Tag Archives: retablo

How to Make a Retablo

How to Make a Retablo





A retablo is a small oil painting on tin, zinc, copper or wood used in Catholic homes to venerate Catholic saints.


6” x 6” oak tag with ½” scored around all four edges

6″ x 5″ oak tag 1/2″ scored on the left and right sides

Yellow construction paper

Yellow crayon or marker

Gold paint (optional)

Paint brush (optional)

5” x 5” construction paper (color of choice)cut into one inch strips

Scraps of construction paper

Black construction paper

Foil papers (optional)


Stickers, crayons, pencils, black markers (preferably Sharpies), rubber stamps and ink, etc.

White glue



Matt or utility knife



  1. Measure ½” around the edges of the 6” X 6” oak tag. Score the edges using a utility knife and ruler. Do not cut all the way through the oak tag.
  2. Cut out the corners, then fold up the edges and tape them to secure them.
  3. To make the doors: measure and cut a piece of oak tag 6” x 5.” Measurements are not always perfect so trim where necessary. Measure ½” on each end of the longest side. Score and fold. Cut in half.
  4. Cut a 2 1/2″ x 3” colored square and cut diagonally to make two triangles.
  5. Decorate the doors and the top triangle piece with gold paint or yellow markers or crayons or glue yellow construction paper.  Tape the 1/2″ edges of the doors on the right and left sides to the retablo.
  6. Cut small construction paper pieces and foil papers into different shapes and glue to the doors and triangle tops. Create a design that reflects you instead of a traditional retablo.
  7. Center and glue the oak tag with the doors on the black construction paper.
  8. Cut 1” x 5″ strips out of the construction paper (any color of choice) and glue into the back of the retablo box.
  9. Draw items of relevance and place them on the shelves or use stickers or glue small objects that mean something to you or use whimsical drawings or objects.
  10. Display the retablo during El Dia de los Muertos or on any day of the year that is special to you.




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