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:
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:
(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.
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.
I traced the back side of the box onto the reverse side of the patterned paper I had chosen.
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.
Then I cut away the excess paper, leaving me with a sheet of paper that looked kind of like a cross.
I positioned my box in the center of the paper cut-out and folded the flaps up around the edges of 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.
I trimmed the paper where it met the corners of the box, so that I could fold the flaps over.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
My finished, lined box looked like this:
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.
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.
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.
I then glued the other two angels and the little dolly.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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).