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While interest in Day of the Dead has grown in the United States in recent years, the celebration has always been a part of my family’s tradition. We see it as a particularly special, family time. We do things like make crafts, such as these Day of the Dead lanterns, used for displays to remember those we’ve lost. We also prepare meals, play music, and share stories among many other activities.
Thanks to the great folks at Juicy Juice®, whose products are made from real juice with sweetness that comes only from the fruit, for making this 100% Family Time post possible. As always, my comments, opinions, and drive to have more family time are my own.
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You might have noticed I called it a celebration, rather than a party. This is not to say we don’t enjoy ourselves, we always do, and Day of the Dead is no exception. In fact, from the outside, it may look very much like a party. It certainly has all the elements. We play festive music, decorate with colorful crafts, and even picnic at the cemetery. It’s just more than a party, and comes with a reverent, sacred, family vibe.
RELATED POST: My Son’s Day of the Dead Photo Essay
Because of our tradition, during this time of year, we try to make a special effort to spend a little 100% family time together with no distractions, electronic or otherwise, even if for just a few precious moments. With school back in session and after-school activities going full bore, balancing work, school, and extra-curricular activities, while still finding time together, takes some effort, but it’s worth it.
RELATED POST: Day of the Dead Displays in Mexico
This craft fits perfectly into our Day of the Dead family tradition as well as Hispanic Heritage Month, and it works great as a 100% family time activity, too. We particularly like it because we are reusing materials already in our home, which saves both time and resources, so we can maximize our time together.
Plus, it’s just the sort of thing you might find in Mexico on Day of the Dead. The purple crepe paper flowers look just like a flower that a Katrina might wear (She’s the skeleton in the fancy gown and hat). And the foil juice pouches are reminiscent of a popular craft style called repujado in Mexico.
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For this craft I’m reusing Juicy Juice® Splashers pouches, check out the easy instructions below.
Day of the Dead Lanterns
- 18-24 Juicy Juice® Splashers pouches (they come in different flavors), emptied and washed (Emptied the fun way! Parents can feel good about it because all of the brand’s products contain no high fructose corn syrup, no cane sugar and no artificial sweeteners. You need 18 pouches, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few more just in case!)
- A circular mold, it can be a small glass, cookie cutter, or something similar, check out the photo
- 1 Exacto knife or scissors
- Cutting board or another firm surface
- Cellophane tape
- Day of the Dead illustrations, mine are courtesy of my talented friend Dariela Cruz from MamiTalks (she also designed my logo :))
- Mod Podge
- Foam brush
- hole punch
- Colorful twine
- 1 Tissue Pom Pom Garland with 6 poms, you can find them at Dollar Tree stores
- LED lights (optional)
Take one pouch, set the circular mold on top of it, and using the exacto knife, cut around it. If you don’t have an exacto knife, you can use scissors, just mark the circle with a pen first. Repeat with all the pouches. This circular space will allow light to come through, if you decide to add the LED lights.
Place three pouches side by side, printed side down. Cut a piece of tape slightly longer than the height of the pouch and attach two pouches together. Repeat to attach the third pouch. Make sure the pouches are not overlapping, because that will make it hard to make the triangular shape. Finally, cut a third piece of tape and stick it to one of the edges. Fold the other edge to form the triangle and tape it together. Repeat until you have 6 lanterns.
Using the foam brush spread a thin layer of Mod Podge around the circle in one pouch, take one of the illustrations and paste it on top of the circle. Add a thicker layer of Mod Podge over the whole illustration to keep it in place. Repeat until you are done with all the lanterns. Let dry outside for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, while they are drying out, make the flowers. The pom poms generally resemble a rose, so to make it more marigold like, make a couple of cuts on each side with the scissors. See photo.
Carefully separate all the layers until you form the marigold.
Using the hole punch, make a small hole in the center top of each of the three foil pouches of each lantern.
Cut a piece of twine long enough to go through each of the three holes. This is how the lantern will hang. Make a knot at the top. See photos.
Tie each lantern to each flower.
Finally, add the LED lights if you like.
Display indoors or outdoors, on the fence, on a tree or on your own Día de Muertos display. That’s it!
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Enjoy you time with family and happy Hispanic Heritage Month!