How to Make Religious Nichos

How to Make Religious Nichos. 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. Explore this cultural art form by learning how to make religious nichos yourself.

Learn How to Make Religious Nichos

Make the base of your religious nicho by taking a small to medium-sized box with a fitting lid. Since nichos resemble shadow boxes, you will need to cut a hole in the lid to act as a frame for objects placed inside the nicho. To do this, use a box cutter or craft knife to make a square hole that leaves a 1/2-inch margin around its sides.

Dab some glue around the inner strip along the inside of the lid and place it on the box. Press firmly and hold the lid in place for a few moments, or tie some string around the box until the glue has dried. Gluing the lid to the box will ensure that it won't fall off while you display the nicho.

Paint the inside of the box in your color of choice. Note, however, that black makes an excellent choice, since it allows objects placed on top of it to be highly visible.

Paint the outside of the box in your color paint of choice. Alternately, you may cover the outside of the box with decorative foil or cloth.

Cut a frame for the entire religious nicho out of cardboard or heavy-duty construction paper (or other suitable material), in addition to a window in the center. This piece should be several inches wider and taller than the diameter of the box and should not obstruct the view of the center where your religious icon will be. Glue this piece in place over the front of the nicho.

Place a religious symbol of your choice in the center of the box, affixing it to the back with a bit of glue. The symbol you use may be a cross, the Virgin Mary or a saint, such as San Lázaro, the patron saint of the poor.

Embellish your religious nicho by gluing additional decorative pieces on the outside, if you wish. These might include gemstones, beads or other items.


If you wish, you may attach a piece of wire to the back of your religious nichos to hang them instead of setting them on a display table.

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