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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