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Sugar Skulls

posted Friday October 30th, 2009


Finally, success with a classroom craft.

There isn’t time to go down the list of turds I’ve dropped in the artistic punchbowl over the years (the time my mom and I tried to get first graders to emulate Picasso and Matisse comes to mind) but I must say that I’m feeling quite proud of the sugar skull decorating that went on in both girls’ classrooms, the past two days.

(Sugar skull?! you ask. Check out some dia de los muertos/day of the dead history here.)

The key was keeping it simple — we ditched the royal icing and authentic but hard-to-maneuver colored tin for glue, pipe cleaners, tissue paper and googly eyes, then let it rip.

The kids were so creative, and borrowed ideas from one another. It was wonderful to watch. (And easy to do yourself, as long as you don’t mind the time-consuming task of molding sugar skulls. Some tips: Skip the backs, just do the face of the skull; don’t do it rainy weather, or the stuff won’t stick together; be sure to include the meringue powder everyone says you’ll need; order molds at

Funny, I thought the first graders would have a hard time, but in the end I decided they were more successful than the third graders. The little ones have more joie de vivre — they don’t self-edit as much yet, at 6. The 8-year-olds were much more careful about where they placed the sequins and tissue paper, and as a result, their skulls were more precise but not as much fun.

I’m going to try to remember that when I decorate my own skulls this weekend.

Of course, my own children’s skulls were the most beautiful:


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Tags: Filed under: arts and crafts, Uncategorized by Amysilverman

2 Responses to “Sugar Skulls”

  1. That sounds like so much fun (and looks it too). I love both of your girls skulls ! Happy Halloween!

  2. Love that photo of AB…those big soulful eyes…can’t wait to see the girls this week!!!

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