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sugar skull craft kids dia de los muertos
Used with permission from Storey Publishing; Photo by © Andrew Greto Photography

DIY Mexican Clay Skull

Celebrate Day of the Dead with this hands-on craft for all ages.

Edible treats known as sugar skulls, or calaveras, have been used in Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations for hundreds of years. Try this nonedible version made of clay.

Mexican Clay Skull


Optional Supplies:

*FYI You can find self-hardening or air-dry clay at most arts and crafts stores. Once it dries, it can be fragile, so handle carefully.

Dia de los muertos sugar skull craft
Used with permission from Storey Photo by © Andrew Greto Photography


  1. Roll the clay into a ball about the size of a baseball.
  2. Gently squeeze the sides of the ball to make cheek bones. Press your thumbs into the ball to make eye sockets.
  3. Carve out details using the toothpick: an upside-down V for the nostrils and lines to make the teeth.
  4. Decorate your skull by pressing beads and/or sequins into the clay. Set it aside to dry.
  5. Once the clay is dry, color or paint the eye sockets black. Then use other colors to make your skull festive.

TIP: Make the eyes sparkle! Add a small amount of glue inside the eye sockets and then sprinkle in some glitter.

Excerpted from Art Sparks © 2019 by Marion Abrams and Hilary Emerson Lay.

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