How to Make a Serape

How to Make a Serape. A serape is a brightly colored, fringed poncho or shawl worn in the Mexican culture. You can make a paper serape if you're looking for an easy costume accessory, or crochet one from wool yarn if you want a lasting item.

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Crochet a Serape-Style Poncho

Crochet a large rectangle approximately 72 inches by 36 inches in size. The serape should be wide enough to reach from one forearm to the other when you are standing with your hands stretched out at your sides and should fall at least to the knees.

In the center of the serape, leave a vertical slit large enough to put your head through. If you want the finished poncho to expose more of your neck and shoulders, make the slit longer, but not longer than the overall width of your shoulders or it will fall off your body when you wear it. Finish the sides of the head opening using an edge stitch (shell stitches, star filet stitches and basic knot stitches all work well for this purpose).

Leave fringe around the edges of your crocheted poncho for a more traditional look.

Add pockets to the serape by crocheting squares or rectangles and attaching them to the sides of the serape, over the hips. Alternatively, you can crochet one longer rectangle to the front of the poncho to act as a pouch-style pocket.

Attach ties or buttons to the sides of the serape so you can close up the sides when it's cold.

Make a Paper Serape

Gather your supplies: a large brown grocery bag, masking tape, scissors and poster paints.

Cut directly up the seam of the bag. When you approach the bottom, cut the bag in a "V" shape to make an opening for the neck.

Cut a 5-inch-wide strip from both sides of the paper bag, which creates the open sides for the serape.

Cut slits all around the edges to make fringe, or try punching holes at the bottom and inserting pieces of yarn through the holes.

Flip the serape inside-out so that the side that is visible is the plain side of the bag.

Secure the bottom of the bag by using tape.

Spread your serape out on a flat surface and paint it with pretty, bright colors.

Tips & Warnings

  • Serape style ponchos may be designed with any type of color or pattern, although stripes and simple plaids are by far the most common. Orange, tan and turquoise are among the more popular colors to use.
  • If you don't know how to crochet, check out a site like for basic instructions (see Resources below). A serape makes a good, simple project for beginners.
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