How to Make Papel Picado? 6 Quick Steps
Crafts are a rich and diverse way of artistic expression, encompassing a wide array of techniques and traditions from around the globe. Among the colorful tapestry of crafts, one particular art form that stands out for its intricate beauty and cultural significance is “Papel Picado.” This Mexican craft, known for its delicate and intricate paper-cutting, is used for various purposes, from Valentine’s Day to the Day of the Dead celebration. However, the main problem arises when people ask, “How to make Papel Picado?”
In this article, we will delve into everything you need to know about Papel Picado, from how to make Papel Picado to its history and modern-day applications.
What is Papel Picado?
Papel Picado, translated as “perforated paper” in Spanish, is a traditional Mexican folk art that involves the intricate cutting of decorative designs into colorful tissue paper or other thin materials. These cut paper sheets are often used to create vibrant banners, flags, and decorations for various celebrations and festivals, adding a distinctive touch to Mexican cultural events and traditions.
History of Papel Picado
In early Mexico, Aztec artisans displayed their creativity by chiseling intricate spirit figures into the bark of mulberry and fig trees, resulting in a rough paper known as amate. Over time, this early custom evolved into the exquisite art form now recognized as papel picado. However, it wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that Mexican communities were introduced to tissue paper, a new material that would transform the craft.
Hacienda stores provided access to tissue paper, and artisans began adapting it to their artistic traditions. Today, the art of papel picado involves layering 40 to 50 sheets of tissue paper and delicately punching intricate designs into them using a Fierrito, a specialized chisel.
How to Make Papel Picado?
The process of “how to make Papel Picado?” is simple if you carefully follow the given steps:
Step 1: Collect Necessary Supplies
Firstly, you must collect all the necessary supplies that help you in “how to make Papel Picado?” Some of these are:
- Colorful tissue paper
- Ballpoint pen
- Clear tape
- Decorative paper edge scissors (Optional)
- Binder clip or clothespin (Optional)
- Hole Punch (Optional)
Step 2: Fold the Tissue Paper
The second step of how to make Papel Picado involves taking sheets of tissue paper of the same color and folding them in half to create a rectangle. The number of sheets you use will determine the thickness and opacity of your Papel Picado.
Step 3: Transfer Your Design
Place your chosen template or design on top of the folded tissue paper. You can draw the design freehand, use a stencil, or print a design to guide you. Make sure the design fits within the folded paper’s dimensions.
Step 4: Cut the Design
The next step of how to make Papel Picado is where the real artistry comes in. Carefully cut out the design using your scissors. Be meticulous, especially with intricate details, to maintain the design’s beauty. Take your time and make precise cuts.
Step 5: Unfold and Repeat
Gently unfold the tissue paper to reveal your cut design. You get to create multiple sheets with the same design or vary the patterns and colors for a more vibrant effect. Each unfolded sheet will be a unique piece of your Papel Picado.
Step 6: Attach and Display
To create the traditional banner or garland, use a small punch or chisel to make holes along the edges of each Papel Picado piece. Ensure the holes are evenly spaced and aligned to string them together seamlessly. Use a thread or yarn to string the pieces, connecting them into a banner.
How to Make Flower Design Papel Picado Step by Step
Here’s the procedure for flower Papel Picado DIY:
- Measure and cut the tissue paper to your desired size.
- Fold the tissue paper in half.
- Draw your chosen design using a ballpoint pen along the folded edges.
- Carefully cut out the design with sharp scissors, ensuring you cut through all the layers of tissue paper.
- Unfold the paper to reveal your intricate design, and add any additional designs if desired.
- Fold the tissue paper in half again.
- Use a hole puncher to create a decorative border for the banner.
- Your Papel Picado banner is complete, featuring a beautiful flower design in the center.
Popular Papel Picado Designs
Papel Picado’s designs can vary widely, and they often reflect the occasion or theme of the celebration. Some popular Papel Picado designs include:
- Flowers: Floral designs are one of the most common and versatile motifs in Papel Picado. They can be simple or intricate and are often used for various celebrations like the Day of the Dead, and General fiestas are also among the smart tips to make your wedding stand out.
- Animals: Papel Picado can feature animal motifs like birds, butterflies, or animals native to Mexico. These designs add a lively and natural touch to the decorations.
- Religious Symbols: Papel Picado is often used in religious ceremonies and festivities, and it may incorporate crosses, angels, or other religious symbols.
- Flags and Patriotic Symbols: Papel Picado can include national flags, eagles, and other patriotic symbols, making it a significant part of Mexican Independence Day celebrations.
- Folklore and Folk Heroes: Designs related to Mexican folklore and iconic figures like the legendary Lucha Libre (wrestling) masks can also be found in Papel Picado.
- Hearts and Love: Heart-shaped designs are common in Papel Picado used for weddings and romantic celebrations, symbolizing love and unity.
Applications of Papel Picado
The applications of Papel Picado are:
- Festive Decorations: Papel Picado is widely used to decorate homes, streets, and public spaces during various celebrations and festivals. It adds a colorful and vibrant atmosphere to events like Dia de los Muertos, Mexican Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo, weddings, and birthdays.
- Religious Celebrations: It is often employed in religious ceremonies and processions, such as those honoring saints or during Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Mexico.
- Cultural Celebrations: Beyond Mexico, Papel Picado is utilized in various Hispanic and Mexican-American cultural celebrations in the United States and other countries.
- Home Decor: Individuals often use Papel Picado as part of their home decor for making DIY butterfly designs or cards, hanging it on walls or windows, or as a backdrop for special occasions.
Why is Papel Picado Used for the Day of the Dead?
Papel Picado is used for the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) to symbolize the celebration’s colorful and festive nature, while the cut-paper designs often include Calaveras (skulls) and other motifs associated with honoring and remembering the deceased.
It adds a vibrant and decorative element to the Altars and Ofrendas, helping families commune and pay homage to their loved ones in a joyful way. Papel picado’s delicate nature allows it to signal the arrival of loved ones on the Day of the Dead as it gracefully moves in the breeze.
Papel Picado is a captivating art form that transcends time, weaving together the rich tapestry of Mexican culture, history, and creativity. Its intricate designs, vibrant colors, and cultural significance have made it an enduring symbol of celebration, remembrance, and artistic expression. The process of how to make Papel Picado is simple as long as you are well aware of basic steps like folding and tissue paper or Mexican paper cutting.
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