Want to learn to paint your own sugar skull art? I’ll show you how to create this edgy, bohemian piece in six easy steps.

These are so rad and so easy. I’ll show you how to DIY with or without a light-box.

Click here to download the free outline!

free sugar skull download

1. Download the pattern I made for you, it should fit nicely on an A4 size paper. If you want to try and draw your own sugar skull outline go for it! 

2. Tape the outline to the surface of your light-box or simply a glass window with painters tape. I usually tape mine on an angle because that’s how I learned to draw and write (with the paper on a 45 degree angle to the table).

trace without a light box
If you don’t have a light box use a window. Too easy!

3. Take an old magazine or dictionary page and carefully position it over the outline, taking care to line it up using the paragraph columns as a guide. With small pieces of painters tape, position your page over the outline.

trace with a light box
In this image I’m using my light box.

Tip: I usually use tiny bits of tape on this page because the magazine paper I work with is over 100 years old and tears easily.

Note: Where can you get old books or magazines? At any op shop or antique store or perhaps a friend or relative. You can get creative with the dictionary pages and paint images that match the words on a page or use your favourite book or poem! Creates another layer of sentiment to your piece.

Trace with pencil so you can erase easily.

4. Trace the outline with a pencil so you can carefully erase if need be. This is the most important step so make sure to trace the foundation exactly where you will paint it.

5. Tape the magazine page to cardboard or a surface that you can manoeuvre and aren’t worried about getting paint drips on.

Paint your sugar skull outline
No need for fancy paint, student or children’s craft paint works fine.

6. Get ready to paint! I use (student quality) acrylic black paint mixed with a few drops of water, I find this makes the paint a lot easier to control.

Tip: I usually try and do the skull outline first, because it’s the most intimidating part due to the long lines. Take them in small parts. I had a drawing teacher once who gave the best advice “Keep your eyes locked on where the brush or pen is going,” I feel like this applies to many things in life! Focus on where you want to go.

Once the outline is in place, I like to work from the inside out or from right to left- which ever way will decrease my odds of smudging the lines (this may vary depending on which is  your dominant hand).

Painted Sugar Skull Design

The great thing about acrylic is that it dries quickly so if you want to do it in sections you can totally do that too.

Don’t worry about perfect lines- I like how these skulls look with varying degrees of thickness. It gives them a hand-painted quality.

Framing Tip: These book paintings look great in black frames. If you don’t have black you can paint your own!

Have you tried this? How did it go?

Author: dawnrieniets

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