Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day of the Dead: Calavera Craft & Printable

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. With this celebration, death is not meant to be feared, but recognized as a natural part of life. Families come together to honor their deceased loved ones, either at home or in cemeteries, with sugar skulls, altars, marigolds, and special foods and drinks. 

Day of the Dead Altar
Photo Credit: Eleni
When we explored Mexico six years ago, Dia de los Muertos was our favorite celebration, and we continue to celebrate it, remembering and honoring our departed loved ones, whether family, friends or pets, every year. 

Day of the Dead Skeletons
Photo Credit: Jen Wilton
A few weeks ago, Elle had a sleepover, and as an activity, hubby bought each of them a wooden skeleton to paint. As they deliberated how best to paint them, I suggested they draw inspiration from Day of the Dead sugar skulls and skeletons, also known as calaveras. They were excited about the idea, so we did a Google search for mexican skulls, and used these as inspiration.

I just love their tuxedos!

When Pea saw the finished calaveras, she wanted to paint one herself. So I got two more - one for each of us (I just love Mexican crafts!)
And finally, last night, we started painting our own.

We started with the base colors of white for the skull, arms and feet; and black for the tuxedo. We left them to dry overnight, and had a great time adding all the colorful details tonight. We used bright acrylics, metallic paints, glitter, and even a few sequins. 

If you'd like to decorate your own calavera, I created two templates inspired by these wooden ones, that you can download and print. The bones can be joined with yarn, string or twist ties. There is a blank one and one with designs. Just click on the links below:

If you would like to learn more about the Day of the Dead, Spanglish Baby has a round up of activities and informative posts related to Dia de Los Muertos here.

You can find more cultural and historical activities at the following linkups:


  1. I have nothing to say...you are the coolest mummy!!

    1. I'm pretty sure the girls would whole heartedly disagree, but thank you for saying so!

  2. Thank you for the great printable. It is a great craft and I agree with Claire; you are the coolest mummy!

  3. How fun! I agree - I want to come live at your house! Thanks for sharing at the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop :)

  4. These are so cute! I love Day of the Dead crafts - thank you for sharing at #Pintorials :)


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