Welcome Teachers and Parents
azcentral.com is proud to offer this education packet as part of our Dia de los Muertos site. Adults and children alike often get their first exposure to this important celebration through the colorful art, food and folk traditions of the holiday and its close association with the more common Halloween celebration. Our goal is to educate and inform those seeking information on this celebration through articles, original art, and interactive projects like the ones that you will find in this packet. We hope that you use this information as well the pages found on the web site to enrich young minds as well as your own.

Inside This Packet
• Word search game • Mix and match puzzle • 4 coloring pages • Papel picado lesson plan, including an easy to use template for younger children. • Calavera mask project • Skeleton puppet project • Bibliography














Word Search
Find these words in the grid above. Keep in mind that the words may be hidden vertically, horizontally, diagonally or backwards.

1. ofrenda 2. papel picado 3. piñata 4. altar 5. day of the dead 6. calaca 7. zarape 8. copal 9. ceras 10. calavera

11. cascarones 12. candles 13. marigold 14. pan de muerto 15. Oaxaca 16. angelitos 17. mole 18. máscara 19. dulces 20. mariachis

Cascarones 7. Day of the Dead 5. Burning incense left at altars D. Calaca 6.Mix and Match Match the following vocabulary words to their definitions. Calaveras 12. Illustrator whose satirical drawing 'La Catrina' is one of the most recognizable figures of Day of the Dead G. Dia de los Muertos 10. Alfeniques F. Festive egg shells that are filled with confetti and trimmed in glitter I. Jose Guadalupe Posada . Cempazuchitl 4. Bread of the dead H. Whimsical skeleton figure that represents death K. The art of Mexican paper cutting C. Angelitos 11. Offerings to honor the dead E. Poems and songs written about the festival J. Copal 9. Yellow marigolds that are symbols of death B. Colorful iced sugar skulls L. Ofrenda A. 1. Papel Picado 8. Pan de Muerto 3. Souls of children who have died 2.





Objectives for Students • Understand the role of papel picados in the Days of the Dead celebration • Recognize and identify papel picados • Describe and analyze the visual qualities of papel picados • Use positive and negative space to create a cut paper composition • Use symmetry. techniques.Papel Picado Lesson This lesson was developed for students in grades 3-12. and pattern in a cut paper composition Materials • colored sheets of tissue paper 11" x 14" size (one per student) • scissors • string or yarn • glue Vocabulary • amate paper • fierritos • geometric shape • negative space • Otomi • papel picado • patron • pattern • positive space • Puebla. National Visual Arts Standards Addressed • Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and culture • Understanding and applying media. and processes • Use knowledge of structures and functions • Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others. Mexico • repetition • symmetry . repetition. The complexity of the lesson can be increased to accommodate different age levels.

Using a scissors. Unfold the tissue paper to reveal the pattern. Cut-paper figures used in ceremonies were created to represent any number of human and animal spirits. To guide the cutting. lay the end of a long piece of yarn or string horizontally across the top of the paper where you had previously PAPEL PICADO. Banners are cut with a hammer and sharp chisels called fierritos. and French silhouettes. repetition. page 2 . The bark of the amate tree. crosses. Usually made of tissue paper but sometimes of more durable plastic. Introduce the following information about papel picados to your students. was used to make a rich colored brown or beige paper. Some of the more famous techniques are the German scherenschnitte. Demonstrate for your students how to cut a paper design with repetitive designs from one piece of tissue paper. Mexico. Japanese kirigami. Papel Picado Background Information Colorful paper banners. Mexican Independence Day (September 16th). Chinese hua yang. Demonstration Introduce or review the concepts of positive and negative space.Introduction and Discussion Display sample papel picados. Check for your students understanding of the concepts. skulls. Today. iron to remove the folds. and Christmas. The tradition of papel picado can be traced to pre-Columbian times when papermaking thrived throughout Mesoamerica. If possible. The festive papel picado banners created throughout Mexico today are usually made with tissue paper or plastic. To prepare for hanging. Because of their fragility and the time spent creating them. For the Days of the Dead. As many as 50 layers of colored tissue paper can be cut at one time. Compare and contrast paper cutting techniques found in other cultures if time and resources permit. cut a series of repeating shapes from the folded edges of the tissue. and pattern if needed. called papel picado (Spanish for "perforated paper") can be found hanging about the streets during any Mexican fiesta or celebration. a group of indigenous people. Some artists create intricate designs that take many hours to make. where artists work to create paper and plastic decorations for the Days of the Dead. the Otomi from the village of San Pabilto. a type of fig tree. the cut banners are hung together like a string of flags. and tombstones. Polish wycinanki. a patron or pattern with a drawn design is placed on top of a stack of tissue paper. the designs feature skeletons. Some of the best papel picado is made in the small village of San Salvado Huixcolotla in Puebla. Flatten the tissue paper on the table. cut-paper banners are themselves symbols of the transitory quality of life. continue to make cut-paper figures from their handmade amate paper. The tradition of making cut paper designs is practiced in many cultures throughout the world. Choose a colored tissue and place it on the table horizontally. Leave one inch at the top of the tissue paper to attach a string. Fold it accordion style from the bottom up making about 3-4 folds.

and techniques used to make the papel picados • Identification of positive and negative space • Use of symmetry Making Simple Papel Picado Fold a rectangular piece of paper in half. Glue the edge of the flap down with the string under the fold. Fold the edge of the paper over the string to create a 1/2 inch flap. Based on the objectives of the cut-paper design lesson. including group discussions. Rulers may be used to divide the paper into grids or sections. fadeless colored paper. cut your string long enough to hold all of their tissue cutouts. Discuss what would happen if you had cut too near to the edge of the tissue. Negative areas to be cut away may be shaded in pencil to aid in cutting. and skills presented in the lesson. Objects or designs must touch and connect to other areas of the paper as they form the positive shapes on the paper. flatten. materials.reserved one inch of paper. Assessment To plan the assessment of your students' learning. the following content areas could be addressed in the assessment process: • Demonstration of understanding of the role of the papel picados in the Days of the Dead celebration • Recognition and identification of papel picados • Description and analysis of the visual qualities of papel picados • Description of the tools. Open slowly. Try using different kinds of paper: butcher paper. Glue sticks can be used to avoid using too much glue. In pencil. page 3 . Any number of strategies can be used to involve your students in assessment. Very little glue is needed to achieve a strong hold. PAPEL PICADO. process. origami paper. Use scissors or a craft knife to carefully cut away negative areas of the design (cut over cardboard if using craft knives). Draw the content for the assessment from the objectives as they reflect the information. Check for your students understanding of the concepts. sketch one half of a design on one of the folded halves. Hang the banner high enough to keep curious hands from damaging the finished work. Leave several inches at both ends to hang the completed banner in the hallway or across the ceiling of your classroom. fold the paper more than once. and games. review the objectives of the lesson. Distribute the materials and allow the remaining class period for making cutouts. and colored tissue paper. verbal or written presentations. To create more complex designs. Plan to allow one inch between sheets of paper as you add them to the string. IMPORTANT: If you want each student to contribute a cut paper design to create a banner. and glue to a background paper.

Individual banners are strung together to create festive and colorful decorations for the celebration. Designs must touch and connect to the other areas of the paper in order to form the shapes on the paper. Papel picado made especially for the Day of the Dead include skeletal figures engaging in human activities of the living. fold a rectangular sheet of tissue paper in half. flowers and lettering. Use the banners to decorate the ofrenda. Artists use a hammer and chisel to "punch designs out of stacks of layered tissue paper--up to 40 layers thick. sketch one half of a design on the folded side of the tissue paper. Use rulers to divide the paper into sections. Shade in the areas to be cut away. measure the yard or string to extend beyond the length of the banners. To make simple papel picado for the classroom. animals. For more complex designs.Papel Picado is the Mexican art of cut paper. Using a pencil. Fold over the top of the banner over the string and glue or tape. fold the paper several times. Designs can portray people. With scissors or a craft knife. Open the paper carefully. Once several banners are made. carefully cut away the shaded areas of the design. Source: CRIZMAC Art and Cultural Education Materials (free resources) PAPEL PICADO. page 4 .


Now you have a mask you can tie around your face. Instructions Print out the calavera mask. feathers etc. Let dry and punch two holes (one on either side of the skull above the cheek bone). Tie an 8”-12” piece of string or yarn through each hole. paints. .Make Your Own Calavera Mask Materials • crayons • paint • markers • scissors • string or yarn • paper punch • glue • glitter. tissue paper. Color and decorate with glitter. buttons. feathers etc. Cut out the eyes. just above your ears.








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