How to Make Your Own Hidden/Portable Shrine

Updated on May 29, 2018
WiccanSage profile image

A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.

Portable Shrine of Hecate

Wiccan shrine.
Wiccan shrine.

Wiccan Shrine

Creating a Wiccan shrine is a great way to connect with one's deities on a daily basis. Going to your shrine for small offerings, prayers and meditations help you build your relationship with Gods and/or Goddesses. I find that utilizing a shrine daily not only satisfies me in knowing that I am giving them the honor they're due, but also helps me attune to them better so that I can be more open to their messages, guidance and energy.

I recently decided to change my permanent, dresser-top shrine to a portable one. That way I can tote it with me on vacations, to the park, or to my mother’s when I go visit her for the weekends. I realized this would be a perfect option for someone who has very limited space, or who lives with people that would be less than respectful of their shrine.

So here is a guide for how I created my new portable shrine, but it's not a step-by-step tutorial because I only mean to inspire you with ideas. I encourage you to use my ideas as a springboard and get creative to make the project your own.

My Original Box

I was given this cigar box ages ago and painted it. I used to use this box to hold my altar supplies like incense and crystals a couple of decades ago, before my collection outgrew it.
I was given this cigar box ages ago and painted it. I used to use this box to hold my altar supplies like incense and crystals a couple of decades ago, before my collection outgrew it.

Materials & Supplies

A box (I prefer the unfinished wooden boxes)
Sand paper
Damp rag or tack cloth
A symbolic representation of your deity
Items or symbols sacred to your deity
Small stick or cone incense burner
Votive candles in holders
Small bowl or shell for offerings
Craft Supplies for your desired craft (see below)
Clear acrylic spray or polyurethane to protect it (optional, depending on your craft of choice)

The Preparation Stages

Start by preparing your box for your craft. This can make everything that follows much easier. Sand the box smooth, clean it well and wipe it down. Make sure it's good and dry.

Now is a good time to decide two things: what you want your box to look like, and how you want to decorate it.

When considering the design of your box, consider what would appeal to you. Perhaps you might want to cover it in symbols or designs. Perhaps you want it to be fairly neutral and less conspicuous on the outside so others won't mess with it.

There are many ways to decorate your box. Here are a few:

  • paint it
  • stencil it
  • apply stickers/decals to it
  • cut and paste things to it (decoupage)
  • cover it with paper, fabric, foil, ribbons, lace, etc.
  • use a wood burning tool to decorate it
  • faux paint treatments (make it look like marble, leather, etc.)
  • Gold or silver leave it
  • Stain it

You can also do any combination of techniques you wish.

I've chosen to paint it on the inside, and give it an antique tin look on the outside with aluminum foil. I wanted to create a raised design, so I employed the use of 'puffy paint'.

The Process in Pictures

You could glue an image or plaque right in there if you wish.
You could glue an image or plaque right in there if you wish.
Note the puffy paint creating texture.
Note the puffy paint creating texture.
Texture creates cool raised images under the foil. Gotta love puffy paint.
Texture creates cool raised images under the foil. Gotta love puffy paint.
Shadow & light-- always beautiful.
Shadow & light-- always beautiful.
Decorative enough for any shelf, small enough to carry or stash anywhere.
Decorative enough for any shelf, small enough to carry or stash anywhere.
Ribbon hinge stoppers-- the glue will dry clear.
Ribbon hinge stoppers-- the glue will dry clear.

Start Decorating

Like I said, how you decorate is up to you. But I'll share my process with you.

I started by painting the box with several coats of red paint on the insides. I wanted to give it a great, bold color. I then printed out images of serpents and cut the design out with a craft knife to create stencils. I taped them on the inside of the box to stencil in the serpent symbols because they are related to my Goddess.

I printed some Greek designs, Hecate's wheel symbol, etc. from the internet, and used carbon paper to transfer the design to the outside of the box. I then traced over these with 'puffy paint' to give it texture. I let it dry for a day.

I then brushed Elmer's glue all over the top. I took a long sheet of heavy duty foil and covered the top (I crinkled it slightly to create some texture). I also covered the bottom with a sheet of foil. I used my trusty craft knife to cut around the latches.

I rubbed the foil well so the puffy paint would create impressions of my designs. To bring the designs out even more, I brushed black acrylic paint all over the foiled surface. After it dried, I wiped away most of the dry paint with a paper towel. This allowed all the raised areas to shine, while the creases and crevices stayed dark. This not only gives it a wonderful 'antique' look, but it creates contrast and really made the designs pop.

I added ribbon stoppers to the box to prevent the hinge from letting it swing all the way open. That way my box would retain a nice L-shape when open. I simply cut red ribbon to the appropriate length while propping up the box, glued and stapled it into place on each side.

I finished off the whole thing with a nice couple of coatings of clear, uv-protective acrylic sealer.

What to Put In It

A 'down shot' into the shrine. I'm looking for a new stick incense burner, that sky blue isn't doing it for me.
A 'down shot' into the shrine. I'm looking for a new stick incense burner, that sky blue isn't doing it for me.

Putting Your Shrine Together

Now that you've got the container all made, it's time to make it your shrine. If you like, you can perform a ritual to consecrate it, and consecrate all the items you put inside.

I like to put in an offering bowl, because I always make small offerings when I go to my shrine. Try a dollar store or second hand shop to find something you like!

I also put some symbols of my Goddess: black ribbon, keys, and two gold votive 'torches'.

Stick an incense burner in there-- I like to use cone or stick incense at the shrine for simplicity.

For me, I added a small statue of Hecate. If you don't have a statue of your deity, you can purchase a figure that represents them-- an animal, perhaps (such as an owl for Athena, a stag for Herne, etc). Or you can just glue an image on the inside cover. Whatever you feel makes a good representation of your deity will suffice.

Or Make Simple Candles:

Resize an image of your deity, print it, and glue or tape it around the glass casing of a pillar candle. Affordable and effective. I use these on my ritual altar during worship.
Resize an image of your deity, print it, and glue or tape it around the glass casing of a pillar candle. Affordable and effective. I use these on my ritual altar during worship.

Tell me

Have I inspired you to create your own shrine?

See results

Using the Shrine

Now, I can set up and break down my shrine within a minute. I just open it up and put the statue and two candles in place on the ledge created by the inside of the cover. I can light the candles, burn the incense, make the offering, and leave it open as long as I wish.

When I'm done, I can extinguish the candles, discard the incense ashes and return the offering to the Earth, then lay the statue and candles inside before closing it up. The height of practicality.

I can grab it and put it in a bag, then take it with me to anyplace I may go. I can do my daily devotionals in hotel rooms, the hospital, when I go camping or to Pagan festivals, in my garden or at the beach. If I don't want people to see what's in it when they visit my home, I only have to shut it and put it on a shelf, slip it under the bed or stash it in a closet.

Like a miniature sacred temple, the inside is eternally consecrated to the Goddess and protected from the outside world.

Think about all the creative possibilities-- your artistic talent level is irrelevant, as long as you decorate it in a way that is pleasing to you and honoring your deities.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Rachell 

      2 months ago

      This is awesome and I'm putting this in my favorites! I'm in the closet with my family and until I move out I can't have an altar out in the open. Being able to close it and store it away out of sight when I'm not using it will help a lot. Thanks for the ideas, this weekend I'll be going into a craft store and see what ideas I come up with!

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      15 months ago

      Yes, absolutely. That is a personal choice, whatever you need. I have a portable, one in my bedroom, I used to have one in a yard (I don't have a yard now, lol, but I would if I did). And my family makes them for our ancestors at Samhain that is for all of our use (and our guests). There's no real limit.

    • profile image

      Kaitlyn Chaney 

      15 months ago

      Can you have more than one shrine? Say you have a dresser top shrine, and then a portable one. Is that okay?

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      3 years ago

      Thank you! That is one of the reasons I love make my own tools as often as possible. It always adds that extra energy that really binds them to me. Thanks for commenting!

    • SM OBrien profile image

      Sharon OBrien 

      3 years ago

      I love this. I have made tiny, portable altars using mint tins, but this is beautiful. Also, you are infusing your energy into the creation of the shrine - a definite plus. I especially love the idea of making candles for your specific deities and I am absolutely going to be doing that!

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      3 years ago

      Thanks Brandt, I appreciate your comments. Glad to hear it's something you can use, I'm finding it quite convenient myself.

    • Brandt Odhinson profile image

      Corey J Polesel 

      3 years ago from Delanson NY

      This is great! I'm always going somewhere and sometimes that would be just right for me.

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      3 years ago

      Thanks, sounds like it's just what you need!

    • profile image

      SFIAOgirl021 

      3 years ago

      that'll be so great for me right now I only have a shrine in my mind like an astral shrine because I have nowhere to set it up to where it'd be private because I live with lots of other people who wouldn't understand but in the future when I'm able to get my own place this will be absolutely perfect for me thanks for this it's a great hub.

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      3 years ago

      Thanks Catherine, sure-- decorative boxes always make a nice little storage and organization solution. Thanks for commenting!

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      3 years ago

      Thanks Silva, I like that about it too.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Fabulous. I don't need a portable shrine, but this could work to create a decorative box for any purpose. A souvenir box or a jewelry box or box for love letters. Voted up i, b, u.

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 

      3 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Love this idea! How creative and clever, plus I like the secretive, private nature of this personal shrine.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very cool! Not for me but passing it on. Have a great Tuesday my talented friend.

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