Tamales and Roses - How to make Papel Picados

The public performances of our show, Tamales and Roses, closed on March 17th. We’re so grateful to all who came and got to experience it with us and we’re excited for the elementary school students that will get to see it during our tour in the following weeks. As a parting gift we wanted to give everyone a simple way to turn any party into a fiesta! Below are directions on how to make a traditional Latino type of decoration.

This decoration is called a papel picado, which means perforated paper. In order to make these you will need the following:

  • Tissue paper (8 ½ x 11 or something similar)
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Tape

Step one: Fold a sheet of paper in half twice.

Step two: Cut, as desired, along the bottom edge. You’ll notice that I cut a round shape on the bottom and then folded the paper in half again so as to cut a diamond shape into the bottom.

Step three: Unfold the paper once and then fold it upwards, so that it’s folded into quarters.

Step four: From here, with the paper folded into quarters, cut designs into the paper just like you would with a paper snowflake. Be careful not to cut all the way through the folded edges or else your papel picado will fall apart after you open it.

Just have fun and experiment with different types of folds and cuts. You can try with different sizes of paper as well; I just used regular paper size because it was convenient. But however you do it, once you feel like you’ve made enough cuts, open up your papel picado and see how your design looks!

Step five: Once you’ve designed you papel picados they are displayed by being attached to string and hung on a wall or ceiling.