How-To: A Papel Picado Tutorial with free VIVA OBAMA template

20 Sep
The Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos is coming up right around election time. Papel picado is a common decoration for this holiday’s festivities. Papel picado is cut or punched paper, made from stacks of tissue paper with the use of chisels, punches, hammer and blade. Here is a how-to tutorial for you Obama supporters! It is meant to be an introduction to making papel picado using the most-widely available modern tools. Hey, we don’t all have access to a blacksmith to make us custom chisels.

This original design is free [for personal and educational use].

You will need:
Design template
X-Acto knife, blade #11 or #16 (as pictured)
About 6 sheets of tissue paper
Glue stick
Surface to cut on (a self-healing mat works very well)


1. Download and print out the design template.

2. Stack the sheets of tissue paper with the printed template on top. Leave room (about an inch) above the top of the design for a flap. It may help to staple everything together to prevent shifting as you cut. Just carefully remove the staples when you are done.

3. Cut out the white areas of the template. Hold the knife firmly. Press hard. Make smooth, continuous cuts. Be brave! Use the non-cutting hand to hold your paper down around your cut.

4. Trim the edge off.

5. To string your banner:

  • Fold the top edge of a flag.
  • Open the fold and apply glue stick gently to the flap.
  • Lay your string in the crease.
  • Close the fold and press it closed, from the middle > out.

6. Pick a spot to hang up your work!

If you’re not an Obama fan, that’s cool– I have another tutorial over on Etsy.

Not the crafty type? These banners are also available in my shop. $5 for each banner is donated to the Obama for America campaign!


3 Responses to “How-To: A Papel Picado Tutorial with free VIVA OBAMA template”

  1. tara linda October 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    SO happy to have found your blog! I get more hits on my site from folks looking for papel picado templates- have been sending them to etsy… but now, I will link them directly here, yes? Love your work Chica! 😉

    • Ay Mujer shop November 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

      Yeah, I noticed that I was getting a lot of hits from people searching for templates, too! I love sharing how-to’s and designs whenever it is possible. Thank you for the support and absolutely send ’em my way 🙂

  2. catalinadelbosque January 6, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    This tutorial is brilliant, I’m marrying a Mexican in the UK next year, and was hoping to have some papel picado but it seems so expensive here in the UK. I might try and make my own as a mini-project!

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