Friday, March 24, 2017


The Santos dolls take their name from the Spanish word for Saint, and are also known as Santons (French) and Santibelli (Italian). The Santos that started the genre of dolls were originally started as copies of 17th century carvings by priests. Originally, Santos were created for use as in-home altars.  They were needed in small villages that did not have a priest, as well as for when it was not possible to travel to church, such as during times of war.  Their development flourished in Europe  in the 1700's and 1800's, primarily due to these wars.

Even today Santos Dolls have a huge following and I am one of those people that just can't get enough of them. This is one of my favorite Santos Cage Doll Shrines because she is a 3 in one Shrine.I added two additional Shrines to her, a Circle Shrine to the front of her and  another handmade Shrine for her cage.

I began the process by adding white gesso to all the pieces of the cage doll.Once dry, I painted the arms, cage slats and all the pieces where paper would not be added. 

I added a stencil to the bottom piece of the cage using modeling paste mixed with color. 
 Once the slats were dry, I glued on small milagros and painted crosses. Between the milagros and crosses, I painted little white flowers. Setting the slats aside, I started the collage on the Santos doll's body that was now painted front and back and dry. 
I added strips of paper gluing on each with a glue stick and outlining with a black gel pin.

Next, I added two small art circles of paper to the shoulders on each arm and at the wrist. Then I assembled the arms with brads and attached them to the body. You can turn the forearms in different directions depending on the look you want the doll to have. 

For the doll's head, I used one of the large head cuts from Retro Cafe Art Gallery and added a different face on top of it. Before gluing on the head, I turned it over and added a thicker paper to the back of it.  Once the front of the doll was completed, I turn it over to complete the backside, adding a flower to the back of the head, a metal rose to the neck and stamping "Our Lady of the Guadalupe" on the back.

 On the waist of the doll in back, I added a handmade metal/resin jewelry pendant that I had in my stash and some Dresden foil trim at the base of her body. Now that the body was complete, I set it aside to finish the two flat pieces that connect the upper body and the cage slats together. The last thing I do is assemble the doll together using tacky glue or clear adhesive on each slat and inserting the tiny nails with a bit of glue on each tip.
 Directions for the Circle Shrine added to the front of the doll
I prepared each piece with white gesso. Then I used the modeling paste and a small portion from the same stencil I used on the bottom of the cage to add design and texture to the front of the Circle Shrine. After drying, I painted each piece,adding Pearl Dots, antiquing medium and gold paint for a vintage look and then then my image to the back piece gluing them altogether. Once dry, I glued it to the front of the Santos body.

As a bonus to this Santos Cage Doll Shrine, I made another shrine for the bottom of the cage. It was made from a wooden casket with the top removed (the kind you find in a craft stores around Halloween), and a tart tin. Both items were gifted to me by a sweet artist friend. I did a little sanding, painted the inside, used a stencil and modeling paste for texture on the outside and then added a image to the front and a prayer to the back. Lastly I added some glitter glue around the image, a pink crystal and some rose cut outs.This will be an added addition to the doll that can be used in the doll's cage or used alone as a separate shrine.

  To the tea lights, I added a strip of Washi tape to give it some color and a cohesive look with the doll. This Santos Cage doll is beautifully illuminated when the candles are switched on. This cage doll can be found listed in my Etsy shop.

Thank you for being here and I hope you will check back again around April 8, for my monthly post as a Design Team Member for Retro Cafe Art Gallery.

3-D Articulated Santos Cage Doll - Large 
Large Circle Shrine 
E6000 Clear Adhesive Glue or

Aileen's Tacky Glue 
Santos Art Doll Head Paper Cuts 
German Dresden Borders - Gold
Acrylic paints
Art papers
Pearl Dots - Gold
Diamond Stickles Glue
Folk Art Antiquing Medium
Small Milagros
Cut Out Crosses - Set of 24 
Tim Holtz Layering "Lace" Stencil   
Finnabair Art Basics Modeling Paste
Jewelry Findings
Alphabet Word Stamps
Stazon Ink Pad - Black
Tea Light Candle
Washi Tape
Black Gel Pen  


  1. These are lovely. You have added such beautiful detail and such thoughtful preparation to these. Lovely.

  2. Kim
    You are a creative force to be reckoned with!!!!
    Astonishing art that most certainly has ....HEART.

  3. Kim, Our Lady is just beautiful as is her shrine! What a glorious piece you put together! I love that you gave a bit of intro about Santos, it really set the mood for reading the rest of your post! It was like you were designing this piece for a traveling church!
    Love her! Jackie xo

  4. She's SO gorgeous Kim! I love her so much!

  5. She is a wonder, Kim! Love the colours and details. Santos are a favorite of mine also. xo

  6. Beautiful work, Kim. She has an aura of peacefulness that is powerful. xox

  7. Love your HeART work here with the Santos doll! Love these dolls so much! Your artistic rendition is amazing!


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. You are a blessing to me!