of this post).

You will need:

• Crepe paper in at least 3 colors.
• Scissors
• Masking tape (colored if available)
• Happythought Papel Picado Pattern templates (2 copies of each pattern)

How to make papel picado materials Day of the Dead!
3 papel picado templates by Happythought


There are 3 basic stages in the making of the paper picado.


Crepe paper in red green blue orange for Day of the Dead!

First, cut your crepe paper down into ‘letter’ size sheets.

Next, fold your printed template down the middle (along the dotted line) with the instructions on the outside. Using 4 sheets at a time, fold the crepe paper in half and assemble a ‘book’ with the template sheet as the cover.

Secure the top of your book with a little masking tape so that the crepe paper doesn’t slip when you are cutting out the shapes.


Make papel picado - cutting a paper picados using scissors for Day of the Dead!

You’re now ready to start cutting out your papel picado!
We prefer using scissors to do this as they’re easier to handle, especially if you have any little helpers.

Like making paper snowflakes, carefully cut out all the shapes on the interior of the template, folding again when necessary (as shown) to access the ‘interior’ shapes, and then follow the template guide to cut around the edges.

When you’ve finished cutting, remove the masking tape from the top, flatten out your book and remove the template cover. Be careful when separating the sheets of crepe paper as they can be quite fragile.

Repeat this process with another 4 sheets of crepe paper and the second template sheet. Once you have made 3 or four sets of papels, you are ready to create your garland!


Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead how to make paper picado tutorial
How to make paper picado step-by-step photo tutorial

Unroll a length of masking tape and lay it out on a flat surface with the sticky side facing up. Carefully place the papels face down on the tape in alternate colours. The tops of the papels should only cover half of the width of the masking tape.

Next, fold the tape over to create your garland as shown. To keep things simple, we recommend sticking no more than 5 or 6 at a time. To make a really long garland you can easily stick two lengths together with a little more masking tape.

An alternative method to stringing your garland is to make a fold approx. 3cm from the top of your papels, lay a length of ribbon along the groove of the fold and turn the flap over the ribbon, securing with a glue stick or a little sticky tape.

So, what do you think? Not too tricky, right? Remember too, if you store your papel picado carefully you can use them over and over!

Just click here to download your free papel picado templates. It’s easy!

Papel Picado template set (12 patterns)

How to make papel picado for Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead!

Papel picado banners, butterfly, calavera, mini flags, birds and hearts plus mini papel picado garland templates. Available in the Dia de los Muertos printables and decorations kit.

If you liked the papel picado template and want more crafts and activities,
Make your fiesta the best!

12 Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead papel picado template ideas!

Did you know?

Use the this discount code: 5mayo to get 50% off all of our Cinco de Mayo products?

  • Cinco de Mayo Holiday craft activity worksheets: Papel picado, pinatas, paper stars and flowers!

    Cinco de Mayo craft activity printable pack

    Rated 5.00 out of 5
    $ 5.00
    Add to basket
  • Cinco de Mayo scrapbooking papers and images

    Cinco de Mayo digital scrapbooking

    $ 5.00
    Add to basket
  • Cinco de Mayo printable PDF DIY kit

    Cinco de Mayo party printables

    $ 5.00
    Add to basket
  • Cinco de Mayo worksheets in spanish and english

    Cinco de Mayo worksheets in Spanish and English

    $ 5.00
    Add to basket

More Papel picado tutorials

Papel Picado for Day of the Dead – Video tutorial and template

Como hacer Papel Picado para Dia de los Muertos

Other ideas with papel picado

Our popular calavera papel picado tutorial and the more recent how to make butterfly papel picado.

We hope you enjoyed our papel picado tutorial! If so, please give us a little love; by liking us on facebook, pinning us on pinterest or following us on twitter. Thank you!

26 Responses to How to make papel picado video

  1. I have always wanted to learn how the ladies make such pretty detailed tissue paper decorations. Now I see and want to try as soon as I get my template!

  2. I am doing this craft with some third graders tomorrow as a follow up activity to a discussion about Chicana artist Carmen Lomas Garza. Thanks so much for the gratis templates!

  3. Hi, thank you for this tutorial and the templates! Life saver! PLEASE tell me the name of the song you used for the video…love it & would like to use it for a party coming up 🙂 Thank you

  4. Thank you for the patterns. I have a large window in my Living Room and I like to decorate it as well as the hearth. The colors you chose are so colorful. I have learned something new and will have fun making them!

  5. I love the patterns, do you have a few more? For kids and holidays, like 5 de Mayo, Birthdays and such?

    Thank you,

  6. I loved it! I am a Realtor and I need to get some decorative banners and your patterns are so cute!

    Thank you,


  7. THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH for the tutorial and the templets! I am doing a project for my Chicano Studies class, and with finding your website I have saved money by not having to buy papel picado from a store. Plus this gives me more to talk about in my in class presentation.

Leave a reply