Happy Day of the Dead friends!
Today I’ve got a really fun, not to mention, super easy Sugar Skulls project.
Sugar skulls are made to honor a departed soul, typically with that person’s name written on their forehead. We place them on our altar or ofrenda for the Día de Muertos holiday.
Make them with your children to celebrate the lives of our loved ones who have passed away.
How To Make Super Easy Sugar Skulls
With Day of the Dead just around the corner I thought I’d share these super easy sugar skulls or calaveras. I know a lot of blogs toss around terms like easy or simple and then you look at the list of ingredients and it includes things you’d have to drive to Cambodia for, “But once you get that home this recipe only takes 5 seconds!!!”
I swear to you that this little project is legitimately easy. You can trust me because I do not have a crafty bone in my body and I actually enjoyed this activity.
All you need to do is drive to Mexico and pick up a skull mold….just kidding.
You can buy them at a Latin market if you live in any largish-sized city. Can’t find them there? Check out this website dedicated to all things sugar skull.
The molds I used were large molds, about the size of a softball with a flat back. 1 cup of sugar was enough to fill 1 of these molds. You can use this recipe to make a large sugar skull or adjust the size of the batch depending on the size of your mold and how many you want to make.
- The next step is to combine a cup of granulated sugar with a couple teaspoons of water in a large bowl.
- Rub the water into the sugar really good with your hands then pack it super tight into the mold.
- Flip the mold over onto a baking sheet and let dry in a low oven (like 200°F) for 10 minutes.
- Let cool completely and decorate.
How To Decorate The Sugar Skulls
As with any decorating project you can get as fancy as you please. If you love cake decorating or cookie decorating, this is your time to shine.
If you have older kids they may enjoy using food coloring, paint, frosting, or even colored foil to decorate the skulls.
How Long Do The Sugar Skulls Last?
A lot of recipes for the skulls call for meringue powder which I’ve never used but I assume makes for a harder, more durable finished product.
The skulls we made with just sugar and water worked beautifully and have now survived a long time with a very passionate two-year-old which is more than I can say about most things.
In fact, we tried these last year as well and the ones we made are still as solid as ever, even after being stored for a year. If they’ve held up this well, I’m completely sold on making them this much easier way.
What Do Skulls Represent?
Sugar skulls are a type of folk art made for Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead celebrations.
They represent a deceased loved one and are placed on the home Ofrenda or altar on All Saints Day. Sculpted sugar forms, like sugar skulls, are called alfeñique and are popular in Italy, Spain, and Mexico.
When Is Dia de Los Muertos Celebrated?
Similar to the Catholic holiday of All Souls Day, Day of the Dead is celebrated on the 1st and 2nd day in November.
The tradition is a combination of native Aztec rituals and Spanish Catholic influences. November 1 is All Saints Day in the Catholic religion and Dia de los Innocentes in the Mesoamerican tradition.
On this day deceased children may visit their families. November 2 is All Souls Day in the Catholic religion as well as Dia de los Muertos. On this day adults are allowed a visit.
In Mexico City and around the country on these days, small sugar skulls are placed in people’s homes on their Ofrendas or in cemeteries on loved ones gravesites.
More Fun Day of the Dead ProjectsPrint
Super Easy Sugar Skulls for Dia de los Muertos
These simplified, super easy Sugar Skulls are basically foolproof and are perfect for little ones to decorate for Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 skulls depending on mold size 1x
- Category: Craft
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons water
- Heat oven to 200°F.
- Mix sugar and water together until sugar is damp throughout (this is easiest with your hands so you can really tell if all the granules have gotten wet).
- Press mixture into the mold taking time to press really well into all the crevices. Firmly pack it in as hard as you can.
- Very carefully invert the mold onto a parchment lined baking sheet, letting the sugar skull slip out.
- Bake skull to harden the sugar for 10 minutes. Let cool completely, then decorate.
Keywords: sugar skulls, Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos,