Homemade Craft Connection :: Day of the Dead Calaveras Mask

My daughter is studying the Day of the Dead in school, so I thought it was quite fitting for us to make our own Calaveras Masks. The Day of the Dead or Dia de Muertor is a celebrations that takes places annually on the 1st and 2nd of November.

It’s a festivity that honors the lives of family and friends that have passed. The belief is that the souls of dead family member’s come back and visit for the first two days of November. And traditionally they are welcomed with alter’s full of their favorite foods, marigolds flowers and candles.

Dia di Muertor is laden with rituals and symbolism from skulls and butterflies right down to the chosen colors of the decorations.

The skull is an iconic symbol of the Day of the Dead, and while this may initially seem morbid it is actually done quite beautifully with a playfulness that signals an uplifting sense of positivity.

Today it is common to find public procession or parades hosted in cities with large Latin communities. Folks often wear skull masks and dance to honor their deceased relatives.

Wearing a mask on this day is a powerful symbol of overcoming your fear of death. It give people a change to become a different version of themselves, a braver more fearless self. A self that is in touch with their darker side if only for a day.

Butterflies are also a very important symbol of the day. They are often thought to represent transition and resurrection. And in a small Michoacan town in Mexico where the Monarch butterflies migrate every fall they are believed to be the returning souls of the deceased.

(Click here to download the PDF printable template)

To Make your Calaveras Mask You’ll Need:

THE BASICS:
Calaveras Mask Template (download here)
Acrylic Paint
Chipboard
Scissors or Craft Knife
Glue Stick

EXTRAS:
3D Paint
Black Glitter
White Glue & Paint Brush (to adhere glitter)
Fake Eyelashes

FLOWERS:
Tissue Paper
Crepe Paper
Chenille Stems
Floral Wire
Floral Tape
Thread

INNER LINING AND TIES:
Ribbon
Felt
Glue Gun

1.  Print your mask pattern.
2. Cut out your pattern and back it with chipboard.
3. Paint in your mask. Use the color guide as a reference.

4. Add details

  • Use 3D paint to outline the boarders and add dot accents.
  • Apply white glue to the “eye circles” and then sprinkle with black glitter.
  • Glue on the Fake Eyelashes to the edges of the eye holes and let dry.

5. Make Your Flowers:

Flowers are also an important part of the Dia di Muertor celebration and more specifically the marigolds which are known to be the flower of the dead.  They are a symbol of life and love and it is believed that the strong sent of the  flowers helps guide the souls back to earth. Petals are often sprinkled on the ground leading up to the altar.

Paper Marigold Flower

  • Cut 8 sheets of tissue paper into squares.
  • Accordion fold the group of tissue paper.
  • Twist the chenille stem around the middle of the tissue paper.
  • Trim the ends to points.
  • Make 2 slits on each side.
  • Fan out and spread out the layers.

Paper Rose Flower

  • Cut your flower petals.
  • Roll each petal around a pencil and form the petal.
  • Make the stigma with the floral wire.
  • Secure the petals to the wire by wrapping it around with thread.
  • Continue adding petals and wrapping them with the thread.
  • Finish off your rose by wrapping the stem with Floral Tape.

6. Arrange your flowers and hot-glue them to the back side of your mask.

7. Finish your mask with the Inner Lining & Ties. Sandwich the ribbon between the inner liner and the outside of the mask gluing it into place with the glue gun .

Enjoy!

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