Family Shadow Box

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner


Family Shadow Box

Dipping into my papercrafting supplies to create something to brighten up my home decor is one of my favorite things to do.

There is so much freedom in shifting products around to create something that fits my style and my home. And there is even more satisfaction knowing that no one else will have anything quite like it displayed in their home. Making a shadow box is a great way to use up some of those random supplies lingering around and also add a bit of personalization to your home décor.

The base is construced from boxes

The base of this project is constructed from the boxes that rest inside of a Tim Holtz Idea-ology Print Tray. You don’t need to use this specific tray as your shadow box base, but the next few steps will explain how used this tray to construct my shadow box. The steps to create a few of the elements resting in the compartments of the shadow box can be followed regardless of whether you’re using this particular print tray or a something else altogether. If you prefer something with more stability, antique stores and flea markets are both great places to hunt for wood based printers trays.

Arrange your boxes

To start constructing your shadow box, first open your print tray and remove all of the boxes. Arrange them on your work space until you get to arrangement that’s balanced and pleasing to the eye.

Gluing boxes together

Next, starting with two boxes and building from there, brush adhesive onto the edges that will touch using a strong clear-drying adhesive and a paint brush. Once they are pressed together, secure them with small binder clips and allow the boxes to dry overnight.

measureing the inside of each compartment

Measure the inside measurements of each compartment using the measuring tape on your Sew Taxi and write the measurement on the inside of the box using a pencil.
Once the measurements are taken, use your paper trimmer to begin cutting your patterned papers and cardstock to fit within each compartment. Once you cut a piece, place it inside the compartment, but do not glue it down. Chances are throughout the creating process you will change your mind on placement a number of times and it’s much easier to remove the paper without adhesive on it.

using a detail knife to remove paper

If you do decide to remove a patterned paper, the easiest way to do so is to use the tip of your Detail Knife to lift a corner of the paper from the compartment.

collecting items to enhance your color story

After cutting all the papers to size, shop your supplies and start collecting small bits and baubles that coordinate with your overall theme and color story. You may not use everything you collect, but it’s much easier to take the time to collection an assortment of embellishments to choose from, than to stop and get up a few dozen times searching for things.

treat each compartement as a mini canvas

From here, you will treat each individual compartment as a mini canvas, yet allow the design to flow and fit in the overall theme so the finished project looks cohesive. Don’t forget that small shapes punched with a squeeze punch and strips punched from a border punch make great additions to your project.

making and adding your own embellishments

It can sometimes be difficult to find embellishments that are an exact color match to your projects. In this case, use your paper trimmer and scoring blade to create custom embellishments to supplement or replace your store-bought ones. To create this accordion flower embellishment, cut a strip of patterned paper to 1 ½” wide and score it every ¼”. Punch a small circle from cardstock. Then, fold your strip along the score lines. Puddle hot glue on the cardstock circle. While pinching the folded strip, place it on the hot glue and fan out and around to form a complete circle. Press down in the center to keep it from popping up, until the glue cools.

A completed shadow box

When you have everything arranged how you want it, remove the embellishments and paper from one box at a time and use adhesive to secure the embellishments to the patterned paper, then adhere the patterned paper to the inside of the box. Be mindful of the type of adhesive you are using as you want this project to hold up over time. If using a liquid adhesive on the paper, don’t over saturate it or you will end up with bubbling and warping.

Supply List

Patterned Paper
Print Tray
Paper Flowers
Metal Charms
Resin Flowers
Metal Number Plate
Chipboard Embellishments
Acrylic Frames
Paper Doily
Scrabble Tile
Wood Letters
Binder Clips
Glue Dots
Paint Brush