Papel Picado

Smyrna Library presented a traditional Mexican craft for adults to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in 2023. Papel picado is a Mexican decorative craft made by stacking sheets of colorful tissue paper and using chisels to cut intricate designs. In Mexico, papel picado is hung throughout the streets during holidays.

Our volunteer instructor created design templates to help participants cut intricate tissue designs. Once cut, each sheet is glued onto a string for hanging.

Advanced Planning

The goal was to present a culturally appropriate program to help our community learn about the Mexican craft's origin and for participants to have fun creating the craft.

A volunteer instructor helped us present two programs in 2022 for Hispanic Heritage Month. Last year, the library director suggested the papel picado craft and we requested the same volunteer to help us present. The library director and I started planning the program in June and reserved the meeting room for the first Friday of Hispanic Heritage Month in 2023. Craft programs scheduled on Friday mornings are always popular. 

The volunteer and I researched the craft and I worked on a PowerPoint presentation covering the origin of papel picado. By August, the volunteer completed the design templates


We promote programs through the Smyrna Library newsletter and listings on the library calendar. Guests sign up using Sign-up Genius. We had 15 slots for the program and all filled up immediately. A few canceled and those slots were quickly filled.


We had all the supplies in stock: tissue paper, scissors, glue sticks, pencils. This is a very cost-efficient craft.

Day-of-event Activity

Three staff members set up the room for 15 participants. We had five tables with three chairs for each table. We have table coverings for our arts and crafts programs. Craft supplies were set up for each participant.

Program Execution

Nine people participated in the program. We had a PowerPoint presentation and the presenter provided background information covering the history of the craft and a few design suggestions.

The participants followed instructions and were able to create more designs. Each cut sheet with designs was glued onto the string to make a string of papel picado. The participants felt this craft was very relaxing and helped them de-stress. They could be as creative as they wanted to be.

A few of the craft books we had on display in the room were checked out. Participants were very appreciative of the colorful craft and some of the guests were participants from earlier programs. We are back on track planning another craft for this year's Hispanic Heritage Month.


I would practice more with the border designs and create smaller cuts for the interior shapes. A book suggested folding the tissue paper in half and inserting it between a design template and cutting out the shapes along the folded spine. Fold your template again to access the interior shapes.

Supporting Materials

Slideshow Images