Tag Archives: pocket shrines

Pocket Shrines Update!

Hello all you crafty people out there. I know it’s been several weeks since I started my pocket shrine project, but I wanted to give you all a small bit of news as to where it’s going. As usual, once I found these things I went a bit berserk. I bought paint, gems, glitter, glue, brushes—and then sat down and tried to figure out what I was doing. Sadly, that’s a real failing of mine that never fails to exasperate my friends.

I started thinking about all the things that could be done with these little boxes and got more than a little overwhelmed with ideas. Of course, lots of people have been doing very clever things with them. If you google ‘Altoids tins’ you will be astonished at the things folks are making out of them! Let’s just say I could never cover all the possibilities on my own; that and I don’t have a soldering gun for some of those ideas.

I finally decided to start with something fairly simple: a travelling ritual kit for Wicca.

The kit is still in progress due to time constraints, but I wanted to give you an idea of where it was going.

My first step was to paint the tin white as a primer. At this point I realized that it wasn’t a good idea to paint in the area where the lid overlaps the sides of the tin—it stuck together like it had been epoxied!

Please note for future reference: do not paint the side of the inside of the lid. Very bad idea.


While waiting for that to dry, I began the assembly of the basic tools for Wiccan ritual, representing the five traditional elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. (Some traditions only recognize four, or use Plasma as the fifth. Go with your own tradition on this.)

Water: I used a ½ inch copper pipe cap for a cauldron/chalice. Copper is a metal sacred to the goddess and the size was just about perfect. Plus using plumbing supplies guaranteed there was no toxic coating to be removed. To make it easier to pick up and prettier, I glued small cabochon gems in five colors at equal intervals around the rim. Red, yellow, green, blue and clear/white for the elements again.

Earth: I have a small polished agate that has been hanging around my jewelry box since I was a kid. What better to represent the whole world than a lovely stone of many colors?

Fire: A small tea light serves as the residence for one of the more dramatic elements, as does the smallest Bic lighter I could find. Obviously if travelling by air, this will be confiscated, so be prepared to replace this item when needed.

Air: In my tradition the wand is used to focus air energies. The wand is made from a 2 ½ inch piece of dowel, 1/8 inch in diameter. A tiny acrylic star was fastened to the end, simply because I liked it. Hey, it’s cute and still very effective. The clear star symbolizes that air cannot be seen yet gives me a directional focus when I use it. Often a small piece of cone incense can be used as the Air symbol, or a small feather works as well. Again, I recommend finding a symbol that works within your own Tradition.

Spirit: the pentacle is a painted wooden disk bought in a package of twenty from a craft store for less than three dollars US. At the moment it is only black and white, but eventually will have a white pentagram surrounded by blue, red, green, yellow and silver points of the star.


There will be an altar cloth included, but I haven’t found the right color of silk yet.  I want to use silk for two reasons: first, it is a sumptuous but not heavy fabric to use and secondly it will fold very well into a very small area in the tin. I intend to use a small handkerchief or cut down a scarf into a square that folds into the tin. It will also cut down on any rattling noises when the kit is carried in pocket or purse. It doesn’t need to be rattling like a maraca when I’m trying to be discreet.

Each of the items in the kit will have photos as soon as possdible.  As soon as I have pictures of the finished project, I will get them up for you to see. Happy Belated
Equinox, by the way, may Ostara bless you all.

Find your peace, friends.

Rev. Zita.

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)