Sunday, October 14, 2018

Fun with Sugar Skulls

Remember those masks everyone had hanging in their houses in the '90s? As a kid I loved them and I KNEW that when I grew up my house would be decorated with them. I also planned to have a shiny iridescent couch in the shape of a seashell. Fortunately, neither of those ideas panned out! When I came across these in my favorite thrift shop all those memories came flooding back! I also knew exactly what I would transform them into!


  • Spray Paint in a light color (white or cream)
  • Decoart Americana Gloss Enamels in:
    • White
    • Black
    • Antique Gold
    • True Red
    • Bright Orange
    • Avocado
    • Milk Chocolate
    • Vivid Violet
    • Baby pink
    • Indian Turquoise
    • Dioxazine Purple


I started by using a damp cloth to remove any dust. I followed up with removing the ribbons that were used to hang the skulls. Here's a before pic in all their 1990s glory:

I then spray painted the masks to cover the previous designs and give them a fresh start. I do not recommend doing this alone at night like I did. As you can see they are a little creepy!

Next, I sketched out preliminary designs on the masks. Be sure to use something that will wash off easily should you change your mind. I used a china marker and haven't been able to wash it off so I've had to change my design to cover it! I also added the black circles to the eyes in varied shapes (after researching some looks online). Again don't do this at night unless you want nightmares!

I tried to keep the elements I'd seen in traditional sugar skull designs while also making them my own.  For this mask, the change is the most dramatic as it was completely black previously. I noticed in my research that the black holes for the eyes and nose were relatively standard. 

This mask was the largest originally and a great starter design as it has a larger canvas to work with. It's also the right size for my kiddos faces and slightly disturbing to come upon without warning!

 This and the next mask are my favorites! I love the detail of the flowers! The size was intimidating at first causing me to wait until I'd done the first two masks before attempting them. I think it shows as they have great detail as I relaxed!

 I cannot wait to hang these in my house! I tell my kids about the Day of the Dead every year (even before Coco came out!). I studied abroad in Mexico and have been interested in this holiday since. It's so beautiful to keep the memory of your ancestors alive! 

The finished product came together quite nicely! They are the perfect addition to any fall decor!

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