Día de los Muertos calavera make-up

Half the face, double the effect
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Día de los Muertos is a time for joyful celebration, and you need an outfit that looks the part. Unlike Halloween, whose focus is on all things scary, a Day of the Dead costume could feature a flower crown or dashing floral top hat. Most of all though, it's the moment to paint your face with iconic calavera make-up.

Dia de los muertos calavera skull make-up -Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk

Calavera is Spanish for skull, and the festival's famous skull make-up is inspired by an elegant skeleton called La Calavera Catrina, who appeared in turn-of-the-century satirical cartoons in the Mexican press. Most famously, La Calavera Catrina was painted in an iconic mural by artist Diego Rivera. The symbol of an elegant skull fits perfectly with the Día de los Muertos celebrations, and it's no wonder it's a common symbol of the festival.

With the help of our step-by-step guide, we'll show you how to paint your face with a unique half-face calavera. Half a skull is a nod to death and life at the same time, which is what Día de los Muertos is all about.

You will need

  • Make-up or face paint (in colours like black, dark purple, light purple, soft pink, green)
  • Eye shadow
  • Lipstick
  • Brushes


  1. First make a large circle with a dark colour like purple around the eyes. Colour in the circle completely.
  2. Use black to small make semicircles around the large circle.
  3. Colour in the semicircles with soft pink.
  4. Put a dark-coloured dot in each one.
  5. Draw a thin green line in the dark purple area around the eyes.
  6. Create a shadow on the jaw line if necessary.
  7. Paint the nose black with an upside down heart or triangle that points upwards.
  8. Paint two identical decorations on the forehead (with eg light purple).
  9. Add decorative details like green stripes.
  10. Make the right half of your lips red. Edge your cupid's bow with a thin, black line.
  11. At the corner of the mouth, draw a black line to the ears, over the cheekbones.
  12. Blur the black line down a little with a brush.
  13. Use purple to create another decoration under the black line.
  14. Draw a flower on the chin with a soft colour like pink, adding the green leaf below.

Up for more Día de los Muertos tutorials? Discover how to make a sacred flower altar, and a beautiful flower crown or elegant floral top hat for your festival costume.

Share your gorgeous creations with us on social media with #funnyhowflowersdothat and #ddlm — we'd love to see them!