Friday, January 20, 2012

Cigar Box Altar: Craft Project for the Weekend

I had the desire today, to create more sacred space in my home.  I have a couple of spots set up as altars, but I want more.

There are not a lot of available places to do this.  We don’t have a big house, and although as an almost-empty-nester, I do need to do some serious closet cleaning, for the most part the space in my house is efficiently utilized.  There’s not a lot of extra space, so, it becomes a matter of spaces serving multiple purposes.

I had this insane brainstorm today.  I got my husband some good cigars for Christmas.  Good, meaning I actually like the smell of them myself.  Good, meaning you buy only one or two of these little babies at a time.  Because they’re a little more pricey than your average stogie.  But it was his Christmas, and he’s worth it.

So I found a good local smokeshop (hubby shops online) and bought 4 cigars, of 2 of his favorite kind.  I was very surprised when I was handed 2 very nice wooden boxes!  The shop owner explained, as luck would have it, I was buying the last two of those particular brands/variety, and so, I could have the box they came in.  That day, I learned that good cigars don’t come in cardboard boxes.  Bonus!  Now I had a really nice box to wrap and put under the tree.

My husband loved my cigar choices;  he saves his favorites for Friday and Saturday evenings. So he put his new cigars into his humidor, leaving the wooden cigar boxes empty.  The boxes were too beautiful to toss in the post holiday garbage.  Stained wood, felt linings… they had to have a use.  But what?

My answer came today.  Cigar box mini altars!  This weekend I will be on the lookout as I walk the dogs, for natural symbols.  And I’ll visit the craft stores and the second hand shops.  What mini representations can I find for the four elements and the God and Goddess?  What can I use for mini candle holders?  (Birthday cake candles would be a perfect size.)  All these elements will be placed inside the box, which I can put on a bureau or some other spot.  The boxes are very attractive and will fit nicely into several spaces I have in mind.  When I want and need to, I simply open the box, and I have a physical focus for reflection and meditation.   I have two boxes… perhaps I could devote each one to a different deity?  What fun.  It’s great to find a positive focus for my creative energies!

May the Lord and Lady bless you with inspiration and ingenuity.


  1. You have just stumbled upon a passion of mine... the mini altar. I am cRaZy about them. For myself, I like to repurpose old wooden boxes I find in thrift stores -- you know those sad tourist souvenir boxes with the tacky slogans & photos decoupaged on them, or the cedar boxes w/so much lacquer that they cannot breathe, or the box some poor soul with a set of neon acrylic paints used as a canvas for their crafting learning curve. I find all sorts of accoutrements for them everywhere...

    In my mind, I think, "Someday I will sell these..." but who knows when that will actually happen. So for now I just enjoy the thrill of the hunt, the inspiration & imagination. The dreams with their visions for the next box.

    On a practical note, I know where you can get natural beeswax candles in either birthday candle or the chime candle size. They are lovely. There are also turned wooden candleholders for both those sizes. I have stained several different sets to match specific boxes.

    One idea that I had, which was used for a box in a community silent auction/fundraiser in December, was to keep sculpting clay in the box -- the kind that never dries. Then, you can mould the clay to represent the deity of your choice right then & there, on site, in the moment. This makes it more personal & more meditative (IMHO), helping you focus & align yourself with the energy of your choses deity. Just throwing that out there. ;)

    You are so fortunate to receive such nice boxes, I only dream of finding boxes like that. I believe they will serve you very well. May your project bring you much joy & may the gift of inspiration be yours.

  2. Thanks! There is something about boxes! A few years ago I spent some time buying those unpainted boxes you can get at craft stores. Then I painted them, decorated them with rubons, and lightly seal them with acrylic spray. I sold quite a few of them at a local craft fair, they proved to be pretty popular.

    You should check and see if there's a smoke shop somewhere near you. I bet if you asked, the proprieter might save some boxes for you...