Arte Es Vida

Day Of The Dead Death Rattle Necklace by arteesvida
December 2, 2006, 5:20 pm
Filed under: Holiday Projects, Mixed Media, Non-Traditional Jewelry


One small round candy tin (coffee house mint tins work perfectly for this project)


Primer or Gesso (I used Krylon spray primer in white)

Acrylic paint in colors of your choice (blues, yellows, reds, greens, and purples are traditional)

Small tipped paint brush

Skull stamp from the Symbols of Ancient Mexico rubber stamp collection

Un-popped popcorn kernels (or uncooked small beans, rice, or split peas)

Permanent dye ink pad in black (such as Memories or StazOn)

Jewelry grade adhesive (such as E6000 or Jewel Glue)

Future Floor Finish or a comparable non-yellowing acrylic sealant with a gloss finish

Tiger Tail or Monofilament for stringing

Seed bead mix in the colors of your choice (I used greens)

Necklace clasp (I used a toggle clasp)

2 tube crimps

Needle-nose pliers or crimping pliers


Open tin and lightly sand the outside of both pieces before priming to give the primer some “tooth” to adhere to.

Once primer is dry, paint your tin (no need to pain the inside) in the base colors of your choice. If you are using a craft acrylic paint which is somewhat thinner and less pigment-heavy, you will probably need at least two coats for good coverage.

Stamp your skull in the middle of the tin once your base coats are dry. You can use any of the stamps from the Symbols of Ancient Mexico set to great effect…but of course, the skull has the best “pun” potential as well as being the most common “Day Of The Dead” symbol available.

Add some decorative paint flourishes around the edges of your tin. I used a small square tipped brush to paint around the edges, then used the other end of my brush dipped in paint to make dots around the skull. You could also use faux gems, glitter, milagros…let your imagine go wild! Day Of The Dead decorations are known for their fabulous creativity, color, and embellishment.

Throw a few uncooked popcorn kernels into the tin and run your beading thread through the prongs in the lid before gluing it shut. Seal the whole tin with a coat of Future floor finish and let dry.

Bead up each side of your beading filament, and finish each end off with one side of your clasp and a sturdy tube crimp. If you make your strand long enough for the necklace to slip over the wearer’s head, you can just knot the filament (be sure to add some glue to keep it from slipping) and hide the knot inside one of the beads.

You’re done! And you now have a necklace that is also a working percussion instrument for your Day Of The Dead festivities!

For more information on this holiday, check out this link for lots of great information, resoureces, crafts, and recipes for Dia De Los Muertos

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