I recently held a BOOOk Fair at our school library with a Day of the Dead theme. (Aside – I am so fortunate to have an administration that loves a spooky fall Book – “BOOOk” – Fair).
Día de los Muertos is primarily a Mexican holiday. It is a multi-day celebration that starts on October 31st – Halloween – and goes through November 2nd – All Souls’ Day. Over these days, families take time to remember and celebrate family members who have passed on. They visit cemeteries where they clean the graves of their loved ones and decorate them with altars – ofrendas – using foods & drinks their loved ones enjoyed, toys, and marigolds. The marigold, known as the Flor de Muerto, is supposed to attract the souls of the dead to the offerings. We have a large Hispanic population at the school and they loved this Fair.
One decoration I made was marigold garlands. These are absolutely stunning and super-simple to make. Fortunately, in our backyard, marigolds are essentially perennials and come up on their own every spring. I have an abundance to work with.
Take a sunny fall afternoon and string these beautiful garlands. They have an amazing weight to them when they are fresh, and a lovely, almost spicy scent. As they dry, they shrink up, but remain so pretty. You can cut the garland and spread the dried seeds in your fall garden to come up again next year. Use them as necklaces or add to a fall tablescape. Use your decorating imagination!
Marigold flowers – lots: The string I made for the blog today was three feet long and used 55 flowers.
How to make them:
Gather your marigold flowers. You can cut them off the plants with scissors or just pick them by hand. Make sure to get the seed pod with the flower – this is the part you will be passing the needle through.
Thread your needle with your embroidery and string your first pony bead, making a knot. I am using the embroidery floss without separating it into strands so it will be a little stronger. I’m using an orange color to blend in with the flowers. There is a huge variety of pony beads available! I am working with some translucent pony beads in all colors. They add a subtle sparkle in the garland.
Now, string your first marigold flower. Push the needle through the seedpod and pull the flower down the floss so it rests on the anchor pony bead. Next, string another bead. Then, add another flower. Continue alternating beads and flowers, scooting them down so they are tight together on the string.
Turn the marigold flowers at different angles to make the garland look full from all sides.
When you have your garland as long as you want it, knot the end. Leave enough thread extending so that you can tie the two ends together if you like, to make a circle, or necklace.
This garland was just under three feet, and used 55 marigold flowers. It only took about twenty minutes! Have fun!