Day of the Dead Shrines

In this second installment in our October series on putting together a creative Day of the Dead celebration we are going to be talking about shrines, which will be a part of your  Ofrenda (alter). Some of the common features of these shrines are skeletons, marigolds and items pertaining to the person you are honoring. Don’t let the word “Shrine” trip you up. It’s not a religious, worshipping thing,  shrine is currently used as a definition for three dimensional works of art focused on a single theme. You could make a “travel” shrine or a ” love” shrine if you aren’t into making a memorial. Here’s how describes them:



A container or receptacle for sacred relics; a reliquary.

For artists, shrines and assemblages are generally sculptures incorporating found objects. A shrine might not be for sacred objects, but for the celebration of a theme or idea close to the artist’s heart.

I decided to make my Grandpa’s shrine flat as opposed to a box as I wanted to be able to frame it or put it in an album. The two things he loved most in the world were the great outdoors – specifically flowers – and me. So in this piece remembering my Grandpa, I used pictures of him and I together and flowers.

The base of this shrine is one of the fantastic ouchless pieces of cardboard available at the Gauche Alchemy Artfire store and the flower is cut from a piece of wallpaper also available from GA. I’ve never worked with wall paper before and it’s AWESOME! I am notoriously clumsy and spastic yet I was able to fussy cut the flower without causing any rips or tears. Yay! Otherwise I used some acrylic paint, distress ink and a book page. Click on any of the pics below to get yours 🙂

cardboard 12x12 wallpaper 12x12 career-girl-paper-2

I liked the shape of this so much that I used a matching piece of Fancy Pants felt and make a memorial remembering my husbands grandmother. Grandma McDonald was a lovely, soft-skinned woman who held my hand and told me stories from her past. During her retirement she sewed and embroidered decorative pillows some of which we are honored to own. To make the memorial more meaningful I printed a photo of the day I spent with Grandma on to fabric and sewed it to the base and then stuffed it with fiber-fil to make it into a pillow.

All the embellishments , including the fabric are from the  green mixed-media color kit. ( Did you know we are having a contest to name this little beauty right now? We are! You can read more about it here).


Once you’ve made a shrine of your own, be sure to enter it in the Crafty Chica Day of the Dead Shrine Challenge. There  is an awesome prize package up for grabs and the  Flickr group is an excellent source of inspiration.

In case you’re wondering, we will be making some traditional skeleton and skulls Day of the Dead projects this month. Since the purpose of the holiday is the remember those you’ve lost, I wanted to make memorials my top priority before embarking on the creation of fun decorations. Tune in next week for Part Three.


5 Responses

  1. Wonderful projects!

  2. i am absolutely in love with these layouts! that corrugated cardboard just makes the whole darn thing! super duper cool!

  3. Oh, Nicole. This is awesome. I love what you did on both of these fun ‘frames’.
    As always, your work is wonderful.

  4. Wonderful addition to the first part of this article series, and very informative! Thanks for including a personal experience with your grandfather, that definitely helped me relate with the whole day of the dead holiday.

  5. WOW! Those shrines are beautiful!! Great job!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: