DIY Floral and Fruit Day of the Dead Altars
If I had to put all of my favorite things in numerical order it would go something like this:
5. Fiestas (ok, I could have used parties here, but I was on a roll with the “f” thing, so I just went for it!)
Today ALL of those things are coming together in this one post and I couldn’t be more excited! I am teaming up with my wonderful friends at Melissa’s Produce and the coolest flower diva I have ever had the privilege of meeting Mer Ambruso to share a fun little DIY about how to make the floral and fruit Day of the Dead altars we had decorating our feast a few weeks ago. These mini altars are fun to make, easy enough for your kids to help, relatively inexpensive and they dry beautifully so you can enjoy them for months to come.
Here’s what you will need to make your own floral and fruit mini altar:
Empty frame – any size will work, it just depends on how big you want the altar to be. We picked up ours at the flea market!
Images printed out as closely to the size of your frame as possible – we Google searched images of the Lady of Guadalupe for this one.
Gluten free “wheat” paste, recipe follows
Utility knife/ shears
Assorted fruit: tomatillos, grapes and citrus fruit all work great
Fresh/dried flowers: carnations, roses, marigolds. (We shopped Trader Joe’s for fresh blooms & scoured our yards!)
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Step 1: Make the gluten free “wheat” paste & secure the image
Combine 1 part sweet white rice flour to 4 parts water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk constantly to prevent clumping. Heat to just below a boil, remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
When ready to assemble your altar brush a light layer of “wheat paste” onto the piece of cardboard that you will be using to fit into the frame. Center your image over the cardboard and once you are happy with the position, start at the center of the image and use your hands to apply gentle pressure out towards the edges. When the image is adhered to the cardboard and the air pockets are worked out (some wrinkling is to be expected) brush a light layer of “wheat” paste over the top. Allow to dry completely; a few hours will do it, but overnight is best.
Step 2: Secure the image into the frame
Use wire cutters to cut a piece of chicken wire that is roughly the same size and shape as the back outside edge of the frame, set aside. Lay the mounted image over the frame, mark any overhang and cut off the excess with a utility knife or shears. Press the cardboard image into the frame then place the chicken wire over the top. Use small strips of duct tape all around the edge of the frame covering the edges of the chicken wire and securing the wire to the frame.
Start by collecting any large floral pieces or ornamental grasses you want to use. These pieces can easily be woven through the chicken wire to secure them in place. Begin snipping the large flower heads leaving a few inches of stem to work with. Push floral wire through the base of the head, position the bulb onto the chicken wire by pushing the stem through and then twist the 2 ends of the floral wire to the chicken wire, sort of like securing a bread tie.