Art - Pocket Shrines - Matchbox Shrines

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Pocket Shrines

Pocket shrines are simply pocket-sized themed works of art. They are often created from matchboxes or small tins. Whatever medium you work in, pocket shrines are only limited by the imagination.

Valentine Matchbox Shrine

This pocket shrine was made from a standard matchbox measuring about 2-1/8" tall by 1-1/2" wide and 1/2" deep.

I covered the box with printed scrapbook paper, which I also used for the inside background. I added a touch of metallic gold to the edges.

Valentine pocket shrine

Materials used in the making of this pocket shrine include printed images, glitter gel pens, punched shapes, string, and a rhinestone.

Day at the Beach Matchbox Shrine

I created this shrine for a birthday RAK. I used a standard 1-1/2" x 2" matchbox for this shrine. To begin, I painted the box interior light blue. I used a palm tree punch on very heavy cardstock to cut out my palm tree shapes.

beach pocket shrineUsing scissors I cut a little island shape from the heavy cardstock and glued the palm trees to the island. Next I painted the island and trees using acrylic paints.

I then painted the water blue and added a bit of painted white foam to create waves. The sandy beach was also painted with acrylic paints. I creased the painted scene in the middle to create a dimensional image.

Clouds were created by gluing bits of fiberfill to the sky. I then glued the painted scene into the match box. The top edge (trees) stand out from the background, with the creased center edge attached to the bottom/back edge of the matchbox. The foreground (beach) slopes towards you and is attached to the lip of the matchbox.

I used Diamond Glaze to topcoat the water and give a shiny appearance. I added tiny seashell buttons (with the shanks removed) to dress up the beach.

The exterior of the box was covered with scrapbook paper, a sun image, and colorful fibers.

Product locator:
Diamond Glaze
Palm Tree Punch 1/2"
Palm Tree Punch 5/8"
Tiny Seashells - (similar to what I used)

"Fat City" Disco Matchbox Shrine

This little shrine was made for a secret swap item. I used a standard 1-1/2" x 2" matchbox for this shrine. To begin, I used a colorful image of a disco light from a catalog for my background. I coated the image with a clear spakly topcoat and glued it inside my matchbox.

disco pocket shrineNext I needed to round up some background dancers ... I snagged an image from the web and created a mini silhouette from it to fit. I then made a clear packing tape transfer from the image to place over my background image.

I layered a couple of sparkly silver sequins and glued them inside for my disco ball. It's funny how everything seemed to fit together so well.

Next I had to create a dance floor from scratch. I simply drew my angled grid and colored it in with markers. I topped each square with matching colored glitter glue - to add a bit more pizazz. I glued the floor in at an angle to create a feeling of depth.

The dancing couple was created from another silhouette. I printed this image on cardstock and carefully cut it out. I then painted over top of the image with black acrylic paint and edged the image with a metallic silver pen - so that the dancers really stand out. The image is attached with a small tab on the back and stands out from the background.

The outside of the matchbox is a bit more plain - I really wanted to create a "wow! factor" when the box was opened. I covered the outside of the box with scrapbook paper, and drew random bricks on it with Indian ink. The "Fat City" sign is stamped, embellished with glitter glue and coated with diamond glaze. The doors are drawn in ink and colored with markers.

Under the Sea Matchbox Shrine

I used a standard 1-1/2" x 2" matchbox for this shrine. I painted the interior and exterior of the box with acrylic paints in shades of green and blue. On the outside I stamped "Under the Sea" and coated with a gloss polyurethane varnish.

sea pocket shrineWorking on the interior, I used aqua colored glitter to add some background sparkle.

I created the undersea plant by drawing the plant shape with tacky glue and then "flocking" it by sprinkling the fuzzy trimmings of a green chenille stem over the glue.

I glued the following beads & buttons with tacky glue: gold bugle beads to the sea floor, 2 fish buttons in the center, and some frosted white beads for bubbles.

I finished off my shrine, by attaching a string of coordinating beads through a hole I punched with an awl. I used aqua colored embroidery floss and left a short tail. The colors appear much bolder in real life.

Another fun pocket shrine to add to my collection!

Nature Matchbox Shrine

This pocket shrine measures 1-1/2" x 2" and is slightly more than 1/4" deep. I created the matchbox from white cardstock. I covered the box with handmade green paper, which I also used for the inside background. I dry brushed over the paper with black acrylic paint to give it a bit of a weathered appearance.

hello kitty pocket shrineOn the exterior I then stamped a few leaves from a hand carved stamp and the word "NATURE" with black ink. I highlighted the stamped areas with a gold gel ink pen and a bit of glittery ink to add sparkle.

Working on the interior, I added a gold skeleton leaf to the background. I then created a little bit of "string art" to make the somewhat stylized spiderweb. The spider, itself is created from thread. I simply knotted some black embroidery thread a few times and separated the strands. I coated the spider with modge podge to stiffen it and then bent the legs to a more realtistic shape.

The spider is very delicate looking and looks very realistic. I am thrilled with how this little pocket shrine turned out!

Hello Kitty Matchbox Shrine

This simple pocket shrine was the first one I ever made. I made this to give to a fellow artist at as a RAOK (random act of kindness) .

The pocket shrine measures 1-1/2" x 2" and is about 1/4" deep. I created the matchbox from white and pink cardstock. I used handmade pink textured paper for the inside background. The images and small polymer clay flowers that I used for this pocket shrine were received in art supply RAOKs that had been sent to me. I also used glitter glue and gel pens on the inside to add some sparkle. I covered the entire outside of the matchbox with a clear gloss glitter coat.

hello kitty pocket shrine hello kitty pocket shrine

I am happy with the way this shrine turned out. I plan to create many more pocket shrines in the future.


Art-E-Zine Matchbox Shrines - General how-to info and lots of cool pictures!

Mirkwood Desings - Matchbox Template: Make a matchbox from cardstock.

The Art & Science of Pocket Shrines - This article covers the basics of creating small shrines.

Flickr: Gallery of Pocket Shrines - Tons of great photos of matchbox shrines! (over 500 photos!)


I found these cute themed matchboxes at

I also found blank matchboxes at

Of Interest:

Making Shadow Boxes
and Shrines

Stamp Artistry: Combining Stamps with Beadwork, Carving, Collage, Etching, Fabric, Metalwork, Painting, Polymer Clay, Repousse, and More