The Art of Darkness

DIY “Tin” Altar

July 19th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Tin AltarMetal folk-art nichos are a common part of Dia de Los Muertos shrines for the dead, and usually display either religious icons or photographs of the deceased person being honored.

Crafting for Cheapskates has a dynamite tutorial for making “tin” nichos out of disposable aluminum baking pans. The instructions are super-easy, with lots of suggestions for optional embellishment, plus work-arounds for those of a less-artistic bent.

Nichos are often on the colorful-shading-into-garish side, so in addition to the paint/nail polish the tutorial suggests you could also glue on sequins, fake jewels, or bits of metallic fabric trim.

These are cheap and easy enough that you could experiment with a range of shapes and decorations, and they’d make an interesting group craft too: Invite some friends over for dinner and altar-making. It’d also be a good project for kids; you could cut the basic shapes in advance and let them etch lines and dots with something blunt-ish like a ballpoint pen. (Particularly with kids, the intent doesn’t have to be “honoring a dead thing” so much as “paying homage to something you love.”)

Set them up in a shrine, hang them on your wall, or mass them on an end table. You could even make small ones and use them as holiday ornaments.

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