This year my Halloween Theme was 'Day of the Dead', so I wanted to greet my guests with the 'Day of the Dead' Alter or Ofrenda.
Enjoy my Instructable!
Step 1: Step 1: Alter Base Supplies (everything You Already Have On-hand)
To build the alter I started with the following:
- 2 pieces of furniture - It doesn't matter what they look like, as they will be covered. However, they should be stable, since you will be building your alter with these as the base.
- Used boxes in all shapes and sizes. I used whatever I had laying around the house.
- Packing tape to secure the boxes to the bases and each other.
Optional: I used a piece of MDF board for the top of the front furniture piece because the furniture top was smaller than I wanted. I nailed a strip of molding on the MDF that matched the edges of the furniture top to stop it from sliding if someone bumped it.
Step 2: Assembling the Alter
- Place the furniture pieces where you want the alter located. I used 2 pieces of furniture, but you really only need 1 to get a complete look.
- Stack the boxes in the center of the furniture top to create small 'steps'. Mine are between 3 and 5 inch steps. Don't attach anything until you like the look of your alter. Play with turning boxes on their sides to get the look you want to achieve.
- Once you are happy with the layout of the boxes, secure them to each other and the furniture base with LOTS of packing tape.
Step 3: Adding Fabric to Cover Alter Base
For the fabric to cover this alter, I used the following:
- Large white tablecloth (alter front and main shelf)
- Piece of black fabric (Shelves 1 & 2)
- Piece of red fabric (Shelves 3, 4, & 5)
- Halloween black skull lace to decorate front
- Embroidered napkin and table runner to further embellish the shelves.
The white tablecloth I owned and the Black Skull fabric I purchased at a major fabric retailer. All the other fabric I purchased very inexpensively at a Charity Store.
Step 4: Final Step: Get Creative and Decorate the Alter
Since I was decorating the alter for a Halloween Party, I wanted to keep the decorations light and festive.
There are a few items that I have seen 'Day of the Dead' alters all contain: Flowers, Candles, and Photos.
Candles: I used mainly flameless candles, but I did have some real candles on the stable main shelf that I lit when guest were arriving and I was right there to keep an eye on the flame.
Flowers: I used silk flowers in many cases, and some live marigold heads (the traditional 'Day of the Dead' flower) on the alter.
Photos: Since this was for a 'Day of the Dead' Halloween Party, I didn't want to use pictures of departed family members. SO...I used some 'old school' cartoon characters - Speedy Gonzales, Slowpoke Rodriguez, Quick Draw McGraw as 'el kabong', and his sidekick Baba Looey.
In addition, I added:
- Sugar Skulls
- Mexican traditional candy
- Religious statues
- Fully dressed skeletons to complete the look (see my other Instuctables to make the Skeleton Stand)