Day of the Dead is coming up on Sunday and Monday. We set up our alter last weekend and are beginning to decorate it with candles, incense, and pictures of loved ones who have passed. Today I will place a little jar of salt on the alter to represent the earth and to cleanse the spirit. The final piece will be the colorful addition of large paper flowers.
In Mexico, enormous fresh marigolds in red, orange, and yellow are used to decorate the graves and alters but paper flowers are also popular and are often strung together to make elaborate garlands which are draped overhead and along the edges of the gravestones.
I am not, not, not a crafter so believe me when I tell you they are very simple to make. All you need is one package of colorful tissue paper and some pipe cleaners. 15 sheets of tissue paper and 15 pipe cleaners should make about 15 flowers.
Take one sheet of tissue paper and cut it in half, then cut that piece in half two more times until you have several sheets that are about 8-inches long x 4-inches wide. This doesn’t matter too much—the bigger the sheets, the larger the flowers. Stack 8 pieces of cut tissue paper together (you can use all the same color or multiple colors).
Starting on the short end make a 1/2-inch thick fold.
Flip the tissue paper over so the folded side is down and then take the folded piece up and fold it again so now the fold is on the top, like an accordion. I wonder how many times I can use the word fold in a sentence, hmmmm.
Keep working your way up, folding back and forth until all the tissue paper is folded.
Bend the pipe cleaner around the middle of the stack and twist to secure. This will be your stem.
Cut each edge, either in a triangular shape or rounded.
Then fan out the paper.
Now pull one layer of tissue paper at a time towards the middle, carefully peeling the pieces of paper apart to create a puffy flower.
Continue with the remaining pieces of tissue paper to make as many flowers as you like. You can even make gigantic ones to hang from the ceiling using full sheets of tissue paper.
For those of you celebrating Día de los Muertos, I hope your hearts are full of celebration this weekend. Cherish these days; share family stories, eat sweet yeasty bread, and leave a flower or two for those who can no longer walk with us on this earth, but who are waiting to show us the glorious world on the other side.
These Paper Flowers Also Make Beautiful Cinco de Mayo Decorations
Check out our Cinco de Mayo Party Guide for lots of DIY decor ideas, cocktails, and Cinco de Mayo recipes.
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