DIY: Day of the Dead

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One of the (many) reasons Halloween is the best holiday ever is that the fun continues into the Day of the Dead. Celebrated across two days, November 1 and 2 in connection with All Saints Day and All Souls Day, Day of the Dead is a holiday that pays respect to friends and family who have passed on. It’s also something that is traditionally done in the home, which means it’s DIY all the way.
Since today also happens to be my birthday, I’ll be eating cupcakes and tossing back pints but before I do, here are six ways to DIY your Dia de los Muertos.

Calavera: There are tons of Day of the Dead makeup tutorials on YouTube, check here and here for inspiration, but it’s easy enough. White face, black eyes and nose, skeleton teeth, flowers in hair. Embellish as needed. This one is fun to play around with, so do some searching online to see what you like.
Masks: If you’re not into the face paint, you can print out a mask. Bonus: masks can be mounted on plates (paper or otherwise) and put on the wall for decoration.

Altar: One of my favorite parts of the Day of the Dead traditions, altars contain offerings to the dead like photographs, bread, tamales or food, flowers, toys, candles… you can get pretty intricate, detailed and crazy here so grab some pals, open a bottle and find a surface to transform.

Sugar Skulls: Alright, I can’t lie to you, sugar skulls require some work. Also: merengue, molds and time. However, they are super fun to decorate so if you’re crafty in the kitchen check out the excellent tutorial here. If, like me, you’re entirely useless in the kitchen maybe go for some Day of the Dead cookies instead.

Papel Picado: Translating to “pierced paper” these banners are hung to celebrate holidays and the changing of the seasons. To make them yourself, just grab some colored tissue paper and scissors, cut paper into squares and start cutting shapes. It might be worthwhile to trace the designs out first, after you’ve got a handful, string them together and hang your banner.
Paper Flowers: Fresh flowers are pimp, no doubt, but they’re not always broke-ass. Go for the paper version and use ‘em all year round. You’ll need tissue paper again, and some pipe cleaners, then you’ll layer the paper and cut notches on the side, then pull up the layers one by one.
Want more? Alright then overachiever, check out these lists of projects here and here.


Images courtesy,,,

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Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

A freelance writer, blogger and poet based in San Francisco, Amber has written for PC World, InfoWorld, and the 16th & Mission Review. She has performed at City Hall, Litquake, the Brainwash, 16th & Mission, BlueSix, and SFSU among other places. Amber is also consummate fan of swearing, organizational freak, yoga practitioner, music geek, caffeine addict, and tattoo enthusiast who enjoys platform shoes, making out, thumb wrestling and fighting the good fight. She owns a bicycle named Gretel, a motor scooter named Elroy and a cat named Simon. She can be found in various virtual locations all over your interwebs.

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