Today we are making Cempazuchitl, marigold paper flowers out of tissue paper. This Mexican paper marigold craft is perfect for kids of all ages and makes beautiful marigolds for Day of the Dead.

Tissue paper marigold flowers arranged on a skull in a black background for day of the dead cempazuchitl
Make your own DIY marigold flowers using tissue paper!

How to Make Cempazuchitl (Marigolds) for Day of the dead

Mexican marigolds play a big role in the Day of the dead holiday traditions. Learn how to make DIY Marigold (Cempazuchitl in Spanish) flowers which are believed to guide spirits of departed loved ones with their vibrant colors.

Related: More tissue paper flowers

This simple and beautiful craft requires very limited supplies and are fun to craft. Even younger kids will be able to help.

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supplies for making flower of the dead for dia de los muertos like tissue paper, pipe cleaners, scissors displayed on a white background
Gather the supplies and start crafting your own paper flowers for the Dia de los Muertos

Supplies Needed for DIY Marigolds

Directions to Make Tissue Paper Flower Marigolds

steps to make the tissue paper marigold flowers shown
Isn’t it simple and easy to make these marigold flowers?

Step 1

Take six sheets of tissue papers (orange or yellow), measure 4″ in width and 9″ in length, and cut them using scissors.

Step 2

Fold them in an accordion-style lengthwise and secure it in the center (2″ mark) with a piece of pipe cleaner.

Step 3

Fan it out and carefully pull a single sheet of paper to the center on both sides, one after the other, until you run out of paper to create this Marigold tissue paper flower.

Step 4


Push and pull the tissue paper gently to arrange it to look like marigold flowers.

Creating a Realistic Cempazuchitl from Tissue Paper

I tried two more styles to achieve different looks of the DIY marigold flowers. This is totally optional but I felt it was so worth it.

yellow tissue paper marigold flowers step by step pictures on a white bg cempazuchitl
Try this twist using kids craft scissors that has shaped edges.

Use Pinking Shears

  1. Use pinking shears to create a zig zag edge to the sides of the tissue paper

  2. Fold like an accordion – see the zig zag cuts on the ends of the tissue paper
  3. Fan out the tissue paper sheets into a marigold paper flower


diy marigold flowers using fringe technique shown in two step by step picture ona white background flowers craft
Isn’t this look more realistic?

Uses Scissors to Slit Tissue Paper Edges

Another trick is to use scissors and add small slits at both edges before doing the accordion fold and then fluff and arrange the marigold petals like usual.

three tagetes erecta in yellow and orange displayed on a white background for the day of the dead
Which one among these three is your favorite?

Our Experience Making Cempazuchitl

Now it is your turn to choose which one you like better for your decor. These DIY marigold flowers are so forgiving that even if you make any mistakes, it still looks so good. Anyone can make this craft from kids to adults.

I would suggest going with a bigger size (for example 6″ to 8″ for width) if you are planning to make this craft with little kids.

Make a lot of them and string them as garland to decorate your altars or just arrange them in the design you desire. 

More flower crafts you might like

Dia de los muertos decor using flower of the dead
Decorate your altars with the flower of the dead this dia de los muertos

More Day of the Dead Decorations & Crafts

Let us know which DIY marigold technique you thought worked the best. How did you use your homemade tissue paper cempazuchitl?  

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