Mexican Paper Decorations

Mexican paper decorations are fantastically cheap and easy to make, and are also surprisingly good for sprucing up a room to give it a wonderfully celebratory atmosphere. Read our guide for more facts & information…

Mexican paper decoration, or papel picado, is an age-old folk art that uses sheets of colorful tissue paper to create vibrant pieces that are traditionally strung up in windows or hung as banners. Patterns and pictures are cut into the paper in varying degrees of complexity, from simple symmetrical designs that can be done at home, to incredibly detailed works of art that are simply jaw dropping to look at. Often, several panels will be linked together in different colors to achieve the festive atmosphere, and panels will often have scalloped or frilled edges for a truly joyful look. Often, the top edge of each panel is straight edged, so that it can be glued to string or a flexible rod for hanging. These types of decorations are also common for Mexican weddings, and are usually featured in white for this occasion.

DIY Mexican Paper Decorations

Making these decorations yourself can be a fun and relatively easy process. For a symmetrical pattern, the concept is much the same as a paper snowflake. Snip diamond and moon shapes out of a piece of tissue folded in various ways, and voila! You can also use craft punches and craft knives to cut particular shapes out of the tissue. For more complex patterns or pictures, it may be an idea to draw it first on a separate piece of paper, keeping in mind that all the “pieces” have to be joining for it to stay on the paper without falling out. Use the tissue paper and a pencil to trace the pattern you have made, and then carefully cut it out using sharp scissors or a craft knife.  Craft scissors with scalloped or frilled edges may also be very handy for the sides and bottom edges for a truly Mexican finish. Pictures that feature authentic Mexican motifs, such as chili, sombreros and cacti, will also add rustic charm to the decorations that is uniquely Mexican.

Custom Made Designs

It is quite easy to order custom made designs, especially online. They are relatively inexpensive considering the craftsmanship that is involved in making some of the more intricate decorations.  Custom made designs can include such personal touches as people’s names, dates, or even caricatures. Themed decorations are also popular, including Halloween, Christmas, wedding or Mexican themes. The paper decoration style can also be ordered made in plastic, so that it is much more durable, and can be used annually for occasions such as Christmas.

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