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Samhain 2008

Zabet Stewart (photo)
click to enlarge

Mantel de Muertos

This reusable tablecloth is a must-have for my Day of the Dead celebration. Entranced by the fluttery papel picado banners seen, I created my own darker vision in black vinyl.

by Raellyn Hatter

Suggested Reading

Calavera Abecedario:
A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book

by Jeanette Winter


Cutthroat Should Be Coming Into The River
Click here for definitions of difficulty levels.

Finished Measurements

54"/137 cm x 54"/137 cm


Mantel de Muertos template (pdf format)


  • Plastic tablecloth; 1 black; 54"/137cm square
  • Hobby knife
  • Extra blades for knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Craft hole punch with 1/16"/1.58 mm, 1/8"/3.18 mm, and 3/16"/4.76 mm heads
  • Small hammer
  • Scotch tape (aka cellotape)
  • Ruler (12"/30.5cm at least will do)
  • Scissors

Design Notes

A standard plastic tablecloth is rectangular and 54"/137cm x 108"/274cm. This will make two card table sized coverings. The template is designed to be 8.5"/21.6 cm H x 9"/22.9 cm W in order to fit on the folded tablecloth. This project will take roughly three hours from start to finish. You can create this in any color, but layer it up with a contrasting color underneath for a powerful visual punch.


Zabet Stewart (photo)
click image to enlarge

If beginning with a standard size plastic tablecloth, cut it into two pieces measuring 54"/137 cm x 54"/137 cm.

Fold the tablecloth in half and then in half again. You will have a square with four layers. Use the ruler to measure off 9"/22.86 cm increments starting at the folded edge that is the center of the tablecloth. Use the hobby knife to cut .25"/6.35 mm nicks in the edge so you will know exactly where to fold the plastic.

Holding it carefully so it does not slip, fold the plastic into thirds, accordion-style, by the marks you cut into the edge. The folded tablecloth should measure 9"/22.86 cm wide.

Center the folded tablecloth on your cutting mat, lay your template on top with the center of the design on the center fold of the plastic tablecloth. Secure everything to the cutting mat with scotch tape.

Using the smallest punch, go ahead and punch all of the small holes indicated on the cutting template. Change to the largest punch and finish the rest of the holes marked on the template. Continue to punch large holes inside the larger areas to be cut away to insure that the layers will not shift when you start cutting with the knife.

Change to the hobby knife and begin cutting away the dark areas of the template. Start with the smallest areas and work toward the largest. Go slowly and cut carefully. Change blades often to insure the cleanest possible cuts. If you feel that there will not be enough support for a particular area, make all the cuts first, and then remove the pieces. Cut away the large area at the bottom of the template last. After the entire cloth has been cut, carefully open the cloth and admire your handiwork. Layer it over the contrasting color tablecloth or use by itself.


Creative Commons License contact Raellyn: legal info

Edited by Zabet Stewart


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