Dia de los Muertos Art Project

One of the most popular celebrations in Central and South America is Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. It is a special day to remember loved ones who are no longer living. The art represented in the Day of the Dead celebrations are vibrant, energetic and colorful. It’s hard not to be inspired by this special holiday.

My fifth grade students created marigolds (the flower of choice for this holiday) from painted paper scraps and placed them onto a blue or eggplant colored paper. They glued the flowers to the background paper first. Drawing a skeleton (drawing medium not specific) on a white piece of paper, the students got busy tearing their skeleton bones from the white paper and gluing onto the colored paper. Hats, guitars and musical notes followed….

I used the book, The Day of the Dead / El Dia de los Muertos by Bob Barner as my inspiration. The center spread has a wonderful illustration of a musical skeleton. The story is told both in english and spanish and details the richness and purpose of the holiday. It’s a great companion to any Day of the Dead art lesson.

Fifth grade Day of the Dead artwork…


  1. This is seriously cool. I love the way you have combined the marigolds and skeletons, the colors and shapes work so well! :)Elizabeth

  2. Jess says:

    These are great! LOVE them and LOVE day of the dead!

  3. Rebekah says:

    Did your students use a template? Did they have a hard time getting the proportions correct? These are great!

    • Patty Palmer says:

      Hi Rebekah,
      No tracers. I demonstrated how the bones in the body were proportioned by doing a demo on the board. Then the kids drew all of the individual bones on a piece of white paper and tore them off.

  4. What a great lesson….tearing paper has proven to be most difficult for some students…this is a wonderful way to press the issue of using both hands to control the tear

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