Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Dia de los Muertos
(Day of the Dead)
Artist Collaboration

Hello my crafty friends!  Today I am posting about an artist collaboration involving the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos.  This holiday has been celebrated for hundreds of years focusing on gatherings of family and friends to pray and remember those we have lost.
When you look images from the celebrations, it always involves tons of color, flowers and skulls.  I immediately knew what I wanted to create... a shadow box of sorts.

I found a mesh bag of 3 skulls at our local grocery store and knew they would be the perfect size.  They had an antique color to them, so I applied several coats of Liquitex Gesso.

I knew I needed a flat back so I used a hot soldering iron to burn the back of the skull off and finished by applying a couple more coats of gesso.  Then in pencil, I sketched out my design that I wanted on the face.

Then I turned my attention to my "shadowbox" so I could let the gesso fully dry.  I found a black metal box in the Halloween section of my local Michael's.  I painted the box with some Finnabair Antique Silver crackle paste. When that was dry I covered it with black distress stain to take away some of the shine.  I knew I wanted some color and texture in the back, so I found a piece of silver adhesive foil and ran two pieces through my embossing machine.  Then I used some various alcohol inks to color up the foil.

While the alcohol inks were settling in, I came back to my skull and began to paint my design mostly using Posca Paint markers.  For some of the really small parts, I used a tiny paintbrush and acrylic paint.

After her face was exactly the way I wanted it, I colored some coconut fibers with some Lindy's Starburst sprays.  After I achieved the color I wanted, I hot glued it on the bottom of my box.

The design in my head involved a bunch of small glass jars filled with random artifacts and small Holiday colored bulbs.  I filled them with seeds, bone shards, teeth, watch parts, porcupine quills, a feather, and small stars.  I placed the skull in the box to get an idea of where I wanted the jars, then I then hot glued them to the bottom.  After they were dry I hot glued my skull onto the back of the box.

I colored a bunch of small flowers and a large flower I had with Lindy's Starburst sprays, darkening them up a bit.  I felt I needed some bling, so I attached a few crystals on the skull and the 3 yellow flowers around her head and hung a large crystal from the top.  I wanted the large flower on the top of the box to coordinate more with the box, so I attached a metal silver flower in the middle of the large flower.  On the bottom of the box, I attached some vintage glass fuses to act as a stand.

See more close-ups below.  Hope you enjoyed my project.


  1. Hi Tracy! I loved reading about your journey in creating this wonderful Sugar Skull. Wow and I must say a great grocery store find! Fabulous results!

  2. ROCK STAR! This is epic!!! I really like how you made a flat back to the skull...that is awesome!!! Very cool.