The Mexican tradition of paper crafting dates back to pre-Hispanic times when the Aztecs made paper from tree bark, called Amate. With the Spanish conquest brightly colored tissue paper or Papel de China arrived on trading boats from the Phillipines and was used in paper crafts.
Pinatas, papel picado and paper flowers are important in the festivities of Cinco de Mayo and Dia de los Muertos and are also used to decorate birthday parties, weddings and baby showers amongst other celebrations.
From the beginning of Happythought we have been inspired by the beauty and simplicity of these Mexican paper crafts. We have really enjoyed trying our hand at creating our own, with satisfying results!
Now we have put together four of our favorite paper craft tutorials for you try in one book. The techniques we have used are not always traditional - the projects are designed to be easy to make and use materials that you hopefully already have at home or in your craft box. The crafts are also designed with little fingers in mind - most of the activities are easy enough for a child to complete, with a little adult supervision!
How to make a paper star
These stunning ornaments are partly inspired by Mexican star pinatas and partly by the beautiful Moravian tin star lanterns made by Mexican artisans. You could also attach your star decorations to a string of fairy lights to make a garland of teeny-tiny star lanterns. We have provided three colorful templates for you to use, or why not create your own using the black and white template as a starting point?
How to make paper flowers
These simple paper flowers are fun to make and so easy that the whole family can get involved.They can be used to decorate a party or Cinco de Mayo celebration, arranged in vases or as a centerpiece at a wedding, or placed on an ofrenda for Dia de los Muertos.You could also attach one or two flowers to a bobby pin or hair band and create a decorative hair piece!
How to make papel picado
Papel picado means 'punched' or 'perforated' paper, and traditionally papel picado are made from colored tissue paper and cut using chisels.We wanted to simplify the perforated paper technique so that you could create papel picado with household scissors, and after a bit of experimentation we came up with this easy method of producing your own stunning papel picado. We made ours using crepe paper as it comes in lovely, vibrant colors and we found it much easier to handle than tissue paper, which tends to tear.
How to make a mini pinata
Ever since we moved our family to South America, we have all fallen head-over-heels for piñatas, so it wasn't long until we felt compelled to try making one of our own.Traditionally, you beat a pinata with a stick until it exploded and all the yummy, shiny contents fell to the ground. Now days, as a safer option, pinatas often come with a string which you pull down on to release the contents. We wanted to make a fully functioning mini pinata, so ours too has a pull string. It's been tried and tested by our children, so we can report that it works beautifully!
If you would like to use the templates shown in the tutorial photos they are all free with the book to download from the Happythought website. We have also included templates in this book which you can photocopy and scale up to use for your projects, copy by hand or use as inspiration for your own designs.
Kindle - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MJHL380
Paperback - http://www.amazon.com/Mexican-paper-crafts-decorations-Happythought/dp/1499685629
Kindle - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MWD7V96
Paperback - http://www.amazon.com/artesanias-papel-mejicanas-decoraciones-artesanales/dp/1500899410