Tips for making matchbook shrines
(notes from my Artfest 2001 "Pocket Shrines" workshop)
by Aisling D'Art

In this workshop, we used playing cards with photos of Elvis, and match-sized Elvises, to create a shrine to the King of Rock 'n' Roll in a matchbook.

Click here to see the Elvis matchbook shrine, and others from Artfest 2001.


Cut collage elements bigger than you need, then trim carefully when you're working with teensy stuff.

Scallop the "match heads" first, then cut between the matches almost to the bottom of the set of matches. Leave about ¼ to ½ inch at the bottom, where the matches will be covered by the fold-up part of the matchbook, where the matches will be hot glued in place.

Also, when you trim them, leave a bit of "breathing space" around your match's head… literally.


If you're covering a matchbook, put the adhesive on the matchbook, then stick a too-large piece of paper/fabric to it.

After the adhesive dries, trim it. Then do the other side, if you want to.

The matches are best held in place by a thin bead of hot glue along the bottom edge. It will blob up, so use just a little.

Making original graphics

When you plan your "match" images, ¼ inch wide is good. Allow lots of white space beneath. Distorting the image is kind of cool, to stretch to fit.

Desaturating the image allows the graphics to match (so to speak) the widest possible range of background/collage colors.

To learn more about shrines, read Aisling's Art & Science of Pocket Shrines page.

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All original text, photos, and art are © 2001, Aisling D'Art.