Sugar skull cookies are extremely popular but they can be pretty intimidating. One thing that makes them hard to make, if you are a perfectionist, is keeping everything symmetrical. One swirl or eye not on center can throw off the whole design. This is when stencils come to the rescue. The whole face on the stencil is perfectly symmetrical, all you have to do is center it on the cookie.
I used this set of cutters to make the cookies. I like these skulls because they are good size and come with a design that can be stamped onto the cookie before baking. The thing that I don't like is if you flood the cookie, then the design/pattern is lost. This is another great reason to use a stencil. I used this stencil to create the skull faces. There is another three part sugar skull stencil available too that makes using different colors a bit easier.
Once the white base was dried, I took the stencil and used VERY thick white icing to stencil the face. I allowed that icing to dry for 10-20 minutes. Once the face was dry, I placed the stencil back on the cookie (it snaps right on over the royal icing). Then I airbrushed the faces using different colors for each section of the face. I used wax paper to cover the section I was not airbrushing. There was a bit of under spray, but I liked how it created a shadowing effect.
Flowers are a big part of Día de Muertos. I knew that I wanted to add some flowers to the eyes to make them pop. I used three different kinds of flowers. The green daisy came from Wilton's (you can find them here). The daisies fit nicely in the center of the eye. They have a rounded base so they give a 3D effect. Each package has multiple colors which works well for this project. For the roses on the middle skull, I used white fondant and a rose mold. This is the mold and I used the middle sized rose. Once the roses hardened a bit, I used the airbrush to add some color to them. The roses are nice because you can make as many as you need and make them whatever color you want. The red flowers are royal icing and I purchased from here. The flowers are sold in large quantities, so you will need other uses for them. They also have a small leaf that has to broken off. Each of these flowers have pro and cons, but you can't go wrong with whatever you choose.