How to Make Custom Skeleton Plates for a Halloween or Day of the Dead Party

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I like paper plates.  I use them at parties.  Nothing against them--really!  But sometimes I want something a little more special than paper plates, yet I don't want to break out (and risk breaking) the fine china.  In these circumstances, my favorite solution is a simple glass plate from the dollar store.

They're always available at the dollar store (you can add to your collection only as needed--no need to buy tons at a time), and even on their own, they add inexpensive elegance to a party.

But you know me, I can never resist an opportunity to adorn and modify, to make something my own!  

So for the Dia de los Muertos party, I wanted to create something special for the table setting.  A plate with some style and whimsy suitable for a Day of the Dead celebration.  

I took my inspiration from traditional papel picado banners, like the one above from Ay Mujer on Etsy, and came up with an easy craft to dress up those plain glass plates for any party theme.

To make these skeletal glass plates, you'll need:

  • tissue paper or craft paper (I used black tissue paper)
  • X-acto knife
  • glass plate
  • spray adhesive

First, use a pencil or marker to sketch the shapes you want to cut out.  I googled "free skeleton clip art" and looked at photos of papel picado for inspiration for my plates.

Next, use the X-acto blade to cut out the shapes you've drawn on the paper.  I used tissue paper, since that's traditional for papel picado, but this step would be even easier and work at least as well (perhaps better) with construction paper.

Spray the cut out pieces with a light mist of spray adhesive, and apply to the underside of the glass plates.  Smooth in place, and you have a festive, custom dinner plate!

I created this craft for a Day of the Dead celebration, but I particularly loved this little skeleton arm creeping across the plate, as though it were trying to steal something tasty.  I'm definitely recycling this idea for Halloween!  

Feeling intimidated by the sketching step?  An even easier way to get this look would be to print out some of those free clip art images and carefully cut them out and glue them directly to the plates.  

So for just a few cents more than a dollar per plate, I had elegance, whimsy, and something perfectly coordinated for my theme.  And the best part?  After the party, I just washed off the paper decorations right along with the food debris, and have pristine glass plates just waiting to be reinvented for the next celebration.

Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido

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