Colorful Calaveras – Another Cute Halloween DIY


Here is another Halloween DIY project we did last week. I have been trying to find decorations inspired by the Día de los Muertos, so adding calaveras was a MUST.  I came out with the idea of painting these calaveras for the front yard.

They were easy to do, but you have to wait for the paint to dry to be able to paint the details, and that takes a little bit of time. The trick to paint these calaveras is to make both sides of the face kind of symmetrical (doesn’t have to be perfect). To do this, you need to measure and mark all your face details with pencil before starting to paint. That part was a little time consuming.

Here are the instructions on how to make these beautiful calaveras. The look SOOOOO pretty in the front yard.


Difficulty (1-5): 3 Time: At least 1/2 day because you need to wait for paint to dry Cost: $15 per calavera


  • Plywood panels- I bought 2’ x 3’
  • Small Roller, if you have one. Otherwise, a brush will do.
  • Black latex paint – sample size.
  • Color latex paint – whatever color you want for your calavera.
  • Small brush, to paint the black lines for the calavera.
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil



Have your kids help painting the whole panel black with the roller. It is no necessary to paint the whole panel black, but kids love doing it and why not giving them a little bit of love.

If you don’t have kids, or want to do this project all by yourself (totally understandable. Been there, done that.) Just go to Step 2 and, after outlining your calavera, fill up the empty spaces with black paint and your brush.

IMPORTANT TIP: Paint the back of your panel, too, otherwise the wood will start to warp.

halloween-wreath-5STEP 2

Outline the calavera with a pencil. It is important that the right and left sides of the calavera are somehow symmetrical. Mark your main points so you know where to draw the lines. Here is a photo of the main points I marked. I made sure they were at a similar distance from the sides, bottom, and top. Paint the calavera.
calavera-1STEP 3

Draw the features of your calavera with your pencil. To do this, you need careful measuring to achieve that symmetry calaveras need. Take a look:

calaveras-3 For the teeth, for example, I marked how wide (2 inches) and long (3 inches) each tooth had to be. I made sure the line in the middle was straight and then draw the rest of lines with a pencil. It looked like this:
calaveras For the eyes, I just marked a middle point and then eight points 4 inches away from that middle point at different sides. Then I made lines between these points and made a big circle. I used these eight points as reference to create the outside petals for the eyes in the orange calavera.

See here:calaveras-5 Step 4

Paint the black lines with your thin brush and black paint. It is easier than it sounds. If you go slowly and with patient, it is not difficult to achieve. You will need 2 coats of black paint for the details. Wait until it dries.

Here are more photos and thanks for stopping by.

Also, a post about a ghost family for your front yard, a ghost wall decoration, and how to make a Halloween wreath.

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halloween diy

A Halloween DIY Decoration You Can Do With Your Kids

halloween diy

I have small children (3 and 5 year old), therefore I need to choose craft projects wisely.

Like any other kid, my sons want to participate in everything I make, but not all Halloween DIYs are good for kids, not only because children don’t have the skills for major craft projects, but because some materials can be dangerous. A glue gun, for example, is better on the hands of adults only, but, how do you explain that to a 3 year old in a convincing way that guarantees him not touching it? Well, if you have a trick on how to do that, please, let me know. I would love to hear (PS- Saying “don’t do that” is not enough).

Victor has been excited about doing ghosts because the are SO easy to make, so I decided to do a “wall” of ghosts for Halloween. This year, I am finding inspiration from the Day of the Death celebrations for all our Halloween decorations,  so I decided to add purple, orange, and yellow ghosts to the mix.

Here is what we did:



Difficulty (1-5): 2 Time: 2 hours  Cost: $20


  • White Tissue Paper. I bought two sizes of white paper: 20×30 and 20×26. If you buy one size only, I would go for the bigger size.
  • Package of Tissue Paper in different colors. Remember that color fades when exposed to sun. Ghosts will last only 10 days looking good. Have this in mind before choosing to buy colored tissue paper. If you want your wall to last longer than 10 days, make only white ghosts.
  • 1 roll of White Select-A-Size Paper Towel. (BTW, newspaper won’t do because it shows through the tissue paper and the ghosts don’t look like one solid color.)
  • Fishing string
  • Scissors
  • Rope – to hang ghosts.
  • White string to tight ghosts’ necks. If you want to be a perfectionist, you will need colored string that matches the color of your colored ghosts, BUT, there is no need to be a perfectionist regarding Halloween decorations.
  • COFFEE! Believe me, you will need it.



Have your child or children tear the smallest size of paper towel. Have them roll the paper into a ball. You will use this as the head of the ghost.


Place the paper towel ball in the middle of an open tissue paper. This will create your ghost head and shape.
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Cut a short piece of string- Use it to tie the tissue around the neck.

Halloween DIY 2



Tie a rope on top of the place where you want to create your wall. Horizontally.

halloween-diySTEP 5

Tie the fishing string to the string on the neck of the ghosts. Cut the fishing string at different lengths. Start hanging the ghosts to the rope one by one. Don’t place them too close to each other. Try to leave ½-1 inch between ghosts so the wall doesn’t look stuffy. Once you are done, look at the wall and make sure there are no big empty spaces.

Hanging the ghosts can be a little bit tedious, so get some coffee and take your time.

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With the wind, the ghosts look like they are flying. It is pretty cute to see. Also, I have had neighbors coming to tell us how cute the little wall looks. That is sweet.

For added spookiness, ask your kids to make spiders with black cardboard. You can hang them in between the ghosts.

Also, you can find a post on how to make a ghost family for your front yard, how to make a cheap and easy Halloween wreath, and other beautiful Halloween inspiration.


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Day Of The Dead Halloween Inspiration

jestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration4Oh Happy Day

Halloween decorations can be awesome or extremely tacky. There is no middle ground.

This year I have decided to stay away from gaudy and embrace some kind of stylish décor, if possible. Against me, as always, are my kids. They want blood and plastic. A hard line to walk! I want them to participate and be creative, but I also need to teach them the importance of decent taste- a major lesson for a 2 and a 4 year old, surely.

What I am planning to do for Halloween this season is to keep a simple color scheme and embrace “Day of the dead” décor. This Mexican holiday is beautiful. Full of bright colors and cute Calaveras, I think it’s the perfect middle ground for my kids and I to achieve a peace deal where I am the sole decider and they become my lovely minions.

On the other hand, I am worried about it not being spooky enough because “Day of the dead” decorations are far from scary, unless I bring some kind of twist to it. I will do a Mexican-American version of Halloween, I have decided.

Here are some photos and DIY projects that I found for inspiration. Let me know what do you think:

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jestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration10 Happy Thoughtjestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration7 Oh Happy Dayjestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration2Woman’s Dayjestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration-12 Brit.cojestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration-13Etsyjestcafe-com-ghosts-for-halloween6Jest Cafejestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration6 The Lettered Cottagejestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration-5 Country Livingjestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration-3 Deco Pequesjestcafe-com-halloween-decoration-ideas1The Green Head

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Outdoor Halloween Decorations – A Ghost Family

We put out our Outdoor Halloween decorations last weekend. I wanted to create a ghost family in the front yard, and this is how it came out. Cute, don’t you think? halloween

Here is what we used,


  • 7 – sticks of different lengths. Approximately 1.5” x 1” wide. They need to be sturdy enough to support the weight of the fabric and not fall with the wind. No need to get fancy with the sticks, almost anything will do.
  • 7 – Styrofoam spheres. 6 small 6” spheres for the smaller ghosts, and a big 10” sphere for the big ghost. I bought them at Michael’s.
  • Light sheer white fabric. I went to the fabric district in L.A. and got those rolls that you can buy as is. They are $1.99 a yard! So cheap. I used approximately 25 yards.
  • 7 – 2” Nails to attach the fabric to the Styrofoam
  • 2 – sheet of black felt ($0.39 at Michael’s)
  • Glue gun to attach the mouths and eyes to the Styrofoam.

Here is what we did:

  1. We grabbed sticks of different sizes from our backyard and pounded them in the grass.
  2. I made a small hole in the Styrofoam ball and pressed the stick into the sphere with enough strength to insert it 4-5 inches in. No need to glue.
  3. We covered the Styrofoam balls with the fabric and cut it at the floor level with some scissors to make sure it had the right length; almost touching the floor.  I used two strips of fabric on top of the spheres to cover the ghosts and give them more volume. I crossed them on top of each other like an X.    4. I nailed the fabric to the sphere. Cut out eyes and mouths for the ghosts from black felt.

6. Glued the eyes and mouths with the glue gun on low temperature. You don’t want the glue to be so hot as to melt the Styrofoam.

The project took no more than 1 hour, so you still have time to do this for Halloween!

Finally, I want to thank my friends that came out to help me and ended up doing all the work for me. A perfect DIY project, indeed!


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