Papel Picado with a Modern Twist

papel picado banner

Papel Picado Craft

Papel Picado is a popular Mexican folk art also created from perforated paper.  While it is mainly used to decorate fiestas like weddings, baptisms, Birthdays and  day of the dead, I remember creating millions of patterns to decorate my grandmothers home for no reason at all.

Papel Picado is just one of those arts & crafts that is pretty to look at and easy to make.  Typically it’s made out of tissue paper. Lately, it’s grown in popularity here in the United States and is now made out of plastic to last longer for use in weddings and other types of parties.  I used to create my patterns out of paper or cardboard and a pair of scissors, much like creating paper snowflakes.

According to Wikipedia, “Papel picado comes from Chinese paper cutting and it was made in Europe during the sixteenth century, although it was called ‘papel cortado’ (cut paper). The two crafts are not exactly the same, as the European version was cut, while the Mexican form is chiseled. In Mexico, during the middle of the nineteenth century, people were forced to buy products from hacienda stores, where they encountered China paper.”

Now that my kids are a little older I decided to teach them how to make papel picado for Hispanic Heritage Month.  Since my kiddos are toddlers, I decided not to use scissors (or a chisel for that matter) so we made papel picado with a modern twist.  If you’d like to learn how to make some of your own papel picado keep on reading.

What you’ll need:

  • Tissue paper in at least 4 colors ( the brighter the better) cut into squares (8.5×11 works best)
  • 2-4 shape punches ( you can find these at your local craft stores)
  • Balloon streamer or string
  • Stapler or tape

Let’s get started!

steps 1-3 for papel picado

steps 4 for papel picado

steps 5 for papel picado
I hope you enjoy this project. Feel free to share your pics if you do create a banner of papel picado of your own. We’d love to see your masterpieces.

To make your own Mexican Paper Dolls, as seen in the image above, visit Growing Up Blackxican for the accompanying step-by-step craft tutorial!



Ruby is many things, but foremost a wife and mother to her 2 little ones. She and her husband are trying to raise bilingual/bicultural little beings. She’s originally from Orange County, California, but recently moved across country after her husband completed his duty with the US Navy. They now live in New Jersey, where her husband is originally from. Ruby enjoys time with her family, visiting new places and people, all things crafty and of course, meeting other bicultural parents!  Find her on her blog, Growing Up Blackxican.




  1. says

    Ruby, I love these. What a great idea to use paper-punches! Gracias por las ideas, amiga. I wondered how you did it over on your blog. *smiles* Could your designs get any cuter? I'm embarrassed to say that although I'd seen papel picado and appreciated the designs growing up, I never had the chance to learn to make it. *LOL* Probably another good reason why a paper-punch might be safer not only in my son's hands, but mine, too. Are you going to share any other crafting ideas? I've always wondered about those big colorful flowers I've seen made of tissue paper. Sabes como hacerlas? Un beso. <3

    • says

      Omg…yes, you should do a craft for the Mexican paper flowers Ruby!  I love them, but I haven't made them recently.  I only know the basic style, but would love to learn how to make a couple different types.  They are so beautiful!  :)

      • says

        Ezzy & Chantilly I know exactly what you're talking about. I actually learned to make those off Martha Stewart lol I had a ginormous pompom then realized if i made a small one it would be exactly like the Mexican tissue paper flowers. I had totally forgot about that. I'll see if i can get the kids to create something similar. 

  2. says

    This is such an great idea!  I'm definitely going to do this with my son!  Thanks for showing us how to do it!  Maybe we will wait until my hubby is out of town and decorate the house and see his reaction when he comes home.  Love it!