Monday, May 3, 2010

Papel Picado's Tutorial for Cinco de Mayo

I have always been drawn to the Mexican Culture, maybe it was those trips to Tijuana as a 
child and teen. The market's were exciting and terrifying all at the same time. I will never 
forget the face of the little boy singing for money or the Mamma slinging her babies. What an impact those images have had on me. It's very cool that I started Modern June out by 
selling oilcloth totes in a local farmers market.

So, in celebration on Cinco de Mayo, I have a very simple project for you! We're going to make Papel Picado's out of oilcloth. This is a fun and easy project that you and the kids can do together. Even the self-proclaimed "I'm not crafty" peeps can get in on this action.

First a little history... 
Colors schemes selected for papel picado are frequently linked with specific festivities. Sky blue or pink and white are commonly chosen for celebrations in honor of the Virgin Mary, yellow and white for patron saints. Vibrant pink, orange and purple are the key tones employed for ofrendas (offerings) associated with the Day of the Dead. Shades of purple are also widely used at Easter. The colors of the Mexican flag--red, white and green--are set aside for venerating the nation's patroness, La Virgen de Guadalupe, as well as for commemorating Independence Day, September 16. Rainbow hues are appropriate for Christmas and non-religious festivities.

Let's get started...

What you need:

  • lace oilcloth
  • cutting board
  • rotary cutting blade or pinking shears
  • hole punch and/or leather punch 
  • exacto knife 
  • foil (used to sharpen the hole punch)
  • Gnome (optional) 

1) Cut your flag to 12" by 17" with a scalloped rotary cutter blade or use pinking shears for a fun edge.

2) Start by working on one half of the flag and then use one of the following cutting methods to start your design. Find an interesting  place in the lace print to start cutting, I focused on the cutting out the white and leaving the red design.

use a blade 
use a hole punch
use a pair of snips

3) Once you have a good start on the first side you want to fold it in half so you can match up your cut outs. You want to end up with a mirror image.
4) Now start to cut out the other half. This is a bit tricky, the print is not always a exact mirror image so you'll want to cut from the printed side of the oilcloth so you get into the white spaces. It's a bit back and forth at this time, fold find the cut out and then flip it open to find the print and then cut. Repeat until you are happy with your papel picado.

How fun is this?  It's very easy,  I do hope you will try this out. If you do please send me a link to your project so I can share it in our Show and Tell segments.

Whatever the occasion, papel picado invariably transmits the mirthful message: ¡Viva la Fiesta! ¡Viva Mexico!


heather.m said...

I love this idea! So simple, yet beautiful and SOOOO functional. Thanks!

Any thoughts on using oilcloth as a grill cover?

Kelly said...

Oilcloth Grill Covers are very fun! I have one on my own grill.

I do have a few suggestions, oilcloth can fade in the sun so don't do it if it's out in full sun.

Go for a print that will hide dirt and grim, my white cherry cover looks pretty messy at the moment!

The blue hibiscus or red fruity will be my next cover choice and we will move the grill to a shady spot, lessons learned!

heather-martelle said...

great! thanks so much for the tips from your experience. :)

Quilt Inspiration said...

Although we just discovered this post today, the timing is perfect for Dia de los Muertos. We posted a link on our sidebar at Quilt Inspiration. Thank you for this clever idea!