Shrine On Workshop with Kae Pea

Shrine On Workshop with Kae Pea

I designed the Milagros Collection of stamps specifically to create these special 'matchbox' shrines because I love Mexican Folk art and I especially love the art, life and history of Frida Kahlo. I designed these as, sort of, a tribute to her. After I created the stamps, I got together with my friend Gina Hubbard from Gina's Designs and we came up with Nicho Kits to coordinate with the entire Milagros Collection!

There are so many ways to use this collection, we'll use the stamps, Wood Icing, and paint along with a variety of other supplies and materials to design fantastic colorful niches to fill with your favorite art icons or photos. Beware...these babies are addicting!
 Here are some samples:


Below is the class materials list and basic instructions.

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I do. What a fun thing to create as a grouping. Make them as mini photo frames and displays for tiny treasures!

A creative variation on Mexican Folk Art Niches and Shrines
workshop by Kae Pea for RubberMoon

1) Stamps from the Milagros Collection
2) Chipboard Nicho kit #1  
     Chipboard Nicho kit #2
     Chipboard Nicho kit #3
3) Waterproof Ink pad
4) Various themed collage sheets/stickers
5) Glue (I use pva glue)
6)  paint brushes
7) acrylic paints and or various mixed media pigments such as: watercolors, neo colors, colored pencils, inks, sprays…..your choice!
8) gesso (white and/or black)

1) Wood Icing and palette knife
2) glitter / glitter glue
3) Spray Varnish ( Krylon Kamar Varnish) or Mod Podge or a brush on varnish of your choice.

***Of course you can create a shrine/nicho out of many materials such as cardboard, wood, old tins, small boxes etc. But here I share with you the shrines I designed to coordinate with my stamp images.

The important thing is to have fun and be creative.

There are also lots of ways to embellish your nicho with things like; glitter, rhinestones, rivets etc.

You may create your nicho with spiritual or religious themes such as, Our Lady of Guadalupe or The Madonna , or maybe you will want a Mexican or South American influence! You can also make shrines that include your favorite artists, movies or music. Use them as 'frames' and add tiny photos of family or pets or create them with Holiday themes ! The possibilities are endless !

Definition of NICHO

Nichos are made from mixed media and traditionally combine elements from Roman Catholicism, mestizo spirituality, and popular culture.

Characteristically "nicho" objects have different names throughout Central and South America: they may be called retablo or by other local names.

In South America, it is common to see decorative boxes called "nichos" set upon tables and pedestals to display religious icons. These boxes may serve as a religious altar (to mark a significant religious event) or to honor a patron saint.

Definition of SHRINE

A case, box, or receptacle; especially : one in which sacred relics (as the bones of a saint) are deposited

A place in which devotion is paid to a saint or deity : sanctuary, a niche containing a religious image

1. Begin with your nicho kit and coordinating nicho stamp. Paint it with white gesso, you do not have to gesso it, but this step helps give it more substance and also helps your color to be more vivid than if you painted straight onto the kraft color chip board.

2. After the "face" or "frame" piece is gessoed and dry... paint it with acrylic paints (colors you choose to compliment your 'theme')

*TIP when you paint this part, use a DRY brush and do not paint with heavy or full coverage. This will leave 'bald' spots that create a 'worn' and weathered texture. and leave spaces to rub a secondary hue into.

  1. Next, paint the top (decorative) part of the shrine. I like to use a couple different colors to compliment and accent the piece. Also keep in mind what imagery you will be using inside the 'shadowbox'.

2. Once you are sure your base color is completely dry, use a bit of a lighter hue to color in the 'bald' spaces. You can use a touch of color on a baby wipe, paper towel or just swipe with a dry brush right over the base color, as shown here:

5. Once your paint is all dry, you can further embellish with stamping and/ or painting details. Here, I just used the end of my paintbrush to add some dots along the edges (but you could add stripes, swirls, flowers, sponging....whatever YOU want!)

6. Then I set the "frame" aside and paint the 'shadowbox' part of my nicho...

* note: the center portion will, probably, be covered with your photo or image. I still like to paint it in cage any of it shows. The middle edges WILL show, as they are the 'walls' of the 'shadowbox'. The outer lips and tabs will NOT show-they will be the part that is glued to the back of the "frame/face".

7. Choose your image or piece to go inside your 'shadowbox'. This can be a photo, a clipping from a magazine, a piece of clip art, a small toy, an old piece ofjewelry, a bead, a charm, a tiny sculpture or painting or a stamped image. I often use digital art that I purchase from etsy. The options are endless and so fun to add different ephemera to your nicho !
Here I used a picture of Frida. Trim it to match the shape and size of the inside lines of the 'shadowbox' and glue it in before beginning to fold up and glue your edges...


*NOTE* I would also do any other embellishments to the insides now if I wanted to stamp or add glitter etc. It is easier to work on it flat, than to try to add anything after it is folded up.

  1. You will fold the first score lines up and in toward you. Then apply glue to all four tabs. Glue the tabs to the outside of your side walls. Hold in place until it sets up. Then fold your outer score line out as pictured in photo "d".

*see diagram at the end of this pdf

1. Fold center score lines up toward you.

2. Add glue to all four tabs

3. fold tabs and glue to the outer side walls

4. Unpainted flaps get glued to the back of the 'frame/face'

The next step is where you will decide what stamps, stamp Blankz and other embellishments you want to add to the 'face' of your shrine.
Here I chose 2 images with matching Stamp Blankz and a banner.
I stamped, painted and colored and got them ready to attach.
10. Glue your "shadowbox" piece onto the back of your 'frame'.


**Finish glueing your blankz & embellishments & touch up painting the front.
The back can be left as is or you may attach your hanger piece.
I like to paint the backside and/or cover with
Wood Icing to give it a completely 'finished' look!
Here are a few more samples! Have fun and thank you for joining me !
I am always available to answer any questions! You can connect with me and follow RubberMoon and The Moon and The Maker here:
email me at:

*this is to show you up close the score lines and folds etc. EACH Nicho Kit is shaped differently-this is an example only.*