Wednesday, April 29, 2015

She's Crafty | Papel Picado

El Día de los Niño, The Day of the Child, is this Thursday, April 30th.

On this festive day, the Cesar Chavez branch will have a special program featuring a visit from local children's author Jennifer Torres. She will be reading from her new book, Finding the Music/En pos de la Musica and the celebration will continue with crafts after the story. So, come down to the Cesar Chavez branch this Thursday at 3:30 PM.

To help promote the program and give our branch some festive style, I made papel picado banners and fluffy paper flowers to hang near the entrance of our library and over the Children's library information desk.

According to the Papel Picado page on the Museum of International Folk Art website, papel picado translates to "punched" or "perforated paper." Artisans who make traditional papel picado make a large stack of tissue paper, top it with a template, and use a set of special sharpened chisels known as fierritos to punch out the design.

To make mine I followed a tutorial I found at the Happy Thought blog, which you can read here. Ellen Deakin & Harry Olden of Happy Thought also created a very handy video tutorial to show crafters how to make their style of papel picado, which is soo very fun and easy! To make the designs they feature on their page and the ones I used for my banner, you can download three templates at Happy Thought. Just a note, you do have to join their mailing list to get the templates. If you don't feel like doing that, do an internet search for "papel picado templates" or make your own.

The papel picado you make following the tutorial at Happy Thought is cut with scissors. You fold a stack of tissue paper in half and slide it into one of their symmetrical templates.

You only have to cut one side of the design, but since it's folded in half, you cut the whole thing. I found eight sheets of tissue paper just about right. I tried 16 at first but it was torture on my scissor hand!

Once you have all your sheets cut out, time to "string" them together. At Happy Thought, they have you lay long lengths of masking tape sticky side up. Then you lay a single cut sheet on half of the width of tape and fold the remaining half over, sandwiching the piece of tissue within the tape.

Masking tape makes quick work of putting the banner together and making it ready for hanging. I'm thoroughly infatuated with the idea!

I also found a great paper flower tutorial on Happy Thought: Mexican Paper Flowers Tutorial. There you learn how to make incredibly easy and fluffy tissue flowers that will brighten any space. And I can't stress enough how easy peasy these flowers are.

Give creating your own papel picado banner a try and let me know how it goes. After the program this Thursday, let me know how much fun you had making music and listening to Jennifer Torres tell the story of Reyna and her abuelito's vihuela from her book Finding the Music/En pos de la Musica. Don't know what a vihuela is? Well, you'll just have to come on down to Cesar Chavez to find out!


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