Sugar Skull Pumpkins: Easy Day of the Dead Painted Pumpkin Craft

As Dia de los Muertos draws near, I’m excited to share one of my favorite and easy Dia de los Muertos crafts. I will be sharing how to make these super cute Day of the Dead painted pumpkins! If you’re looking for easy Day of the Dead craft for kids, these Sugar Skull Pumpkins are a great option.  

Easy Sugar skull pumpkin craft

Dia de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, is a vibrant Mexican tradition that honors and celebrates the lives of those who have passed away. A central and joyful element of this tradition is the sugar skull, or calavera, often adorned with intricate designs. In this simple Dia de Muertos craft, we’ll show you how to transform ordinary pumpkins into eye-catching Day of the Dead decorations. Whether you’re seeking an easy Day of the Dead craft for kids as part of your family’s or classroom’s Dia de los Muertos activities or looking for a fun Day of the Dead DIY project for yourself this is a great option. 

Day of the Dead painted pumpkins

Crafting Beautiful Sugar Skull Pumpkins

Dia de los Muertos is a time for celebrating the memory of our loved ones, and there’s no better way to do that than by crafting stunning Day of the Dead pumpkins. These colorful sugar skull pumpkins can serve as a wonderful addition to your Day of the Dead altar, a festive centerpiece for your Day of the Dead party, or charming fall decor for your home. With our step-by-step guide, we’ll make this Dia de los Muertos craft simple and enjoyable for everyone. So, gather your crafting supplies and get ready to transform ordinary pumpkins into extraordinary works of art. 

Day of the Dead pumpkin craft to add to your Dia de los Muertos altar

Here you will find detailed instructions and list the materials you’ll need to decorate painted pumpkins with eye-catching sugar skull designs. Whether you’re new to Day of the Dead crafts or looking for a fun Dia de los Muertos activity for kids, our easy tutorial will help you craft stunning and easy sugar skull pumpkins that celebrate the vibrant traditions of this meaningful holiday. 

Dia de los Muertos painted pumpkins Day of the Dead craft for kids

Materials Needed to Make Day of the Dead Pumpkins:

Before we embark on this creative and fun project, let’s gather our artistic materials. In the spirit of celebrating Day of the Dead, we’ll be transforming pumpkins into vibrant sugar skull masterpieces. Each material plays a crucial role in bringing your pumpkin sugar skull to life. So, let’s take a look at what you’ll need:

Painted Day of the Dead pumpkins

Choose The Right Pumpkins

  • Pumpkins: You can get natural pumpkins from you favorite pumpkin patch and make it a family fall activity. You can also buy fake pumpkins, the advantage of artificial pumpkins is that these will last longer and you can use these again next year when you bring out your Day of the Dead decorations.  Choose an assortment of pumpkins of various sizes and shapes to add diversity to your sugar skull designs.

Materials for Painting your Sugar Skull Pumpkins

  • Acrylic Paint: You will need lots of white acrylic paint to paint the skulls and then you will be using different bright colors
  • Brushes: The trusty companions for any painter. Brushes come in various sizes and shapes, allowing you to add intricate details or broad strokes to your sugar skull.
  • Reference Images of Sugar Skulls: Look for some inspiration, search for sugar skull images on the internet so that you can create your own designs. 
  • Paper and pencil: You will need paper and pencil to make your own designs which you will later transfer onto your pumpkins.
  • Transfer paper: Transfer paper will let you transfer your design easily onto your pumpkin. 
  • Acrylic sealant: This will set your design so that it doesn’t chip and lasts longer.

Accessories For Your Day of the Dead Painted Pumpkins

  • Flowers: For this project I used natural Day of the Dead flowers including marigolds and chrysanthemums in different colors including yellow, orange and white and pom pom chrysanthemums in pink and purple colors. Natural marigolds are by far my favorites as they have a greater symbolism related to Día De Los Muertos.
  • Mini straw hats: you can add other fun accessories to your pumpkins like hats. I got some mini Mexican sombreros for these and they look really cute.
  • Adhesive: if you use natural flowers you will need floral adhesive to attach them to the pumpkins. Floral adhesive, also known as floral glue, is typically waterproof and safe for use with fresh flowers. If you are using artificial flowers and artificial pumpkins you can use hot glue or a craft glue, such as E6000 to attach them to your pumpkin. If you are using artificial flowers and a real pumpkin using glue dots can be a good option. 

How to Decorate Pumpkins with Sugar Skull Designs

It’s time for the fun part: painting your sugar skull designs onto your Day of the Dead pumpkins and accessorizing them with flowers and hats. Here is the step-by-step process for making these fun sugar skull painted pumpkins:

How to make Day of the Dead painted pumpkins

Select Your Pumpkins:

  • Choose pumpkins of various sizes and shapes to create an interesting display.
  • Ensure the pumpkins are clean and dry before starting

Create your sugar skull designs:

  • Using the sugar skull design images as reference and inspiration create your own sugar skull designs on a piece of paper. 
  • Don’t forget to incorporate small dots, swirls, and other decorative elements.
  • Have fun and get creative and make a few different designs.

Transfer your designs to the pumpkins:

  • Using the transfer paper transfer your designs onto your pumpkin. Tape the transfer paper to the pumpkin then tape the paper with your design on top of the transfer paper. 
  • Start by tracing the sugar skull’s basic outline on the pumpkin’s front. This can include the skull shape, eye sockets, nose, and mouth.
  • Using a pencil trace over the rest of your design applying a bit of pressure so that your design is transferred onto your pumpkin.

Paint the Sugar Skull:

  • Begin by filling in the skull’s shape with white paint.
  • Use reference images to guide you in adding intricate designs, such as flowers, swirls, and patterns, to the skull’s surface.
  • Paint the eye sockets, nose, and mouth in black or in your desired colors.
  • Experiment with different colors when adding the intricate designs such as flowers, swirls and patterns to the skull’s design to achieve the vibrant Day of the Dead look.

Fine-Tune and Touch Up:

  • Use fine brushes for intricate details and touch-ups.
  • Correct any smudges or mistakes with white or black paint as needed.

Seal the Design:

  • Once your pumpkin is dry, seal the design with a clear, protective acrylic sealer to preserve the colors and prevent chipping.

Day of the Dead painted sugar skull pumpkin craft

Accessorize your sugar skull pumpkins:

  • Choose a variety of flowers in different colors. Attach these flowers to the top of your pumpkins using the glue. 
  • If you are using natural flowers apply a small amount of floral adhesive to the back of each flower and press it onto the pumpkin. Hold it in place for a few seconds to allow the adhesive to set. 
  • Use craft glue or hot glue for artificial flowers.
  • To adhere the tiny straw hats use craft glue or hot glue. If you are using a natural pumpkin you can use glue dots instead.

Other great Day of the Dead crafts:

Check out these other great Day of the Dead crafts that are easy to make and perfect for kids at home or in the classroom. And be sure to check out these Day of the Dead recipes for kids to make on Dia de los Muertos, they’re perfect to celebrate Dia de los Muertos with kids.

Day Of The Dead Piñata Garland Craft

If you are looking for festive Day of Dead decorations this sugar skull piñata garland craft is easy to make and so much fun. Because these mini pull piñatas can be filled with candy or small toys makes this a great Day of the Dead activity for kids and adults. We will be using these sugar skull piñata garland for our Day of the Dead party.

Day of the Dead sugar skull mini pull piñata garland

Felt Sugar Skull Craft For Day Of The Dead

Get ready to unleash your creativity with a fun and easy felt sugar skull craft perfect for celebrating Day of the Dead, or Dia de Muertos. Day of the Dead crafts are a wonderful way to engage in this vibrant and meaningful tradition, and our easy sugar skull craft is no exception.

Day of the Dead craft easy felt sugar skulls

Day Of The Dead Pumpkin Candle Holders

These Day of the Dead sugar skull pumpkin candle holders are an easy Dia de los Muertos craft project. These Day of the Dead pumpkins will make a fun centerpiece and are also ideal for adding to your Day of the Dead altar. 

Day of the Dead DIY calavera pumpkin candle decor

Day Of The Dead Skull Mask Craft

A beautiful and easy Day of The Dead Mask to celebrate Día de Los Muertos with your kids. These Day of The Dead skull masks are a simple craft idea made with whatever craft supplies you have at home! You can customize and decorate this Día de Los Muertos mask any way you want. It is the perfect Day of The Dead decoration for home or as a fun craft for the classroom.

dia de los muertos skull mask craft
Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

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