Planning a fiesta? Decorating doesn't have to break your budget! One traditional material used for party decorating in Mexico is tissue paper, and the more bright and bold the colors, the better. These paper banners, known as "papel picado," and Mexican flowers are traditional, easy-to-make crafts that will spruce up any party environment.
Take some large rectangular sheets of colorful tissue paper (the kind used for gift wrapping). Fold each one individually, accordion-style (folding one way and creasing, then folding the opposite way and creasing). Each folded strip should be approximately 2 inches wide and even with the others.
Use large craft-store decorative paper punches with different shapes to punch holes down the strip, punching through all the layers. If you prefer, you can cut out easy geometric shapes using scissors. Make templates for the shapes by drawing them on scrap cardboard and cutting out the shapes. Then trace the shapes onto the tissue paper.
Unfold the tissue paper to reveal all of the punched-out designs. If you like, you can trim the border of the paper with decorative scrapbooking scissors that feature scalloped, wavy or zig-zag edges.
Hang a string across the wall. Hang the picados by folding the top 1/2 inch of the tissue paper over the string and taping it into place. Line up a row of papel picados. You can also line them around the edges of tables.
Choose three colors. You might want to do the colors of the flag of Mexico: green, white and red. However, any trio of bright colors will do.
Take six sheets of tissue paper, two of each color. One at a time, put a paper plate on them as a template and trace a circle with a pencil.
Layer the circles on top of each other. For example: green, green, white, white, red, red. Starting from one end, and while working with all six sheets together, begin accordion-folding the tissue paper.
Twist a pipe cleaner around the center of the tissue strip. Then begin gently tugging on the papers to separate them. Pull them out to fill out the floral form.
Make a bunch of these flowers and place them in a Mexican pottery vase, or twist the ends of the pipe cleaners together to form a floral garland chain. If you are hanging crepe paper, cluster a few flowers together and have the crepe paper radiate out from it.
Be careful working with tissue as it tears easily. However, since tissue paper is inexpensive (you can get about 20 sheets for one dollar), it's not a tragedy if there is a little loss.