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~ as the veil between worlds thins, we grow closer to the spirits around us . . . to remember those gone before and to honour their memories, we chose to decorate with a beloved symbol of Dia de Los Muertos — an elaborately decorated skull reminding us that there is a brightness . . . in remembrance and reincarnation . . . to be found along with the spirits ~

the ancient Celts believed that Samhain (which lies directly between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice) was a spiritual time where one could perform magick, rituals to communicate with spirits and loved ones passed over, and divinations

candles were lit in the windows to guide the spirits of those deceased in the past year.  They were invited to return to feast with their loved ones, honoured and welcomed in from the cold.  Foods were also left out on the doorstep for the wandering spirits — apples were buried along roadsides and paths for spirits who were lost or had no descendants to provide for them.  Although these were traditional customs, many pagans still practice them — or variations thereof

DDLM1

this is a simple craft that anyone can do, any age, and at any time of the year.  You can find the papier-mâché skull at your local Michael’s store, most probably in early September to November.  Most other craft stores will likely carry something similar

supplies:

papier-mâché skull
sponge brush
mod podge (decoupage medium — sparkle  used here)
tissue paper in two contrasting colors
small picture photocopied onto copier paper
sequins
paper flower decoration
feathers
sparkly spider stickers (the ones used here are Jolee’s)
white craft glue

DDLM2

instructions:

lay out a piece of paper to work on

pour out a dollop of mod podge onto a plastic paint well and dip the sponge brush into the medium.  Paint a thin layer in one section of the top of the skull

tear off a piece of tissue paper roughly the size of your painted area and place it on the skull.  Wrinkles are fine — the more the better!  It will make your skull that much more realistic and creepy

when you’ve covered the area, paint over the tissue paper with the mod podge

DDLM3

working in small sections, repeat the process — painting a small section of the skull, then plastering on a piece of tissue paper.   The sections will eventually overlap and cover the entire skull

feel free to be as creative as you’d like — use a rainbow of colors, just be mindful that the colors will muddy if they are overlapped on top of each other.  Metallic papers also look nice

DDLM4

when working around the eye and nose sockets, use the brush handle to work the paper into the holes. Smooth the edges out with your fingers

you can also choose at this point to use contrasting tissue paper over the first layer (as with the black here) to add contrast

be sure to cover the entire skull in a thin layer of mod podge to seal it

DDLM5

next, take your small photocopied picture and cut it to size.  The image used here is from Loteria.  Paint the back of the image with mod podge, smooth it out on top of the skull (try to avoid the wrinkles here so the image will be clear) and paint over it with another layer of medium

take a handful of sequins and, using the craft glue, place them around the edge of the photo

DDLM6

take two or three feathers and glue the ends together so they form a fan.  Glue them to a paper cut out flower or large rhinestone.  Using the same craft glue, adhere it to the side of the skull

the final touch is to add a little sparkle.  The spiders here have adhesive on them; otherwise use a craft glue to fix them to the skull

DDLM7

this is a simple project but it will add a little flair to your seasonal décor!

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