My wife is Mexican, so we enjoy celebrating Day of the Dead (Nov. 2nd), as well as Halloween. We set up an ofrenda with candles, flowers, and pictures of our loved ones, tell stories of remembrance, eat sweet bread, and make Mexican hot chocolate. And of course we look forward to watching Coco at this time of year.
An added bonus is that Day of the Dead decorations are so much prettier than Halloween decorations. I would much rather decorate our house with colorful papel picado banners and marigolds than with spiders and cobwebs (we have more than enough real spiders around here). These embroidered felt sugar skull ornaments are fun to make, and will add a festive Dia de los Muertos vibe to your home this season.
Felt–assorted colors, including white
Embroidery thread–assorted colors
Poly filling, fabric scraps, or other stuffing material
Paper and pencil
Hot glue gun
To begin, sketch out a skull shape on a piece of paper. You can make your skull whatever size you please. Mine was about 2 inches wide by 3 inches long. Cut out your paper skull–this will be your template.
Next, use a pencil to trace your skull template on some white felt. You will need to cut out two white skull pieces for each ornament that you want to make.
Now is the fun part! Cut out shapes from different colors of felt to create the face for your skull. I found that circles, squares, triangles, and hearts worked well. An elongated kidney bean shape works well for the mouth. Arrange your shapes on one of your skull pieces. Use the embroidery thread and needle to attach the face. I like to make teeth by making an extra long stitch across the length of the mouth. Then make shorter, perpendicular stitches on top, as shown in the photo above.
You can also attach some sequins to the skull to add a bit of sparkle. Simply bring your needle up where you’d like your sequin. Then thread a sequin onto your needle and make two small stitches to tack it in place.
Once you are happy with the face, choose a contrasting color of felt for the handle of your ornament. Cut out a strip of felt about 4 inches long by 1/2 inch wide.
Fold the strip in half and sew both ends to the back of a blank skull piece. I embroidered a square shape to attach the handle, but it doesn’t really matter how you attach it, since this will be the back of your ornament.
Place the face skull piece on top of the handle skull piece, with the blank sides facing each other. Use a blanket stitch to sew around the perimeter of your ornament (see photo above). If you need more clarification on how to do a blanket stitch, there are lots of good tutorials on Youtube. When there is about a 1 inch gap left in your ornament, stuff it with poly filling or any other material you have on hand. Then finish sewing up the gap. Use a hot glue gun to attach pompoms to the handle.
Your one-of-a-kind sugar skull is complete! You can hang your ornament from a door handle, key chain, or rearview mirror, or make a whole bunch of them and string them on a ribbon.
Happy Dia de los Muertos and Happy Halloween!