Well, due to unexpected drama, this post took a wee bit longer than anticipated to get up. But trust me, it's worth it. And yes, it's photo heavy so buckle up, grab a coffee, and get ready for some holiday shadowbox goodness.
Once again, many thanks to the fine folks at Elmer's for sending me some goodies and inspiring me to make such a fun and personal project.
How to Make a Custom Shadowbox
also known as How to make your own Advent Calendar Shadowbox
additionally known as How to make Your Own Custom Printer's Tray
Yes, that's right. I'm making just a plain old 12 compartment open-faced shadowbox, but you could totally adapt this to make it a little deeper and put in little paper drawers for an advent thing, or make it shallower and have it look like a printer's tray. Totally up to you.
Here's what you will need:
- Some good old fashioned Elmer's foam board
- Craft knife
- Clear packing tape
- Gluestick or other preferred wet adhesive
- Hot glue gun and clear glue sticks
- Old book pages and/or various patterned papers
- Tim Holtz Tissue Tape, Washi tape or other.
- Distress inks
- Tim Holtz Idea-ology Foundations Metal Feet
- Assorted items to put inside the Shadobox compartment
- Optional: Glimmer Mist or other glittery shimmery painty stuff
I took the tri-fold foam board (looks like this: |_| when you put the "arms" at a 90 degree angle) and trimmed the two "arms" so that they were about 3.5 gridblocks wide. I then trimmed the "back" and the arms vertically so that the whole thing was about 13.5 inches long.
I used the leftover trim from the "arms" to cut a "top" and a "bottom" for the box. I trimmed them so they fit on the "inside" of the main foam board piece.
Once you've got the pieces cut for the box, use the clear packing tape on the sides and back (the flat side) to hold all three pieces together snugly. Make sure your walls are straight and at a 90-degree angle (you know, like a normal box).
I used a few of my holiday knickknacks to help me determine how deep the project "walls" were going to be. Fortunately, the foam board had some grid lines, which really helped me to keep things straight.
Start putting in your goodies (or use other projects found online) to plan where your compartments are going to go. I started putting in some vertical wall to help me get a sense of where everything would fit.
For the sake of structural integrity, I decided to have vertical walls that ran the length of the box and that way I could individually reinforce the horizontal pieces that things would "sit" on for each box. Here was my first attempt at placement.
Once I found a configuration I was happy with, I got out my trusty glue gun and got to work. I took a photo to reference the placement of the compartments and used a pencil to mark where the sections were on the inside of the box. I then took everything out of the box and started gluing all around the inside corners to reinforce what the clear packing tape had done on the outside. Then I glued in the large vertical pieces. Finally, I glued in the little shelves. I glued every single join in each compartment separately. I glued especially heavy on the underneath side (to ensure that the shelves wouldn't sag later on).
If you were going to spraypaing this bad boy, now would be the time. Since I knew I would be covering up the whole thing with paint and tape, I didn't bother with any painting.
I covered the back wall of each compartment with paper scraps from my-almost-finished 2010 December Daily. Papers include things from the Basic Grey Jovial line, some American Crafts and a stamped background using a stamp from Purple Onion (designed by the lovely Steph)
Grimm and Once Upon a Time on hulu. It was quite enjoyable.
I covered the sides and the back edges of the box with the vintage book papers as well. A single piece of (slightly antiqued) patterened paper was glued to the back.
I used tissue tape to cover up the edges of the papers and to help reinforce the joins on the boxes. Again, to help things look nice, I started by taping up the horizontal shelves, then did the long vertical walls, and finally, the outside edges all got covered.
And then it was time to glue on the feet! I got out the glue gun and wiggled them into place.
Then you start gluing all your goodies into place. I used extra bits of the foam board to make my own foam dimensional adhesive squares (aka pop dots). Here's a shot of the fully assembled box:
But wait, there's more. Every one of these twelve compartments has an item(s) that is meaningful to me in terms of things I love about the holidays. Let's go into detail, shall we?
Box Number One: Glass Glitter phial with key and jingle bell
Box Number Two: Glass Bubble Magnet and Teeny Christmas Card
is over here, if you'd like to see it. And the tutorial for the bubble magnets is over here. The gold dove represents peace and good luck. Because man, do I need some of those.
Box Number Three: Nutcracker and Wreath
the Nutcracker Ballet movie during the holidays as a child. I think they are a quintessential part of any holiday decor scheme; over the years I've received several as gifts and I think they're great. The wreath is in there because at one point, we decided to stop having a tree (roommates, no space, etc), but I needed SOME kind of greenery in the house, so I began a tradition of having a wall of wreaths instead.
Box Number Four: Star Tree Topper and Stamped Tag
Box Number Five: The Red Cup and Bow
Box Number Six: Boughs, Pinecones and Twenty-Five Sign
Box Seven: Presents and Tag
tree trimming activities. True fact: at one point I could sing all of Oh Tannebaum in German. (I can no longer remember this due to lack of use in my old age, but still, a good memory.) And that tag? That's one I made this year as part of a feature for the blog (that's right, I'm getting all proactive. Hah!)
Box Eight: Merry Christmas Rosette
Ah, the centerpiece. I knew I needed something big and showy, and this little rosette fit the bill. It reminds me of my favorite holiday movie A Christmas Story. I took some Glassine paper and folded it up in to a rosette, then layered with an ornament from Target, a Making Memories metal frame and this lovely red Christmas sign ornament. (Reminds me a bit of the one I used in my "snowglobe" tutorial)
Box Nine: Holiday Train
Box Ten: Mini Snowglobe
Especially when I don't have to go into work and can stay home.
Box Eleven: Tiny Tree and Bingo Circle
tutorial for that is over here). I really like the classic green look here though.
Box Twelve: Holiday Bottlecap Magnets
Ah, my number one tutorial. Thank you for being so fun to make and for bringing so many nice folks to the blog. I love you, tiny holiday bottlecaps. Even though I hate my lack of photography skill on that post.
And that's it for this project! Here's the whole thing again:
Hope you had fun reading this GIANT post! If you end up making something inspired by this project, I'd love to see it.
The lovely folks at Elmer's are giving away a second prize pack, the same as in the previous giveaway. Leave me a comment telling me which of the compartments was your favorite by end of day Tuesday and I'll pick a winner.