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How to make an Altar Cloth and King of Winter

Grab your besoms and brushes and join us once more around the Samhain table. In our last blog, we shared some enchanting crafting tips with you on how to make some magickal little pumpkin candles.
This time, we have two more lots of tips to keep you spellbound as Samhain approaches - including a way to honour your ancestors and a fun, witchy way to prepare your household for the encroaching Winter months.

Ancestor's Altar Cloth:

As the veil between our world and the next dwindles, it is at this time of year that we feel closest to our ancestors, deceased loved ones and those that we are still blessed with.
This altar cloth is a beautiful sentiment and way to honour these people - as well as a great way to decorate your altar-space for the season (or any time of year!).

There's really no right or wrong way to do this one, so you can really let your creative energies flow!
It might be a good idea to plan out your cloth on a piece of paper first or to write it on in pencil, so you don't waste a perfectly good altar cloth.

What you'll need:

A white or lightly coloured cloth for your altar
Fabric pencil/markers or embroidery equipment
Your family tree or genealogy


  1. Start by writing your own name somewhere on the cloth - the bottom half or middle is a good idea (be sure to leave room underneath if you have any little witches of your own).
  2. After you've secured your own place on the family altar cloth - branch out! Start writing in the names of your parents, then their parents and so on - go as far back as you like!
  3. You can include dates of birth and death, pictures or whatever you feel makes your cloth that bit more personal to you.
  4. Once you have yourself and all of your ancestors mapped out, it's time to set it all in stone (figuratively speaking, of course).
  5. Draw it in with your markers, or stitch it on if you feel up to it, and voila - your very own (and very personal) altar cloth, honouring the family.

    King of Winter Straw Man:

    Samhain marks the end of the harvest season and the turning of the page into the "darker half" of the year, Winter.
    In some Pagan and Wiccan traditions, this is commemorated with the ritualistic creation of a straw man - known as the King of Winter.
    The King of Winter is made from the decaying plants of the garden at the end of Fall and is to watch over your home throughout the coming months, before being burnt as part of your Beltane celebrations, with the emergence of Spring.
    This guide will help you craft a simple, but still just as symbolic, straw man - but if you're feeling particularly seasoned, you can embellish it with any additional details that you desire.

    What you'll need:

    Two bundles of leftover plants from the garden (feel free to experiment with what you use)
    Some string or twine


    1. Start with collecting any dead plants and trimmings from your garden, it's fine to mix and match. If you don't have a garden, anywhere will do!
    2. Once you have enough, you will want to arrange them into two bundles - make sure one is slightly thicker than the other.
    3. Tie the thicker bundle with a piece of string, about a quarter of the way down from the top. This will form the head.
    4. Make a slight separation in the bundle and thread the thinner bundle of plants through it for your arms.
    5. Tie the two bundles together in a criss-cross shape to hold the arms in place - make sure not to cut the string just yet.
    6. Now split the bottom part of the thicker bundle into two halves to create legs.
    7. Take the remaining string and tie it around the thighs to hold it all in place.
    8. You can also tie around the wrists and ankles to give it a slightly tighter form.
    9. Decorate and make them as extravagant as you feel - making them into a little Winter King, Crone or whatever it is that you please.

      We hope that these mystical projects keep you busy and bewitched this Samhain. But most importantly, that you have a wonderful time with them diving into the spirit of the season!

      If you decide to get crafty with any of these witchy creations, then be sure to post and tag our social media accounts for a chance to featured on our platforms.

      Instagram and TikTok - @witchboxuk
      Facebook - Witchbox
      YouTube - Witchbox UK

      Have fun and many Samhain blessings to all.

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