Dia de los Muertos Skull Banner Tutorial

Dia de los Muertos Skull Banner

It's October my friends! Not only does it mean that Halloween is just around the corner, but Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is coming up too. Living in San Antonio has given me a special appreciation for this Latino celebration, and when I was invited by Blueprint Social to create a one-of-a-kind project using Martha Stewart Crafts, I knew I wanted to incorporate this holiday. 

Inspired by the traditional Mexican papel picados (I did another fabric version here) and intricate skull artwork, I've combined the two to make a reusable Dia de los Muertos Skull Banner. Continue reading below to find out how to make your own. 


Dia de los Muertos Skull Banner

I was amazed when I opened this box of Martha Stewart goodies. There was so much great stuff to choose from, but here are the ones you'll need for this project:
  • Stencil film
  • Transfer Paper
  • Patterning Tape
  • Paint Squeegee
  • Pearl Opaque Glass Paint in Purple Martin (or your color of choice--it doesn't have to be glass paint, I just liked this one)
  • Adhesive Silkscreens (I used the rectangular one from Doily Lace, and the large and small stencils from Floral Doily
Some additional materials you'll need include a pencil, cutting tool, temporary fabric spray adhesive, fabric for your banners (I used a thrifted sheet cut into six 10" x 13.5" rectangles), your sewing maching, and some ribbon for hanging. Oh, and don't forget to download my free Skull Outline Template!

Dia de Los Muertos Skull Banner

To begin, make sure you have your skull template, and cut out a sheet of the stencil film the same size as your template. Layer your template, transfer paper, and stencil film with the transfer paper in the middle (I also taped down my stencil film to keep it from sliding). Trace the solid lines of the template.

Dia de Los Muertos Skull Banner

You should have the transfered template on your stencil film, if not go back and trace over any missed lines. Carefully cut along the solid lines, making sure not to cut off the bridges connecting the inner and outer parts of the template.

Dia de Los Muertos Skull Banner
Spray the back of the stencil with your temporary fabric spray adhesive (it's important that your adhesive is temporary and for fabric so that it won't leave any marks on your banner). Carefully adhere it the center of your fabric panel, and get your paint ready! 

*A note on the paint--obviously fabric paint would be the best choice for this project, but I chose the glass paint because it was pretty. If you do go with a glass paint, too, I recommend that you set it by ironing the back of your finished piece, and hand clean it only.

Dia de Los Muertos Skull Banner
Apply your larger stencil over the top outline of the skull, squeeze out a strip of paint, and squeegee it over the desired spot. The adhesive stencil should press right down into the opening over your handmade stencil and create a nice border for your skull.

Make sure you rinse and dry your stencil and then readjust it as needed to finish painting in your skull border. Don't worry if it doesn't match up perfectly, each one will be unique. And after you remove the handmade stencil, fill in the little spots the bridges left by creating a border with the stencil tape.

Dia de los Muertos Skull Banner

Use your small flower stencil for each of the eyes, and just a section of the rectangular lace stencil for the mouth. Rinse and repeat until you have all the skull panels your heart desires!

Dia de los Muertos Skull Banner

Press and sew a 1/2" hem on the bottom and sides of each panel, and then create a 1" casing at the top.

Dia de los Muertos Skull Banner

Add your ribbon of choice (I used some teal twill tape), spread your panels evenly across, stitch the ends to create loops, and sew the panels in place along the ribbon.

Dia de los Muertos Skull Banner

Now go hang up your banner and show off your creation!

Dia de los Muertos Skull Banner


I'm so pleased with how my Dia de los Muertos Skull Banner turned out, and hope you're inspired to make your own, too! Thanks again to Martha Stewart Crafts for the awesome supplies!

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Disclosure: I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Martha Stewart Crafts and Blueprint Social. The opinions and the awesome project I shared in this post are my own.
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