Thursday, June 23, 2011

Make Your Own Shrines!

I know I'm slightly late to the game on this idea, (maybe a couple thousand years late) but I've been discovering lately that having an actual physical shrine to look at while you're engaging in Spiritual Stuff And Things can be a big help.  So I decided to make some of my own.

It's a fairly cheap endeavor.  All you need is:

- A shadowbox, which can be found online or at Michael's.  At Michael's, especially, they're heavy and durable, and have been Buy One, Get One For A Penny for couple months now, but you'll have to check to make sure if that sale is still running.

- CARDTSOCK-weight paper.  Very important.  Doing this with regular printer paper will make things way too flimsy.  You can buy cardstock at Walmart for 5 bucks a pack.

- Scissors, and an X-acto knife, if you want to be able to cut out the spaces between elbows and torsos, etc...

- A glue stick (preferrably Elmer's Craft Bond, as it's stronger glue than a regular school glue stick)

- Possibly double-sided tape, if you're not into using a hot-glue gun

- Your computer and a printer

- Embellishments of whatever kind you find appealing, as long as it can be glued or taped on.  I'm partial to beads, simple ribbon, and Dresden trim.  Seriously, metallic Dresden is the miracle embellishment.  Slap it on ANYthing, and that thing will look classier and more Victorian in two seconds flat.  (Eternal thanks to Wendy for turning me on to it!)

Okay, so here's the first example:

I've tried and tried over the past few months, but I have yet to figure out what angle to take a picture from so as to properly show off the depth of these shadowboxes.  As soon as the flash goes off, bam, the shadows inside the box are canceled out.  So, just a heads up, this thing is deeper than it looks in the picture.

This is a shrine that's meant to be a sort of charm for me and my oldest friend.  The main components are all tarot imagery, taken from the Universal Waite deck.

And here's the other.  A Mother Goddess shrine, and probably my favorite shrine I've ever made:

These shrines are one of those things that are "easy, but not simple".  They do take a lot of time to make, but the actual process is definitely not rocket science:

- Go online and find images that will either symbolically or literally represent whatever it is you're spiritually going for.  Imagine a scene in your head that you could re-create in the shadowbox.  Google Images is an indispensible resource for this stuff.  There are some amazing blogs and websites out there that post vintage images for people to use, like The Graphics Fairy and Agence Eureka.

- The printing part can be kind of tricky. I use ACDSee, which lets you adjust the image size in increments before printing, so you know approximately what size it will come out.  I do this kind of thing by eye, which can be slightly trial and error, but those of you out there who are good at math could probably figure out dimensions more easily.

- Cut out the images.  If you're not someone who does a lot of cutting here's a tip:  As you're cutting, move the paper, not the scissors.  It helps a ton, believe me.

- Choose a background to be glued to the inside back of the shadowbox.  I tend to like ancient celestial maps for this purpose.  If you're interested in going that route, you can find awesome ones at Vintage Printable.  But nature scenes are also excellent, as are Victorian rooms.

- What you do to attach your images to the background and make them stand out away from it is very simple:  cut a semi-thin strip of cardstock, fold it over 4 times and then glue the two ends together to make a square.  Glue one side of the square to the back of your image, and then the opposite side of the square to the background.  And there you go, it's a pop-out picture!

- Once you've got your scene done, you just re-attach the box to the backing, and voila!  Shrine complete!

- If you want to make the outside of the shrine look cool, go into the above-mentioned Agence Eureka's archives.  She posts incredibly awesome theatre prosceniums from vintage European papercraft books.  This is where the double-sided tape comes in.  Once you cut out your outer embellishment, whether it be a theatre proscenium or whatever, you can attach it with double-sided tape.  This works especially well with the Michael's shadowboxes, as their outsides are, like, laquered or something, and a glue stick isn't the best option.  Just make sure you get the kind that's labeled "permanent" instead of "photo-safe".  After a certain amount of time, the tape bonds with the paper and you don't have to worry about it peeling off.

So, that's that!  If anyone decides to make one of these, send along a picture, and I'll post it in the blog!


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