Tag Archives: Costume

DIY La Calavera Catrina Costume Mask & Calaveras de Azucar (Sugar Skulls) Banner for a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Themed Halloween


This tutorial will help you to inexpensively craft your own one-of-a-kind la calavera catrina costume mask in the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) style, and then easily DIY a Calaveras de Azucar (Sugar Skulls) banner to decorate your Halloween party. Sugar (azucar in Español) is said to balance the bitterness of death (muerte), and calaveras (skulls) are traditionally offered on All Saint’s Day (November 1) to departed loved ones as one would leave flowers graveside. These calacas (colloquial term for skeletons) have migrated north from Mexico into American Halloween celebrations as themed décor. In this same way, traditional parade skull masks have become party costumes. As Halloween serves to poke fun at all things scary, Dia de los Muertos is intended as a way to accept death as inevitable… and also to honor dearly departed loved ones. The Mexican ½ face parade masks symbolize this idea of life being inextricably linked with death. So when you don this half skull mask for Halloween, be sure to make up the lower half of your face as a beautiful representation of life… and poke a little fun at death as not being so scary!


To craft the calaveras de azucar (sugar skulls) banner, begin with either a package of glittered skulls or cut your own shapes from glittered paper. Another option is upgrade a readymade skull banner. (All of these items are available at Le fidèLe Designs craft supply affiliates Michaels and/or Joann whose clickable ads may be found in the sidebar.)


Attack black floral mesh squares to half of the skulls. Glue one end to the top of the front and the rest to the underside so that it looks like a lacy veil.


Next, glue paper rosettes to cover the front edge of the veils.


To decorate these with the traditional sugar skull designs of flowers, hearts, swirls, and apostrophe type marks, I utilized Tulip brand Crystals (= glittery like sugar) T-shirt paint. It works really well on many materials besides cotton. The small tips allow the paint to come out just like icing does on real sugar skulls. If you prefer the control of a paintbrush, just squeeze some out onto a paper plate to use as a palette. Let these dry overnight to cure.


Next cut lengths of colorful yarn or ribbon to string the banner on. If your skulls don’t have the right holes to string them through, just use a hole punch… or even poke some with an ice pick!


Hang them in the background of a themed party or over a candy buffet.


To make your own catrina mask, purchase a plain plastic one to embellish. (This Mardi Gras type can be found at Michaels for about $2, and Joann has some as well.)


Use the same T-shirt paint leftover from the sugar skull banner to cover the mask with. (I just used my finger to smear it around.) Let this layer dry well.


Begin using other colors to add designs to the mask. Dots are the easiest to make with these paints, but make an upside down heart for a nose decoration. (I made a girlier version than can be typically found at the Halloween stores by using softer colors than red and black and by making the eye sockets flowers instead of black rings.) Let this layer dry well too.


Cut a length of lace at about 10 inches across and at a length that will cover most of the hair of the recipient.


Glue the 10 inch edge to the top of the mask, pressing the fabric into the glue. Make small gathers to take up the width. This veil will expand over the head to better cover the hair.


Now pull off faux rose heads from their stems. Glue these on top of the lace, and hold them down until they don’t feel like they will slip off.


Further definition may be added to the edges of the paint lines with a fine tip sharpie permanent marker. (I think a little black helps to tie in the veil’s color.)


Try wearing this with a traditionally embroidered Mexican dress and a black lace shawl.


It may also be used as décor for a themed Halloween celebration.


Viva la celebration!

Faithfully Yours,


DIY Mixed Media Wicked Witch Halloween Statement Necklace


This craft originated from an invitation to a huge Halloween costumed charity ball that I donated some artwork to. I wanted to wear an ‘80’s era green velvet frock with princess sleeves and a full skirt, but I just didn’t feel like wearing a crown. So I decided to toughen up the look with black leather boots and a corset belt. Then I ordered a wicked witch hat straight out of “Oz the Great and Powerful”, which I haven’t even seen yet. I even added a beaded black broom, but all of that still couldn’t counteract the sweetness of the dress and my Glinda-the-good-witch curls. What I needed was a wicked witch statement necklace!


Making mixed media jewelry is a fun process that really unleashes the creative spirit because there are really no rules to follow, so there’s no messing it up. One begins with the gathering of any and all material that could possibly coordinate. I used vintage pendants, earrings, and beads alongside newer elements. Craft stores sell many items that have a vintage look if you don’t have any at hand. You can always lay out a design at home and then return anything unused.


I filled a corked glass bottle with fine black glitter to simulate magic potion. Then I placed black and clear seed beads onto eyepins (= short hard wires with a crook at one end) and added shell star beads. (In future articles, I will explain more about beading for those of you who haven’t tried this rewarding activity.) I also added stars to other elements like moon and spider-web pendants with jumprings (= metal circles with single cuts).


Next I cut out 2 spooky pictures from a Spanish bingo game. They would soon become beads.


I placed clear and black crystals on the tiny game cards and squeezed on “Plaid Mod Podge Dimensional Magic”. The liquid dries clear and to the touch in a few hours, and cures by the next day.


Adding crystals and liquid “magic” seemed appropriate for the project, so I continued with other elements that needed further embellishment.


I even used it in lieu of glue to add crystals and seal the top of the glitter vial. I then attached the beaded eyepins and a jumpring to a strand of leather wrapped around the vial. (This alone could have been attached to a chain as a necklace in its own right.)


I glued more crystals onto tiny black doilies with Elmer’s Ultra Stix-all (which dries clear). This symbolizes spiders on their webs. Jumprings then turned them into beads.


Again, I used Stix-all in the hope that it would indeed stick all materials. I added two clear seed beads to each eyepin then coiled the rest of the length of it. The skinny black feathers were glued inside of that. The following day, I was thrilled to find my feather bead idea had worked!


To determine the necklace’s length, I draped chain around my neck, pulled it to the right size, and then cut the length I wanted. There are standard necklace lengths, but this time I winged it because this was my own custom piece. I wove leather cording through every fifth link, and repeated with silk cording in the links preceding those. The ends can then be cut without even having to measure anything.


I slid a jumpring onto each end, folding over the strands, and wrapped it all in metal wire. An eyepin may also be used if you cut off the looped end. Attach any closure you like. I used a “lobster” clasp.


This is perfect place to use any pretty little ribbons from leftover projects. I cut four inch lengths of new velvet and metallic ribbons. I also cut a couple of roses from some black netted fabric trim. I had never tried this before either, but it worked beautifully to slide jumprings through the netting. I also bent the posts (of a pair of vintage black rose earrings) to make loops to slide onto those same jumprings. They made a kind of baby rosette bead for additional decoration. Remember that statement necklaces are supposed to be over-the-top!


I tied ribbons over the wired cord ends to keep them from snagging my hair. This worked so well that I’m considering wrapping ribbon onto some of my old necklaces.


With all of the elements now ready, I laid out my construction scheme. I played with the look, moving items around until they seemed balanced yet still asymmetrical.


I attached my largest and heaviest items toward the bottom first (like a small carved quartz crystal skull). I worked my way down in element size from there.


After that, I closed jumprings into vintage crystal buttons to make fabulous beads. I filled any gaps with shell stars. This helped to maintain continuity throughout the piece.


Lastly, I added the feather beads with the direction of their natural curves following the drape of the necklace.


You can use these ideas to make any genre of mixed media necklace… even a girly pink princess one, but this year, I made mine wicked!

Faithfully Yours,