October 19
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Celebrate your Mexican ancestors with this Simple Shutter Frame Ofrenda

Photograph of simple but unique Ofrenda

Perfect addition to your table top family alter.


Photo of matterials to make shadow box Ofrenda

To make the shadow box Ofrenda, I started with a Plaid brand Shutter Frame, a wooden laser cut oval frame and some packing material that came with a small hard drive.


Photo of painted frame.

I wanted the shutters to look like “Papal Picado” so I painted each one different tissue paper colors. I painted the shadow box black, so I painted the frame in front a contrasting bright color.


Photo of the frame and Day of the Dead notions.

I pulled out all of my Day of the Dead themed notions.


Photo of oval frame.

The oval frame needed a way to float in front of the shadow box so I used hot glue to glue a couple tin flowers on the front of the frame.

Photo of oval frame.

I used hot glue to suspend the oval frame over the shadow box hole.

Photo showing the placement of the oval frame.

Center the oval frame in the space where the photo usually goes.


Photo showing the oval frame in place.

Oval frame in place.


Photo of my great grandfather

I glued a photograph of my great grandfather onto a piece of scrap cardboard I painted black to give it a stiff support to suspend behind the oval frame. I wanted a 1/4 setback between the photo and the oval frame but it would have been simple to just hot glue or tape the photograph behind the oval frame.


Photo showing gluing beads on the back of the photo.

I glued 4 beads onto the back of the photo to space the photo away from the back wall of the the shadow box, but keeping it 1/4″ from the oval frame.


Photo of portrait placement in the shadow box.

I was happy with the placement of the photo, but I did not glue the shadow box to the back of the frame yet.


Photo of decorated frame.

I used my assorted notions to decorate the frame.


Photo of close up of skull candle holder.

I used a small plastic cross and glued a skull to the cross to make a candle holder. Then I melted a one inch section from the top of a gold birthday candle, using a bit of hot glue.


Photo of decorative tape used as Papel Picado.

I had originally thought I would make tiny cut tissue paper Papel Picado for the shutters, but I found and used decorative tape to make the shutters look like Papel Picado. This was much easier and far more intricate than I would have ended up with had I followed my original plan.


Photo of Ofrenda

I made miniature Papel Picado banners to hang across the open Ofrenda.


Photo of side view

Side view



Photo of finished Ofrenda

I had intended on tucking paper marigolds in the shadowbox behind the picture but I decided the black was much more dramatic and so I left it flat black and glued the shadow box with the photo behind the frame.

I hope my tutorial has inspired you to create one of your own. Please leave any comments or questions below. I would love to hear about your genealogy crafts. If you need any of the supplies from Amazon, please click through using the Genalogy-GenCraft affiliate links below.



If you are interested in ordering from Amazon.com, please click on any of these ads to be directed to their site. Any purchases, while there, will give us a small bonus, at no extra cost to you. This will help fund the Genealogy-GenCrafts here on the web. Thanks ~ Jackie

Supplies for this Project


Other “Day of the Dead” themed items you may be interested in…

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