How to Make a Matchbox Pocket Shrine - Miniature Craft Project

by KathleenDuffy

Make a pocket shrine from a matchbox to celebrate a special occasion, as a gift or just for fun. This is an absorbing craft project that is very addictive.

Making a matchbox shrine is a very personal way of "enshrining’" a memory, a special occasion, a dream, a strange idea or comic concept. Anything goes and although a matchbox is a small project the idea itself can be big.

Matchbox shrines make great substitutes for cards on birthdays and at Christmas. They can be given as a small thank you present or a little gesture when someone is going through a hard time – or a cheeky, funny gift.

Children will especially enjoy this craft project as they are often fascinated by miniature worlds.

Choosing a Theme for a Matchbox Shrine

Exterior of Matchbox Shrine
Exterior of Matchbox Shrine
c. K Duffy

Before beginning to work on the shrine, try to have a theme. In this way it’s possible to concentrate on one idea, giving focus to the project.

The shrine featured in this article was created to celebrate a six year-old being elected to the school council.

Since the school is a Catholic school, there is a slight religious overtone with the inclusion of two angels, although matchbox shrines can, of course, be anything but religious. In this case there was a five pound note placed in the match box shrine for extra incentive!

Materials Needed for Making a Matchbox Pocket Shrine

Interior of Matchbox Shrine
Interior of Matchbox Shrine
c. K Duffy

The shrine shown in this article was made from a large matchbox measuring 7 cm x 12 cm (approx. 5 in x 3 in). Of course, a smaller matchbox can be used, but as this was for a small child it was felt that the larger sized matchbox would be easier to handle.

Back of Matchbox Shrine
Back of Matchbox Shrine
c. K Duffy

Now is the time to search through all those untidy drawers and jewellery boxes and collect anything that’s never going to be used again – beads, lace, old earrings, pieces of silky material, old watches, little models of people, animals or tiny children’s toys. In fact, things that once wouldn’t have been given a second glance will now take on a whole new lease of life. Recycling was never such fun!

 

Start collecting glitter paints and pens, ordinary felt-tip pens, metallic pens, magazine pictures, bits of silver paper, sweet wrappers, old photographs and postcards that can be scanned and re-sized.

Buy various types of glue, buttons, jewellery etc. from the thrift store or specialist craft shops, along with children’s diamante stickers, stick-on pictures, confetti, sequins and anything shiny that can enhance the project. Visit craft fairs and boot sales, market stalls and charity shops.

Side of Matchbox Shrine
Side of Matchbox Shrine
K Duffy

Here's Some Fantastic Large Match Boxes

They make an interesting base for your own ideas!
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Steps in Making a Matchbox Shrine

Matchbox Shrine Half Open
Matchbox Shrine Half Open
c. K Duffy

This is the way the matchbox in this article was created, but it’s all down to personal choice – there are no rules.

  • Cover the surfaces of the matchbox with a coat of white acrylic paint or gesso and leave to dry (alternatively dry with a hairdryer, or place near the radiator).
  • Cover with further layers of paint, allowing to dry in between coats. Use diluted acrylics, glitter paints, metallic pens and/or inks – just let the imaginative juices flow.
  • Decide on the items to stick on the inside tray and outside top of the matchbox. These can include spontaneous crafting materials such as diamante stickers of various shapes, photographs that have been scanned and re-sized, bits of paper dipped in tea to make them look old, writing, rubber stamps, old postage stamps, bits of a watch, tiny feathers – anything goes. If the matchbox shrine is to be a gift, making it personal to the recipient is an extra challenge and joy.
  • Make sure the glue used is strong enough to hold the embellishments and allow to dry.
  • Finish off by touching up the box with metallic pens and splashes of glitter paint, or any last-minute inspired ideas that pop up.

More Ideas for Crafting All Sorts of Shrines, etc.

Order from Amazon

Further Information on Matchbox Shrines

Some useful websites

Making shrines from matchboxes can become very addictive and there are many sites on the internet with further information and ideas. There are hundreds of inspirational ideas for pocket shrines to be found online.

Click here to see an amazing collection of matchbox shrines!

Crafting Items to Order from E-Bay

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Updated: 06/20/2014, KathleenDuffy
 
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KathleenDuffy on 06/22/2013

Yes, some of those 'shrines' on the internet are amazing aren't they! Glad you enjoyed having a look! Thanks :)

Ragtimelil on 06/22/2013

I love it! I knew someone who made matchbox keepsakes, but none as nice as these! Never heard them referred to as a shrine.

KathleenDuffy on 06/22/2013

Thanks jptanabe - I hope you get someone to take the hint and make you one! :)

jptanabe on 06/22/2013

Cute and beautiful! Nice instructions, but I'm not good at crafts so won't make any myself. I could suggest to someone else that I love these matchbox shrines though!

KathleenDuffy on 06/21/2013

Hi Sheilamarie - I think I picked up your mind waves last night! :) I too must get cracking and make some more - (I've inspired myself !)

sheilamarie on 06/21/2013

Kathleen, you've read my mind! I've already collected the matchboxes and all the little decorative features and have been itching to make some of these. All I needed was your little push in this article. Thanks for the inspiration.

KathleenDuffy on 06/21/2013

Glad you like it! It's good fun.

kimbesa on 06/21/2013

I'm going to have to start collecting bits and pieces for one of these, and find my glue and paints. Thanks!

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