Día de los Muertos Calavera Collage

And the Día de los Muertos festivities just keep going and going, right? It's not even noon yet and I have another art project you can do that is super fun and creative, too.

I promised I would share a Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera calavera collage and here it is. If you don't know what a collage is, it is simply a cut paper assemblage. What I love about collage is, you can do anything with some colored paper and scissors. No wonder Henri Matisse called it painting with scissors!

I have bins and bins filled with multi-colored cardstock, paper and tissue paper. Most of it is scraps from other collages I've done. I just hate to throw anything away. Yes, I am that teacher. But really, any cut paper that is left over is perfect to be used again in another collage. Hence, my rather large collection.

So, again I ask you...who needs paint when you have paper and scissors?

I decided to try this collage with my eleven year old son, Sol. It started out as a couple of skeletons, or calaveras, but somewhere down the line it changed to Frida Kahlo (my muse) and her beloved Diego Rivera. Frida is easily recognizable in almost any art medium but Diego was a bit more of a challenge since his most recognizable trait, his large body, can't really be duplicated on a skeleton!

  • You will need multiple sheets of cardstock in lots of different colors. The size is dependent on the size of our overall collage.
  • You will need one large sheet of paper for your base. We chose a 12 x 12 inch sheet in blue.
  • Sharp scissors
  • Glue stick. Anything else will cause a huge mess because liquid glue takes forever to dry. More experienced students can use rubber cement, but make sure you have proper ventilation. That stuff stinks!
  • If you have older students, consider using tweezers to help shape the smaller details. My son was frustrated by some of the small cut pieces of paper sticking to his fingers, which got lots of glue stick on them.
  • When working in collage, start with your large, basic pieces as your foundation. Sol lightly traced his skeleton shape with a pencil before cutting it out. Everything else, we just eyeballed.
  • I helped my son with the finer details of this collage, such as Frida's hair, dress and her jewelry, and Diego's shirt.

If you give your students consistent guidance while they are working, their finished projects will turn out amazing! I say "consistent guidance" because there are always students who want to rush through the project. Or there are those who "don't know what to do".  If you take your students through the steps of laying down their foundation shape, then they are more likely willing to continue working on building their skeletons. Sometimes, a blank piece of paper is just too daunting.

Hope you have a blast creating this Día de los Muertos collage. We certainly did!

The artwork above was created by my eleven year old son (with a little help from mom).

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  1. WoW THaTs AmAZiiNg!<3
    iTssO cuTEeee!

  2. I would LOVE to get permission to use this fabulous art as my muse for a an art quilt!!!

    1. Yes, of course! Please send me a pic--I'd love to see it finished. pearmama@gmail.com

  3. I'm very slow, it could be a year but I will certainly send you a picture!!! thank you for your fast response =)

  4. Denise, me too!?? I am friends with Janet. My daughter's birthday is Nov. 2nd, so she has always received Dia de los Muertos items from me. Check out my blog: http://runandsewuilts.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/dia-de-los-muertos-quilt/ I have used my children's art for quilts throughout the year. The latest is http://runandsewuilts.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/its-a-stretch-quilt-challenge/
    Please say yes to me too!

  5. quick question! What comes with the Day of the Dead lesson plan, specifically?

    1. You'll receive the history of Dia de Los Muertos, some fun ideas for the classroom (food, music, books, videos, links) and six original coloring pages for you to use at your own discretion. Thanks for asking, Megan!

  6. Nice art! I'm from Mexico but i don't see a high quality in a work, but you work is awesome! I share it on fb, if you can visit my blog too! Cortes de cabello para cara redonda

  7. AWESOME!!! Are there templates for the shapes by any chance?

  8. Fabulous. Can you please send me the history of Dia de Los Muertos, some fun ideas for the classroom (food, music, books, videos, links) and six original coloring pages too?
    Gracias por todo. joanna.humphrey@btinternet.com


Artistically speaking....

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