The sugar skull is one of the most iconic symbols of the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration, or Día de los Muertos. The intricate symmetrical designs and skull shape can be tricky to draw freehand, so we’ve provided a template to help. Once you have the eyes, nose, mouth, and shape of the skull, you can improvise with your own arrangements of dots and flowers. You might find a drill or an awl helpful in making the small, round decorative holes.
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- Sugar skull template
- Transfer paper
- Black and white paint
- Paint or paint pens in assorted colors
- Fine paint brushes
An Extra Twist
For smaller pumpkins, copy elements from the main design, repeating the pattern all around or making a face from simple petal shapes. Paint pens can be used for simpler shapes.
- Prepare the surface of the pumpkin; ideally choose a pumpkin that has a smooth, flat skin to make it easier to transfer the design. Depending on the color of the skin, you can paint the skull directly onto the skin, or paint the entire surface with a coat of paint in a coordinating color. Leave to dry before painting the design.
- Print out the template and transfer to the pumpkin, using transfer paper pinned to the pumpkin. Draw over the template with a pencil and transfer the design onto the pumpkin.
- Start with the white skull, painting within the guidelines to fill the shape with solid color. Leave to dry before adding the other details, working in one color at a time and letting each color dry completely before applying the next. For the eyes, paint a black circle for the base, adding the petal details and outline when the base is dry.
- Fine details, such as the flowers, leaves, and outlines, can be added with a fine paint brush or paint pen.