DIY Secular Shrine

As I sit here, I can see like two empty soda bottles and a stack of keychains I’m selling online. There’s a pot of water for dollar store gnocchi (that’s a thing in California) boiling on the stove. I may or may not be wearing pants. Just setting the scene for you, and also giving you a sense of the kind of lifestyle I… promote? I don’t think you can really call me aspirational. But some day I will be, and part of that involves cleaning out my boxes and boxes of craft supplies.

I’m in the process of burning through my DIY stuff like a toddler running short on time at the sequin table, and setting aside the rest of it to donate or sell. Also organizing it! So I’m thinking up all kinds of projects to use them, with the added bonus of ending up with decor for my room and new accessories. I’m sharing my latest project with you guys!


It’s what I call a secular shrine, although you can make one with spiritual significance if you want. Shrines exist in most cultures as a way to honor the dead, strengthen prayers, leave offerings, and tons of other stuff! Therefore I think I am able to appropriate this tradition safely, as long as I stay away from specific imagery.

You will need:

  • Styrofoam object or wooden box
  • Maybe glue
  • Adhesive fur or fabric (not if you have glue!)
  • Scissors
  • Butter knife
  • Small object
  • Agate slice or some kind of lens
  • Little jewel/gem (something not opaque)
  • Ribbons
  • Charms
  • Gold thumbtacks

Here’s a mavenx collection with some of that stuff on Amazon, if that’s your thing: Okay, on to the tutorial!

Place the agate slice on your styrofoam object and cut lightly around it with the butter knife.FullSizeRender 45.jpg

Take your butter knife and carve out a deep hole.

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You can clean up the edges with your fingers by gently rolling the beads of styrofoam apart. You may want to put down a tarp for this.

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Carve another hole in the back and put your small gem in it. This will let light in the illuminate the agate slice!

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Snuggle the agate slice into the larger hole.

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Time for the faux electroplating! Line the inside of the hole with thumbtacks, also using the thumbtacks to secure the agate slice with friction.

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Make sure the agate slice is secured in at least three places.

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Place your object of choice in the hole in front of the agate slice. You may have to secure it with ribbon or glue if you don’t want it to move around.

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Cut a transparent or translucent piece of plastic out of something plastic. Or buy it at a fabric store. Whatever.

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Secure the plastic with tape or adhesive fabric, then cover the rest of the shrine with fabric. You will need to secure it in strips if the shrine is rounded.

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Wrap your shrine in ribbons, glue rhinestones to it, glitterize it, just generally put the finishing touches on it. Add a ribbon loop if you want to hang it.

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Ok oh man we are DONE! Let’s look at our handiwork.

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You could also find a way to incorporate potpourri, a music box, or anything else you wanted that would fit. What do you plan to enshrine?


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