Monday, October 4, 2010

Day of the Dead crafts

The Pandoras met at my house today to make paper-cloth decorations for The Day of the Dead (El Dia de Los Muertos). We followed directions in Kelli Perkins’ wonderful book Stitch Alchemy (Interweave, $22.95).

The book describes the process of making paper-cloth using different kinds of paper glued to muslin, and then coloring the paper with paints and inks that are brushed, sponged, spritzed, smeared and stamped on top. The result is a stiff, textured surface that can still be stitched through.

We all made several sheets of paper-cloth in advance, then did the fun coloring part here before drying the paper (with a hair dryer, to speed the process) and cutting it up to make festive Day of the Dead skulls.

Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico on Oct. 31 - November 2, and honors deceased relatives. The website has great information on the history, events, crafts and foods associated with the holiday.

Here is DeLane working on hers:

After you cut out the pieces of paper-cloth, everything gets stitched down on black card stock with black thread. Precision stitching doesn’t matter because the uneven stitching adds to the folk art effect.


Trish sketches out a design on the back of the paper-cloth before cutting it out:

I made three skulls and cards to put at each end:


I think I’m going to stitch them with a black ribbon across the top, and hang it over a door. If you are intrigued with this, I highly recommend Kelli’s book. It has so many wonderful techniques for coloring the paper-cloth, and really cool projects you can make with it.