One Last Christmas Craft and Musings About Crafting in Three Dimensional Space

Happy New Year, everyone!

Okay, can you stand one last Christmas craft post?  I know it’s New Year’s, but I had to sneak in one last Christmas-related post.

For my Christmas/birthday, one of my girlfriends, Geri, gave me a Vosges Library of Chocolates with small, individually wrapped candy bars that came in a box – kind of like books in a slipcase.  Well, the chocolates didn’t last long, and when I finished them, I planned to save the box for a future craft project. While musing over the size of the box, I realized I could make a small shadow box with it.  I immediately thought of the images from this vintage Christmas book:

My Big Christmas Book

My Big Christmas Book

I had found the book at a Salvation Army about two years ago and immediately snatched it up for all the gorgeous vintage illustrations in it.  One of the illustrations was this one that accompanied a story about a bunch of angels getting toys ready for all the little boys and girls on earth:

Sheet of book page with illustrations for shadow box

(Sorry for the poor picture quality).

I decided to cut out the two center angels and the little doll that the last angel is holding and feature them in my shadow box.  If it turned out I had enough room to position everything, I would also include the first angel carrying the box of toys.  I was going for a much smaller version of a paper theater similar to one I had learned to make at Castle in the Air with Ulla Milbrath a few years ago.

Paper theater

Paper theater

Since I was going to be working with a much smaller box, I didn’t have to worry so much about filling up a large space in order to create a scene.  Well, as you will see, another “dilemma” of sorts arose that I hadn’t planned on until I was almost done making my shadow box.

I first picked out the paper I wanted to use to line the outside of my box.  The paper I chose is from Brenda Walton’s Peppermint Twist Christmas scrapbook paper collection for K and Company that I had purchased a few years ago from QVC.

Scrapbook paper and box for shadow box

Scrapbook paper and box for shadow box

I traced the back side of the box onto the reverse side of the patterned paper I had chosen.

Tracing the outline of the box

Tracing the outline of the box

I then folded the paper all around the tracing I had drawn, using the actual box as a guide as I folded the paper up against it.

Folding up the sides of scrapbook paper

Then I cut away the excess paper, leaving me with a sheet of paper that looked kind of like a cross.

Scrapbook paper cut to fit the outside of box

Scrapbook paper cut to fit the outside of box

I positioned my box in the center of the paper cut-out and folded the flaps up around the edges of the box.

Folding up the flaps of paper around the box

Since I was going to cover over the edges of the box, I trimmed just enough of the excess paper from the flaps to cover over the edges by about half an inch.

Folding the edges of the flaps of paper over the edges of the box

I trimmed the paper where it met the corners of the box, so that I could fold the flaps over.

Paper with corner trimmed off

Paper with corner trimmed off

After everything was trimmed and I was able to get the paper to fold properly all around the box, I glued the paper down with craft glue.  I used small binder clips along the edges to hold the paper in place until the glue had dried.

Glued paper clipped to box while drying

Glued paper clipped to box while drying

The clips left minor indentations in the paper, so if you are going to wrap your box with paper thinner than cardstock, skip using the clips.

Next, I rough cut out the part of the image I wanted to use and glued it to a piece of cardstock using craft glue.

Cut out illustration backed with cardstock

Cut out illustration backed with cardstock

(I used wet craft glue instead of a dry adhesive for this project because it creates a better bond with paper without things coming loose after the glue dries).

As I had mentioned in my previous post about working with craft glue here, I ran my iron set on low heat over my cardstock-backed image to flatten it and to help the adhesive to dry, as paper that gets wet tends to curl a bit.

Ironing to flatten the cardstock backed illustration

Ironing to flatten the cardstock backed illustration

While my glued image was drying, I worked on lining the inside of my box with more scrapbook paper.  I decided to use this pattern, also from the Peppermint Twist collection.

Scrapbook paper for lining the inside of shadow box

Scrapbook paper for lining the inside of shadow box

I had tried to line the inside of a box with a single cut of paper before when I made my “Let’s Play” shadow box here, and it was not an easy task, so for this project, I decided to cut out five separate pieces of paper to line the different sides of the box, a side at a time.  I traced and cut out the pieces separately, and kept trimming them until they fit perfectly inside the box, given that the outer dimensions of the box that were used to make the tracings were larger than the inner dimensions.  Because I was cutting up the patterned paper into five separate pieces instead of one large piece, it helped that I used paper that had more of a muted pattern for the inside because the breaks in the continuity of the pattern ended up being less noticeable.

When all the pieces were cut to the right specifications, I glued them down one by one.

Adding glue into the corners, edges, and sides of the box

Adding glue into the corners, edges, and sides of the box

My finished, lined box looked like this:

Shadow box fully lined with paper

Shadow box fully lined with paper

Now that the box was all lined, it was time to tackle the scene inside.  I precision-cut out the individual elements of the picture I had glued onto cardstock earlier – three angels and a doll.

Images all cut out for shadow box

Images all cut out for shadow box

Then I cut out small pieces of foam board and glued them onto the backs of the images to prop them up in my shadow box.

Foam board pieces glued to backs of images to serve as props

Foam board pieces glued to backs of images to serve as props

The tricky part was trying to fit all three angels inside the box.  It was kind of crowded, but I found that if I angled one of the angels off to one side, then I could fit everything else in, so I glued down the first angel at a slight angle in one corner.

First angel glued inside shadow box

First angel glued inside shadow box

I then glued the other two angels and the little dolly.

Shadow box with scene inside

Because the upper right corner of the shadow box looked a little empty, I decided to add a snowflake that was left over from my Nutcracker Sweets theater.  I layered two small pieces of foam stickers to the back of the snowflake before gluing it inside the box, to make it pop out a bit.

Shadow box with snowflake added to it

Shadow box with snowflake added to it

Now this is where I discovered a problem.  See if you can see what the problem is with the way the angels were glued into the box in the preceding photo.

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve developed a hyper-critical eye, but I noticed upon examining my shadow box that the second angel, the one in the middle, looked like she was floating in the air.  Now in the original illustration on paper, she looked fine because the drawing, along with the backdrop, had been done in two dimensions (as all drawings are).  We’re used to looking at two dimensional pictures and filling in the sense of perspective in three dimensions with our brain.  But when we take those two dimensional images out of the context of the page and place them in three dimensional space like I had done inside the shadow box, they lose that context and end up looking like the two dimensional images that they are.  It also didn’t help that I had added the first angel the way I did to the back of the box.  If you look at where she is positioned relative to the second angel, it makes the second angel really look like she’s floating in the air. Even the placement of the bottom hand of the third angel who’s kneeling on the floor looks a little off because now it looks like her hand is no longer on the floor and is just floating up in the air.  Plus, I also didn’t line her up parallel to the floor of the box.  Arggghhh!!

So, given this problem with perspective, I decided to cover up the bottom part of the second angel by adding another image in front of it to cover up the “mistake.”  That way, the viewer couldn’t tell where she was kneeling relative to the other angels.  Since there was already another doll inside my shadow box, I decided to add this cut-out of two more dolls from another illustration from the same book to use as a cover-up:

Image of two dolls ready to be added to shadow box

Image of two dolls ready to be added to shadow box

Since I was running out of room in front of the angels inside the front edge of the box, I skipped attaching a foam board prop to the two dolls and simply used a pop dot foam sticker to glue the cut-out to the front of the floating angel, near where her feet are.

Foam pop dot used to stick dolls inside shadow box

If you look closely at the two sitting dolls, they look like they’re floating up in the air a bit themselves, but it’s not nearly as noticeable as the angel.

Christmas angels shadow box all finished

Christmas angels shadow box all finished

I finished my shadow box by applying two coats of water-based polyurethane to the outside.

I don’t know.  Maybe I was looking at my shadow box too closely.  What do you think?  Would you have noticed the floating angel had I not pointed it out?  Did it look off to you?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

(Please note:  I have not been compensated, nor will I be in any way for mentioning the businesses and other individuals in this post.  All thoughts and feelings expressed are entirely my own).

About Serena Y Lee

Serena worked in the biotech industry for 18 years before leaving to pursue her life purpose - to live in freedom with creativity and simplicity. Her love for baking, creativity, and story-telling compelled her to start blogging to share her ideas with a wider audience.

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7 Responses to One Last Christmas Craft and Musings About Crafting in Three Dimensional Space

  1. Van January 2, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    I LOVE ephemera collages like this, excellent work. I’m going to be making similar things into the new year that I’m excited for! 😀

    • Serena January 2, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

      Glad you liked it. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Please post your results on your blog :0)

  2. Cora January 2, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

    I was searching for info. on vintage ephemera 3D decoupage and found your site. Thanks for the posting…very helpful!

    • Serena January 2, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

      Glad you found it helpful. Thanks for visiting :0)

  3. Cynthia January 6, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    So cute. When are you going to start giving classes so we can try with your help?

    • Serena January 8, 2014 at 4:07 am #

      I have been mulling things over in my head about teaching a class at Castle in the Air. I’m still in the letting-things-simmer stage right now and will definitely share what I come up with when the time comes :0)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Christmas Nativity Shadow Box | Crafty Creative Gal - December 6, 2014

    […] since I made my angels shadow box last year – read about it here – I had been contemplating making another one, using images from the same book that inspired […]

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