Tag Archives: craft projects

Pocket shrines

Beauty in Miniature: The Pocket Shrine


While just buzzing around the internet the other day, I clicked on a link, which led to clicking another, and another, and before I knew it, I had been introduced to the concept of the ‘pocket shrine’.  What is this? I asked myself while staring in wonder. ‘A tiny little shrine made from a matchbox? How ingenious’! (and yes, I actually did say that. My roommate thinks I’m nuts.) I was amazed to find that there are Art Swaps for these lovely little objects, classes, blogs, and even collectors out there. Seems I’ve been missing out on this, but that stops right now.

If, like me, you have never seen a pocket shrine before, let me briefly explain the idea: a pocket or matchbox shrine is a small container that has been decorated and embellished to create a piece of art dedicated to a certain theme. The theme may be religious, such as a tiny shrine to your favorite saint or deity, or it may be for encouragement and empowerment, healing, a memorial to a friend or loved one, a pet, or to express an emotion or wish. There are even shrines to fictional heroes such as Superman!

Any container is a potential shrine. Altoids tins, paper matchboxes, square, round, oblong; any shape or size you choose, as long as it is fairly small. They also seem to be simple enough to make: choose your theme and a container, then carefully clean it, dry it (not for paper, obviously) and apply paint, glue, glitter, stickers, beads, charms, gems, little bottles, coins, or other decorations of your choice.

True to my tinkering nature, I began thinking of other uses for these pretty little things: portable miniature altars, spell containers, prayers boxes, wish boxes, etc. I even thought of a few mundane uses for decorated tins like carrying hairclips and ties, little emergency makeup and sewing kits; carrying flashdrives and memory cards, manicure kits for quick repairs, tiny notebook and pencil for notes and ideas as a PDA, little incense carrier, a container for my MP3 player and so on. Who says practicality has to be ugly?

I am going to be exploring this idea myself, and making a few of these for my own and Rev. Kelly’s use. I will give you a few updates as we go and will include pictures of the final results when we have them done. If any of our readers out there want to get involved, we’d love to hear from you and maybe we can include pictures of your pocket shrines as well?  This could be fun as well as interesting, and who doesn’t love to make something both beautiful and useful?

I’ve included a few links to some sites with both instructions and pictures of pocket shrines so that you can explore these for yourself. Some of them are truly inspirational, and some are just plain fun (the shrine to Superman just makes me laugh) but all are a marvel to see. Go take a look, and then go see what you can make for yourself: embody a wish, a prayer; the memory of a loved one or fallen comrade. Praise your favorite sports icon or musician, make a shrine to your lover or pet. Carry your God or Goddess with you always in a pocket, or make your own good luck charm. Or not; your choice.

Either way, go have some fun making something.

Links to pocket Shrine sites:

http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/matchbox_shrines (with instructions)

http://www.lisavollrath.com/shrines (very nice work this girl does)

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=99533.0 (Basic ideas and info)

http://www.sassyartgoddess.com/altered_altoid_tin.htm (gorgeous and a good source of ideas)

http://www.art-shrines.com/pocketshrines.htm (this has the Superman shrine that made me laugh)

http://hobbyloco.com/shrines.html (Detailed descriptions of matchbox shrines)

http://sushibird.com/2011/02/pocket-shrines (lovely images of matchbox shrines)

There are so many more out there that I’m sure you can find an inspiration for your own shrine—a NASCAR driver or shuttle pilot, a relative who inspires you, a movie or book you love (Harry Potter, anyone?)  a wish you want to come true or anything you like.

Find your peace, friends.

Rev Zita

(I’m the one covered in glitter and glue)