The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that begins on November 1st and ends on November 2nd.
It is believed the gates of heaven open at Midnight on October 31st to allow for deceased children and adults to reunite with the living. This gives the living and the dead time to celebrate together. For more information about the Day of the Dead read here and here!
We choose to make our sugar skulls from one of our favorite materials, SALT DOUGH! That's right. Salt dough. It's cheap, its versatile and it's environmentally friendly. See our blog post for more on that subject!
We thought it would be fun to make our salt dough Sugar Skulls both art for the walls AND masks to wear about! Read on for the tutorial!
*2 cups flour
*1 cup salt
*1 cup warm water
*Bowl and spoon to make salt dough
*Half cookie sheet
*8 inch skewers
*Nature finds (flowers, leaves, stems, pinecones, etc.)
1. Make the salt dough. Pour the salt, warm water and flour together into a bowl. Mix until combined. Add more flour or water depending on consistency. You want the dough to have a play dough like feel. It should not stick to your fingers or surfaces.
2. Roll the salt dough (on the parchment paper) to about 1/6 inch thick.
3. Cut out Sugar Skull template and place on salt dough. Use a knife to cut around the Sugar Skull template. Do not cut the mouth out of the salt dough skull! Use the template as a guide for teeth placement. Use a straw to punch a hole in the top for hanging on the wall or slide a skewer in to use as a mask!
4. Bake the Sugar Skulls for about 3 or 4 hours in an oven set to 215 degrees Fahrenheit. It sounds like a long time but you can put them in the oven and walk away! Check them after 2.5 hours and every 30 minutes thereafter to ensure they are not over baking. They need to be hard but not brown.
5. After the salt dough has cooled, let the decorating begin! We used pinecone scales for the teeth and mums for the eyes. Get creative here! Let the kiddos take the lead! To affix the decorations, you can do it multiple ways. You could glue them down with hot glue and then finish the entire thing with Mod Podge or use a thick layer of Mod Podge over the entire surface and place items. After it dries, use a finishing layer of Mod Podge.
*Side note- the Mod Podge may absorb a bit into the salt dough. It will make the salt dough feel slightly gummy. NOT TOO WORRY! It will dry! In fact, it will become incredibly hard over time. (In my experience, this aspect of salt dough is really to the creator's advantage! More on that, later!)
6. Hot glue the string around the outside for extra #flair!