Mexican Paper Marigolds for “Day of the Dead”

“Day of the Dead” is a tra­di­tional Mex­i­can hol­i­day for hon­or­ing ances­tors and loved ones who have died, and is cel­e­brated each year on Novem­ber 1st & 2nd. This fes­tive, family-centered hol­i­day cel­e­brates the cycle of life and high­lights the Mex­i­can peo­ples’ gen­eral accep­tance, rather than fear, of death. Col­or­ful marigolds are a reg­u­lar fea­ture adorn­ing the altars or “ofren­das” set up for hon­or­ing loved ones. These “faux” marigolds are super-easy and FUN to make! You’ll be amazed by how great they turn out!


  • one sheet of orange tis­sue paper per flower
  • one green pipe cleaner per flower
  • scis­sors

1. Fold the long edge of your tis­sue paper in half, so that the short ends meet.
2. Fold it in half again, the same direc­tion. You should have a long, skinny rec­tan­gle.
3. Now, with one of the short ends fac­ing you, accor­dion fold this rec­tan­gle into folds that are about ½” to 1” wide.
4. Next, twist a pipe cleaner around the mid­dle of your folded accor­dion, twist­ing the ends into a stem.
5. Cut about ¼” off each end, then cut a “V” shape into each of the ends.
6. Pull out your accor­dion so that it forms a cir­cle.
7. Care­fully pull up the first layer of tis­sue paper as far up as it will go, all around the cir­cle.
8. Repeat with each layer until your flower is fluffy and full!

For a fes­tive decor for any occa­sion, try cre­at­ing lots of flow­ers in a vari­ety of col­ors. You can even put two halves together to make spheres and hang them out­side or from the ceiling!

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11 Responses to Mexican Paper Marigolds for “Day of the Dead”

  1. Travis November 1, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    How big is your 1 piece of tis­sue paper?

  2. TeachKidsArt November 1, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

    Just the stan­dard 20“x30”, straight out of the package!

  3. Anonymous November 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    thanks. Great blog by the way. I’m a K-4 Span­ish teacher in Santa Bar­bara and these projects are great.

  4. some random 7th grader October 26, 2013 at 6:27 am #

    So could you do this with­out the tis­sue paper and use reg­u­lar col­ored paper?

    • Cheryl Trowbridge October 26, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

      I actu­ally haven’t tried it with reg­u­lar paper. I think it would be too thick to fold eas­ily and would be really hard to pull the lay­ers apart to fluff it out. But why not try it if you’re curi­ous? Let us know how it goes!!


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