Dia de los Muertos Matchbox

altar close up

Finally. In earlier posts, I’ve mentioned my “secret skelly project” and here it is — part of the Craftster.org Matchbox Swap (partner #2). The Matchbox Swap is all about decorating the outside of a matchbox and packing the insides of the box with all manner of craft supplies.

The minute I read my second swap-mate’s list of themes, I knew her topic of “day of the dead” was the one for me. I quickly decided to make a Dia de los Muertos Altar.


The altar includes: “papel picado” (“pierced paper,” representing the wind); candles (representing fire), various fruits and vegetable (representing earth), a small bowl on the top shelf filled with water (representing water), sugar skulls, a loaf of “pan de muertos”, a picture of the deceased and some bottles of her favorite beverages.

I know. Hard to see “matchbox” in that pic — maybe this one will help:

matchbox shot

By the time this photo was taken, I’d already lost control of the project.

Yes, that is a cracked-open rib cage attached to the box.

You see, while I was working on the altar, I remembered that I had some skeletons and I thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if I used a skull as the drawer pull?”

After that it’s pretty much a blur. I never meant to use the entire skeleton, but use her I did. And I never meant to dress the entire skeleton, but dress her I did. Suddenly, my simple altar became an object held by a full-fledged Catrina.

These things happen when you allow your projects to control you.

dia de los muertos, "catrina"

The dress is made from ribbon and glue. Seriously. I forgot to take a photo while I was building the dress, but here’s a shot just to demonstrate the process (this piece wasn’t used in the final product).

ribbon wrap dress

dia de los muertos, "catrina"

I debated about making a crown for the hat, but Mr. Jivvy very much liked her bony head peeping out the back of her enormous hat and I had to agree. Looks cool, less work. I’m a happy camper.

dia de los muertos, "catrina"

dia de los muertos, "catrina"

dia de los muertos, "catrina"

And a shot just to prove that, yes, the matchbox drawer is still functional (and stuffed with goodies). 😉

dia de los muertos, "catrina"

5 comments for “Dia de los Muertos Matchbox

  1. Carolyn
    May 10, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Oh no you didn’t! Now I understand the comment about hard to dress with the rib cage cracked open. She is magnificent! I am kneeling at you feet in utter awe of you talents – You had me hooked with the weird circus tin now I am totally blown away. I will sit here and take her in while I anxiously await your next post.

    • Jivvy
      May 14, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      You raise my spirits every time you comment, thank you.

      heh, I decided it wasn’t “too” risque to have her be topless… and I love seeing her backbone and ribcage.

  2. Maranda
    July 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    I just came across your blog via Swap-bot’s weekly blog and your work is AMAZING! I love the details. You are so talented! Keep up the great work and thank you for sharing it via this blog. I will check back often to see what other lovelies you create : )

  3. September 19, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Wow, there simply aren’t words to express the utter awe I am in right now.

  4. Sharon
    November 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    OMIGOD! Love Dia de los Muertos and love your matchbox art and Katrina! FANTASTIC! I so want to make one now! Thanks for sharing your wonderful art!

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