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DIY Clay Sugar Skull Pendants

Photograph by Ruby Wright

Crafts bring my family together for special cultural celebrations like Day of the Dead. Making special crafts dedicated to Día de los Muertos is our way of keeping the tradition and memory of our loved ones alive. We especially love making sugar skull DIY crafts because they're emblematic of the spiritual holiday where we honor our ancestors.

RELATED: Marshmallow Sugar Skull Pops

My daughter and I have found a new love for baked clay crafts. We enjoy making different things and painting them together. This year for our Day of the Dead celebration, we made handmade beads and a sugar skull pendant. We hand-molded and painted everything, and it took less than an hour to make and the supplies cost less than $10!

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DIY: Handmade Sugar Skull Clay Pendant


  • White oven-bake clay
  • Acrylic paint in at least 3 bright colors
  • Acrylic paint in white and black
  • A paintbrush and/or a dotting tool to make eyes (a toothpick can also work)
  • Transparent stretchy cord or elastic (check the jewelry-making aisle of your craft store)
  • Aluminum foil
Photograph by Ruby Wright


  1. Cut two cubes off of the clay bar; one for the sugar skull pendant and the other for beads (optional)

  2. Shape one cube into a peanut shape and flatten to at least 1/4-inch thick.

  3. Using the back of a paintbrush, a dotting tool or a toothpick, poke two eyes onto the clay, being careful not to pierce the clay all the way through.

  4. Using a smaller tool, pierce the top to make a hole for stringing the pendant and set aside.

  5. To make the optional beads: Using the other cube, roll it with your hands to make a snake-like shape until it's about 1/2-inch thick and a little more than 3 inches long. Take pieces off and roll into small pea-sized balls. Piece each ball to make it look like a mini donut.
  6. Set your sugar skulls and beads on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet according to the oven-bake clay directions. When finished baking, remove from oven and let them cool on the foil.
  7. Once cooled, decorate your pendants using dots to add color, a paint brush to color in the eyes black and make a mouth. Tip: If the clay looks a little yellowed after baking, just paint them white and allow to dry before adding your embellishments.
  8. Paint the beads in bright colors to accent the sugar skulls. Allow to dry and then secure the sugar skull with the cord and string the beads on each side of the sugar skull.

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Photograph by Ruby Wright

RELATED: Day of the Dead Activities For Kids

Photograph by Ruby Wright

RELATED: How to Make Sugar Skulls For Your Day of the Dead Altar

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