Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Celebrate with papel picado!

by Nathalie
Whether you are planning a little fiesta for Cinco de Mayo, a birthday at the park or simply a brunch on the patio, add a fun touch to your party by hanging homemade papel picado! I have always loved these traditional Mexican cut-paper banners and only recently figured out how easy they are to make! I was lucky to find this great book at my library:
I recommend it as it gives clear basic explanations and patterns. It is geared towards children so it is perfect for beginners. I made my first papel picado today thanks to this book and I will try to show you how easy they are to create:

Tissue papers in bright colors (found mine at Michael's)
Good scissors
String and glue stick

Lots of tissue papers come in 26x20inches and the first thing to do is to cut them in half to work with sheets of about 13x20.
Once you have your half page, fold a 1" flap on top which will be used to hang your papel picado.
 Then fold in half making sure that you keep your 1" fold on top visible to you. It is not important that the corners match but make sure that the edges align
Fold again in half by bringing the center fold to the right edge
Fold the bottom towards the top without overlapping the 1" fold
 Bring the bottom right corner to the upper left so that the edges line up as seen below:
Then fold once more by bringing the right edge to meet the left edge, making a cone shape:
 Then cut a pattern like the one I used below, others that you can find online by searching "papel picado patterns" or "papel picado templates" or make your own. I used four templates from the book for my garland.
After opening carefully, you can cut some decorative edges on the bottom. As the designs are doubled on each sheet, you can cut them in half before arranging them and gluing them on your string. I arranged mine on the floor according to their colors and designs before gluing the string into the top folds.
If you have ever cut paper snowflakes, you will find these to be pretty similar. 
I hope to have inspired you to give them a try! Have fun!

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