Posted on 26 Comments

How to make papel picado video

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

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

Try making your own party decorations for Day of the Dead

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!

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.

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

How to make papel picado: Photo Tutorial:

Making your 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

INSTRUCTIONS: 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. This is to stop the crepe paper slipping 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 a little safer 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. 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 papel picados. Lay a length of ribbon along the groove of the fold and turn the flap over the ribbon. Secure 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.

Click here to download your papel picado templates, only free to Happythought members!

Buy these fantastic papel picado template designs (12 patterns)

Decorations for Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead!
Papel picado templates for all fiesta occasions

The high quality papel picado designs include a traditional rectangular papel picado garland, butterfly pdf design, calavera sugar skull, mini flags, birds and hearts plus mini papel picado garland templates. Available in the Dia de los Muertos printables and decorations kit.

Happythought CraftClub

Joining Happythought membership will also get you exclusive access to the ever growing CraftClub library. Packed with over 100s of free templates, craft ideas and activity worksheets. Plus 50% off of all our Day of the Dead printable templates.

More El Dia de los Muertos templates to download

We also have plenty of craft activities, ideas and printables in our Day of the Dead craft activity pack. Make a Milagro heart ornament, Learn a bit about Day of the Dead worksheets for class, color in calavera mask activity, nicho craft template and a paper flower crown for Ele Dia de los Muertos.

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

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 thoughts on “How to make papel picado video

  1. Thank you for the helpful papel picado tutorial and template!!

  2. 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!

  3. Simple, yet very pretty papel picado!

  4. awesome tutorial!

  5. I’ve been looking for papel picado templates everywhere… good ones that is … thank you!

  6. Free, very cute and practical papel picado templates, THANK YOU!

  7. I would like to have all of these papel picado patterns for my classroom. So many to choose from!
    Thank you,

  8. Thanks from Argentina

  9. Love them Thanks

  10. thank you

  11. i love it <3

    1. Thank you so much for the free templates.My students love it.

  12. I would love to use this in my classroom.

  13. Muchas gracias por el tutorial.¿Por favor podrías enviarme alguna plantilla?
    Gracias por anticipado y saludos cordiales

  14. Great papel picado pattern. Thank you!

  15. 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!

  16. Todas las ideas me encantan!!!
    Buenos videos buenos tutoriales!!!
    Sigan así 😀

  17. Oh my gosh saved so much money doing papel picado for my wedding…thanks

  18. 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

  19. Gracias! I will be making these for my party. 🙂
    Thanks again for the tips !

  20. 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!

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

    Thank you,

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

    Thank you,


  23. 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.

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