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Marigold flowers Paper Flowers - For a bright celebration

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Day of the Dead / Día de Muertos flowers craft. Colorful and easy to make (10min).

Dia de Muertos. Day of the Dead. Modern costume using a Sugar Skull make up and flowers
Dia de Muertos attire for parties and parades. Includes "sugar skull" make up and flowers

If you ever see imagery related to the Mexican “Día de Muertos” or Day of the Dead, weather in its traditional or more modern version, you will notice that flowers, especially the Marigold is very prominent.

Marygold flowers or Cempasuchil are places on tumbs and doorways
Mexican cemetery on Dia de los Muertos

Many have no idea which is the traditional flower to use nor why it is used as much.

Dia de Muertos. Day of the Dead. Modern version of girl using a Sugar Skull make up
Modern interpretation of Day of the Dead celebration. "Sugar skull" make up.

Here is a short explanation.



Calaveras Dia de Muertos . Decoration Skulls
Colorfully decorated clay Skulls or "Calaveras"

“Cempasúchil” as Marigolds are called in Mexico are of a vibrant yellow color, but also come in deep orange and magenta. Specifically, the yellow variant is used during this celebration, as the Aztecs (living in the Mexico City area when the Spanish conquered the country) believed it to be the flower a symbol of light, and the flower of the Gods Sun and Women, Tonatiuh and Xōchiquetzal respectively.

The Aztecs believed that the Cempasúchil flowers provided light (and scent) that guided the spirits from the realm of the dead to the world of the living, which they are allowed to visit on this date.

Every November 2nd (sometimes already late October) families make flower arches, decorations and paths using Cempasúchil. A Día de Muertos without Cempasúchil is almost unthinkable, as much as without its traditional foods, sugar skulls, offerings and altars.


Many beautiful decorations made of sugar are on every market for the Day of the Dead
Traditionally colorful Sugar Skulls and Catrinas.

If you would like to learn more about the meaning of the Day of the Dead, its traditions and history, as well as its Altares and Ofrendas (altars and offerings), join us for a one-time Workshop on the topic of Día de Muertos during the month of October at our Studio Creativo in Locarno.

You will be welcome to decorate your own colorfully decorated Skull (Calaverity) made of clay or paper-maché / cartapesta. Check out the link to the description and available dates.



Marigolds are hard to find Europe during this time of the year, so a paper version can come in really handy. Check out this step-by-step tutorial on how to make paper Cempasúchil flowers.



  1. Orange or dark yellow.. - paper Napkins - or Tissue paper - or Crêpe paper

  2. Nylon thread or floral wire or a pipe-cleaner or even the cookie bag closing plasticized wire

  3. Scissors




Cut the Napkin in half or cut paper so you have approximately the width of the flower you want (these are 15cm wide) is half of the length.



Separate the 2 to 4 sheets of paper that make up the Napkin.

This one has 3, so I do both halves, in total 6 layers.

If you are using Tissue paper or Crêpe-paper, use 6-layers approximately 15x30cm.



Tear off the length’s edges by hand (now or after the folding).



Make 1.5 cm wide accordion folds, creasing with each fold.



Tie up the accordion of paper in the middle.

- Use nylon thread if the flowers will hang

- Use thin floral wire or a pipe-cleaner.



Gently pull to separate the paper sheets from each other until you have the flower shaped.



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