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DIY Photo Frames for Day of the Dead

Celebrating Day of the Dead is fun, colorful and, at times, poignant. You can celebrate by creating a full, traditional altar de muertos or by doing something as simple as displaying pictures of your loved ones who have passed. Some years, we create a large altar and some years we have a quiet celebration, but we always remember our family members who have left us, and we like to see their pictures and be reminded of them.

That is the inspiration for this craft. I wanted to do something simple, affordable, and fun to make, so I went to my kids' arts and crafts chest and looked for anything that would help me create a few Day of the Dead-inspired frames.

For this craft, you'll need:

  • A cardboard box
  • Scissors
  • An exacto knife
  • A ruler
  • Glue
  • A sheet of white poster board
  • Photos of your loved ones who have passed away
  • Tissue paper in different colors

One of the great things about making your own picture frames is that you can create them in exactly the shape and size you need to match your photos.

Start by tracing the photo's edges on the cardboard. Once you have done that, draw a square inside and a square outside of the original mark, it can be as thick or as thin as you like. Carefully using your exacto knife, cut out the biggest square or rectangle and then the smallest one, so you end up with a cardboard frame.

Next, lay the frame on top of the white poster board and mark the edges with a pen. Cut out the rectangle and set apart; you will glue this on the back of your frame after you are done decorating it.

Now the fun part: Use your creativity—anything goes! Your kids may want to help here as well, you can turn it into a fun activity to do as a family. Use the color pens, the tissue paper and add stickers if you have them.

For my frames, I decided to use mostly tissue paper. For one, I cut long pieces of pink and yellow tissue paper, twisted them, and covered my frame with them.

Photograph by Silvia Martinez

I added a paper flower to the corner to finish the look. Before you add the picture, glue three sides of the white rectangle and press it to the back of the frame. The unglued side will be the pocket where you will insert the photo.

Photograph by Silvia Martinez

Another idea is to make papel picado and mix the colors covering the surface of the frame. You can add a message with markers or foam letters, or simply leave it with the papel picado.

Photograph by Silvia Martinez
Photograph by Silvia Martinez

I also love this one. I covered the frame with black tissue paper and made some paper cempazúchitl flowers (marigolds) to attach to it.

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