Honor your deceased family members with this compact altar box craft idea. 

Now that you know what Dia de los Muertos is you can start exposing your children to this cultural holiday by making some traditional crafts.  Just like my attempts at finishing my Halloween crafts on time, I’m a little too late to get in on the dia de los Muertos fun, so these are some craft ideas that I want to get around to next year!


Dia de los Muertos honors your dead relatives and friends.  Altars are constructed to lead the spirits of the dead back to you so they can hear your prayers and remembrances of them.  Traditionally an altar has space to leave offerings of food and candles (to light the way for the spirits).  Try this altar box for a more compact version of the Dia de los Muertos decorative staple.

Painting and decorating a wooden cross together can help you begin a dialogue with your kids about death and the afterlife.

You can find hinged wooden boxes at most craft stores, simply stand one up and begin painting and decorating.  You can create a collage of several friends or family members or make a separate altar box for each person.  Including pictures of your loved ones and including the things they loved is a great activity for you to do with an older child (I’m thinking 7 and up) to help them learn about relatives perhaps they didn’t know very well and it will help you to never forget them.  This is an excellent replacement for plain old picture frames and allows for so much more creativity.

And you can easily make an alter box with things you have a round the house.  Use an old shoe box and some construction paper to make a kid-friendlier version of the wood and paint box.


Blogger Dee Rogers made this cute candle holder from a regular tin can, perfectly customizable for Dia d elos Muertos.

Another fun activity for this holiday is to make a painted cross.  Again, you could do something as intricate as a unfinished wooden cross (available at most craft stores) or something as simple as a cardboard cross with markers, crayons and construction paper.

You can cruise your local craft store for charms or order them online.  Use old bottle caps and paint them intricate colors.  Make small sugar skulls out of clay or simply use cardstock for a paper version of the cross.  Your kids could even put pictures of their deceased family members or pets onto the cross.


Take a regular tin can and turn it into a beautiful Dia de los Muertos candle holder for your own offering alter.  Take blogger Dee Roger’s advice and fill your can with water and freeze it over night.  This prevents the tin can from caving in when you use a hammer and nail to create your design.  Simply use a permanent marker to outline your design, I’m thinking a sugar skull would be perfect!

xo, Kristen
Kristen Hong of Hello Nutritarian

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  • hipchicka3 says:

    u can also decorate frames of your family ancestors to include on your altar it is easier than making the hole alter box!!

  • Miley's Mommy says:

    I’ve never heard of this holiday! You learn something new everyday. The artwork does look interesting!

  • Anonymous says:

    LOL this cracked me up!!! What holiday is that? LOL….