With Día de Los Muertos coming up on November 1 and the Pixar film Coco premiering November 22 — my kids are so excited to see it! — I’ve been seeking out some fun sugar skull crafts for the family to work on together. It’s such a nice way to honor this beautiful Mexican holiday that celebrates life and honors family members who are no longer with us.
It’s also a lovely way to introduce our kids to the rich culture and traditions of our Mexican neighbors to the south and get some great conversations going. Plus there’s all that together time from a day spent crafting with the kids.
At top: painted rock sugar skulls | Color Me Happy
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Related: 9 easy Halloween games for kids to make your party the best on the block.
Embroidered Felt Sugar Skulls
Another great craft from Casa Artelexia are these embroidered felt sugar skulls, though this one is for those of you a little handier with a needle and thread. You will need some sewing skills — or a kid who has them — and a few really basic supplies but the result is just so colorful and spectacular. Wouldn’t they be great turned into pins for a jacket or backpack?
Sugar Skull T-Shirts
I absolutely love this fun sugar skull t-shirt craft idea and tutorial from our friends over at Alpha Mom. Brenda Ponnay’s step-by-step visual DIY makes it really easy to get great results and she even provides free downloads of her Day of the Dead skull and flower stencils. Best of all, I know my kids will love wearing their beautiful creations all year long
Sugar Skull Painted Planters
This painted sugar skull planter craft from Creative Kismet is so simple and makes a beautiful lasting gift, or decor for your windowsills. I know my girls would be so obsessed with these, they might even remember to water the succulents once in awhile, ha.
For more inspiration, we’re also blown away by these intricate daisy-eyed sugar skull planters at Plaid Online. Wow.
Related: Gorgeous sugar skull coloring pages for Día de los Muertos.
Sugar Skull Coloring Pages
We were so excited to find these wonderful sugar skull printable coloring pages from from Etsy shop thaneeya several years back. For just $8, or about the price of a coloring book, you get 21 amazing original designs ready for printing and coloring. Print as many as you want, and decorate an entire door with them, turn them into placemats, or hang them like bunting around the kid’s room.
Sugar Skull Cookie Decorating
Wow, these homemade sugar skull cookies look incredible! We figured they might be too hard to do with kids, but checking out the simple instructions at Sugar Spice & Glitter, as well as her really helpful printable template and step-by-step photos, it can be done! Up to you whether you go with a white or black frosted background.
Balloon Sugar Skulls
A cardboard base, balloons, and markers are all you need to create this festive sugar skull balloon craft from Happy Thought. I love the simplicity of what she’s able to create with just a white balloon and a black marker, but you could make these colorful too. And no doubt your kids will want to!
Sugar Skull Painted Rocks
Painted rocks are such a popular craft with kids these days so I immediately sparked to these painted rock sugar skulls via Color Made Happy (also at top). She’s got a really specific list of supplies to help make yours come out this beautiful, and even has a post about the best supplies to use for painted rocks. But obviously the number one most fun item of all — at least as far as your kids are concerned — will be the puffy paint.
Sugar Skull Halloween Pumpkins
Another fun sugar skull craft idea is to gather those pumpkins you may have picked at a local farm and turn them into painted sugar skull pumpkins like this beauty from Casa Artelexia. Depending on how intricate you want to get with the skull, this craft can be adapted for all ages — or you create the black outlines and let the kids go crazy with the colored paints or markers.
If you want to get more detailed and intricate, you have to check out Brit+Co which offers up some great design inspiration for sugar skull Sharpie pumpkins. They’ve even got some free printable sugar skull templates and practice sheets for download, which are so helpful.
Related: 21 of the coolest free Halloween printables for kids. Because we’re all for fun that costs zero dollars.
Sugar Skull Paper Snowflakes
Who says snowflakes can only be made in winter? These gorgeously intricate sugar skull cut paper snowflakes, or uh, skullflakes, are big on the wow factor, but easy to make with the pattern found at Crafty Lady Abby.
Sugar Skull Paper Collage
I adore how this sugar skull collage craft idea from Modern Art 4 Kids combines the Dia de los Muertos tradition of sugar skulls with representations of famed Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Of course, your paper collage sugar skulls don’t have to be modeled after anyone in particular, but what a lovely melding of tradition, art and history!
Sugar Skull 3D Masks
The former art teacher in me is crazy about these 3D paper mâché sugar skull masks from Made by Toya. She’s got a free skull mask template for download and printing on her site — or if paper mâché intimidates you, you could even skip that messy part and have the kids just color cardboard mask as is.
Sugar Skull Lanterns
Light up the night, or just your front porch, with these Sugar Skull Lanterns that you can create with the help of the instructions at Growing Up Bilingual. I’m so glad to see the supply list is so basic — and that little ones don’t need to mess around with anything more dangerous than glow sticks to get them glowing.
Find lots more about Dia de Los Muertos from National Geographic Kids that you can share and discuss while you create.