DIY Neon Sugar Skulls

Objective: Creative interactive activity to learn about Frida Kahlo and the Mexican tradition of Sugar Skulls.



Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican painter, was inspired by nature and Mexican traditions. Sugar Skulls are a popular tradition and often include flowers just like Kahlo’s self-portraits. Discuss the uniqueness of all artists and their creations. To build their excitement, let the kids know there is a fun and exciting surprise at the very end too!


Skull Drawing Layout

1. Have children fold their paper in half, both directions. Place a dot using the pencil at the top (top of skull), bottom (for the chin). For the sides, I encouraged them to pretend their skull has invisible ears and place the dots underneath where the ears would be. Connect the dots to form a skull.

2. Discuss concepts of Symmetry (same on both sides) Radial (based around a central point) Like how the flowers are centered around the dots of the eyes. You can have visuals of examples of designs to inspire the children but encourage them that there is not right or wrong way to create these.

3. Allow the children to create their drawings using the Neon oil pastels. They can use these just like they would a crayon. If it breaks, don’t worry, they can continue to be used. The smaller pieces are actually great to use with younger children as it encourages them to grip the utensil as they should, just like a pencil.

Neon Sugar Skull Art

4. When they’re finished designing, the children will cut out the skull and glue it to a black piece of construction paper. After that, have them write their name on the back lower part.  Allow them to admire their creations. It’s important to give each kid time to shine!  Have them hold them up so everyone can enjoy how unique each one is. Then, here comes the surprise….

5. Hand the children the blacklight flashlights. Turn off all of the lights and close any blinds because it’s important to make the room as dark as possible. Turn on any large black lights and have children turn on their flashlights. The Neon Oil Pastels react to the light, creating a glowing effect.  As a result, this creates that WOW factor that prompts the Oohh’s and Aahh’s to echo across the room.

Sugar Skulls Glow

This awesome idea was inspired by Patty from Deep Space Sparkle. To download a free sugar skull drawing guide, click here.

About the Author:

Randi How2PlayToday

Randi is the founder of How 2 Play Today. She created this online community to share ideas and help inspire others to create. Randi has always had an interest in child psychology and has been following that passion since she was a kid herself. Over the years, Randi has been capturing adventures of her and her children and sharing these ideas on her website at This helps busy parents and caregivers who want to play more with their kids but need ideas, product suggestions, and a simple guide for activities.

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