How to Make a Día de los Muertos Nicho

fridakahlo_nicho_1

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

October is my favorite time of year, not just because it’s autumn, (which is my favorite season), but because this is the time of year when all kinds of creative Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) crafts and products start to pop up all over the place in preparation for the November holiday.

For Día de los Muertos, many people in Latin America create an ofrenda, or altar, to honor their deceased loved ones, so I knew I wanted to create something along those lines.

While walking around Lowe’s to brainstorm ideas, I walked past the wood moulding and noticed how the crown corners looked like little houses when turned the wrong way and this reminded me of the nichos I used to make. Nichos are a beautiful Latin American folk art which incorporate mixed media in the style of a shadow box and often serve as a religious altar. Because I already keep photos of our deceased loved ones on a permanent altar of sorts, I decided to make a nicho to honor the iconic Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.

latinaish_fridakahlo_nicho1

nicho_detail1

nicho_detail2

If you want to make a Día de los Muertos nicho, follow the directions below to get started now!

Día de los Muertos Nicho

You need:

1 large crown corner (wood moulding)
wood glue
3/8 x 4 x 24 inch pine craft board
3/4 in. x 1 in. brass hinges
2 cabinet knobs
craft paints and brushes
hand saw
small hammer
1/16 drill bit
3/16 drill bit
drill
miniature screwdrivers
measuring tape
pencil
safety glasses
sandpaper
decorations of your choosing
small photo of deceased person you’re honoring
battery operated candles

Directions:

1. Remove stickers from the wood. Lightly sand to remove stickiness if needed.

2. Carefully knock out triangular corner supports inside the corner crown.

nicho_howto1

3. Sand the corner crown to remove glue and rough edges.

4. Cut the craft board so you have two 7 1/2 inch pieces. The third piece set aside for another project.

nicho_howto2

5. One 7 1/2 inch piece will be the bottom of the nicho. The other 7 1/2 inch piece should be cut into two equal pieces measuring 3 3/4 inch – These will be the doors of the nicho. Sand these pieces.

6. Measure and pre-drill holes on doors and sides of nicho for the tiny screws that came with the hinges. (I pre-drilled these with a 1/16 bit and used my Rockwell 3RILL, which is my new favorite tool. Full disclosure: Rockwell gave the drill to me to use on my Lowe’s projects.)

Also drill holes to attach the cabinet knobs – I used a 3/16 drill bit for those.

rockwell_3rill

7. Paint pieces desired colors. Allow to dry. (Sand lightly for a slightly weathered look.)

8. Screw the knobs on the doors through the 3/16 holes you drilled. (Depending on the knobs you bought, you may prefer to find shorter bolts than the ones that came with the knob due to the width of the wood.)

nicho_howto3

9. Use a mini-screwdriver to attach the hinges to doors and then doors to nicho where you have pre-drilled holes.

10. Use wood glue to attach the bottom piece to the bottom of the nicho. Allow to dry.

11. Place photo, battery operated candles (real candles absolutely not advised!) and other decorations inside. Display on a shelf or attach a picture hanger to the back for wall display.

fridakahlo_nicho_1

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Posted on October 1, 2013, in art, beliefs, celebration, crafts, Culture, holiday, Home Improvement. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. This is so cool! I am showing this to some of my Spanish students today…I have never heard of nichos but it is such a neat way to make a mini altar.

  2. Wow! You are so crafty, a great artist.

  3. I love this! My kids enjoy this time of year and remembering all our loved ones who have passed away. I don’t tend to talk about them otherwise. We’ll have to make one of these!

  4. Beautiful, Tracy. Love the colors and idea with the crown moulding as a techo!

  5. This is great! We do an ofrenda every year but just out of a shoe box so it doesn’t last year to year, this would be great to use and redecorate every year!

  6. Stephanie @ Spanglish Spoon

    I love this idea Tracy! This year for Dia de Los Muertos we will be getting our house ready to sell at the end of the year so we will be losing a bunch of shelf space. I had been thinking about doing something like this as a result, so thanks for the idea! Love Love Love it!!

  7. What a wonderful idea! I love Fridha K.

  8. LOVE this Tracy! Such a great idea! Me encantó como te quedó and with all the little details you included :)

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