Monday, December 15, 2014

Tutorial: Fast & Easy Papel Picado Banner

Las Posadas start tomorrow and I don't even have any decorations up! So I decided to throw together this simple tutorial for fast and easy papel picado. It's a good activity for kids 8 years old and up. 

Papel picado is the Mexican folk art of paper cutting. Traditionally, elaborate designs are cut into the layered paper using chisels and other paper cutting tools. This project uses colored cardstock and paper punches that are easy for children to manipulate safely. To make your own miniature papel picado banner, here are some simple directions.

  • Colored cardstock in festive colors
  • Punches with different designs (My favorites are the Martha Stewart square punches. I can usually find them on super sale at Michaels or TJ Maxx.)
  • Decorative scrapbooking scissors (optional)
  • Yarn or ribbon


Cut your cardstock into 4” x 6” rectangular sheets or use pre-cut pieces.

Remove the top portion of your center punch, and center one sheet on the base plate.

Next replace the top. You don't have to worry about centering it; the magnets will pull it into place. It is helpful to hold the cardstock in place, though, with one finger as the motion of the punch sliding into place can pull the paper off to the side.

Then your child/student can simply push down on the top! It should punch very easily.

Use smaller punches to decorate the edges. Optional: Use wavy scissors to make a decorative edge along the sides and bottom, or use a decorative edge punch. 

TIP! Save your punched out pieces for colorful confetti for your cascarones

You may want to trim the top piece off so that all of the pieces of paper are a uniform size and to create a small strip for sliding the ribbon through. At the top, use a small round or rectangular punch at each corner, about ¼” from the top.

Cut a long piece of yarn or ribbon. The length will depend on how many papel picados you make, but for 10 sheets cut a ribbon about 77 inches long to allow for ½ an inch in between each piece, plus an additional 3 inches at each end to create a loop for hanging.

Thread the ribbon through the two holes at the top of each papel picado piece.

Make a loop at each end and hang!

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