Saturday, October 17, 2009

Make It: Gorgeous Shadow Boxes

I held onto Gracie's (now 4) hospital stuff for awhile, not wanting to get rid of it, but not at all sure what the heck to do with it.

Exactly what are you supposed to do with the very first shirt your kid ever in their life wore? And that tiny little hat... and one of those itsy bitsy little diapers I couldn't bear to throw away (clean, of course!)

Then one day, I thought: OH! Shadow box the little suckers!

So I did. These two shadow boxes were easy to complete and only took about an hour and a half, which was nice because I was able to knock the project out while Annelie was napping. The hobby store was having a sale on their shadow boxes and scrapbook paper, so I grabbed some up and made both these little shadow boxes for under $20.

I used quite a lot of things, but most of them I already had on hand. Obviously, buy what you want... but take a look around your house first, to see what you might already have on hand.

  • 1 shadow box
  • baby accessories (diaper, shirt, hat...)
  • acrylic paint
  • paint sealer (found in the acrylic paint aisle)
  • scrapbook paper (I used 3 contrasting sheets per box)
  • square cardboard (I used a scrap of a cereal box)
  • decorations (I bought a package of flower decorations from the scrapbook aisle of my local craft store)
  • printed out black and white photo (see Step 3 for details)
  • sandpaper
  • 4 brads (optional)
  • wood block letter
  • hot glue gun and Mod Podge
Step One: Paint Shadow Box and Sides of Letter

You'll want to remove the glass, or use blue painters tape if you have it, so you don't cover the glass in paint. I just roughly brushed on a layer of pink, letting some of the brown frame show through. I liked the effect, but you can paint yours however you like! Then, use the paint sealer once the paint dries. Allow your box to dry completely.

For the letter, just paint the sides. You don't have to seal it.

Step Two: Line the Back of the Box, the Letter, and the Cardboard Square with Paper

I brushed on a layer of Mod Podge craft glue and attached the scrapbook paper. Once the glue had dried, I trimmed off the extra paper around the edges. On the letter, I gently sanded the edges, to rough it up. The cardboard square I added black paper to, and then sanded the edges, too.

Step Three: Making the Vintage-style Photo

I opened up my photo-editing software (Photoscape, which is a free download) and opened my daughter's first baby photo with 'Editor' Then, I use the Black/White feature, to turn it into a B+W photo.

Photoscape has a lot of antiquing features under the 'Filter' button. I used the 'Vignetting' and the 'Antiquing' effects, to get the look I wanted. Really simple, and so fun to play around with!

Then, I printed the photo on regular white paper, cut it out, and attached it to the black cardboard square, with a brad at each corner. Last, I added a silk flower to the corner, to make it absolutely stinkin' adorable.

Step Four: Glue it all in!

Okay, I'm gonna tell you something that may cause you to gasp in alarm.... I just hot glued the shirts and baby hat to the back of my papered box back. Really. I'm not afraid of a lil' bit o' glue, and the way I figured it was this: I have my keepsake and I don't plan on changing it.

If you are afraid to potentially destroy your keepsake, by all means, just tack the sucker in with a pushpin or something.

I gently set the shirts on the papered backing and glued. I did not smooth them out, and love the effect of the gentle folds. The hat and diaper, I just glued on top of the shirt. Then, I glued the flowers around the top of the box backing.

For the letter and vintage photo, I added a line of hot glue to the base of each, and glued them onto the inside base of the box. I angled them in slightly, so that they had more visual interest.

Once all the glue dried (Yay for hot glue!) I just stuck the backing back in the box frame and VOILA! Cutest shadow box EVER.

And a cheap and easy keepsake to show off to everyone you know. Bragging rights are always in order and trust me... all the other moms will be jealous.

Do you plan on making one? Or have you made another project or recipe that you have found on The Mama Dramalogues?
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  1. !!!!!!!!

    Ok, I'm nervous that by now I've maybe lost some of Elie's baby things, but this is SUCH a great idea. I'm sure I've still got SOMETHING that I can use to make a shadow box. Great great great idea.

  2. Of course! What a great idea, I've been totally stumped on what to do with that stuff that I just can't throw away, thx! :)

  3. mine are in a box somewhere but i'm just planning to keep them in a special keepsake box for room to display them but i love the shadow box idea! is there anything you can't do marisa?!

  4. I loved this one. This will be my next project. Can you tell me the measure of the shadow box you purchased?

  5. Edith - Mine are 10 x 13 inches. If you have a Hobby Lobby craft store near you, make sure to check their weekly specials... I got mine when all frames and shadow boxes were 1/2 off, so they were only a couple bucks a piece.

  6. This is just about the sweetest little idea I've ever seen...and so simple! My daughter Tina did something very similar when her son Jackson was born a year and a half ago. She is now pregnant with her 2nd son and my daughter in law is pregnant with their first child (a little girl). I sense future presents coming....thank you for such a wonderful idea. I absolutely LOVE it, because it speaks from the heart!

  7. Such a great idea!

  8. I am a nanny and I just made these for the parents of the girls I watch. They were born at home, so I couldn't do hospital clothes. Mom went to Michigan State and Dad went to Ohio State. So, I did find the girls' little cheer leading outfits from when they were about 6 months. I did a Michigan State box and an Ohio State box for them for Christmas. I found "Go, Fight, Win" paper and small rhinestone brads to make it girly. Thank you so much for this blog!!! It's hard to find good gifts for new parents other than the hand imprint in clay. LOVE THEM!

  9. :) I'm so glad you love them!! Thank you! :)

  10. I loved this version SO much... I kind of copied it. I love mine and it didn't take me much time at all. I wish I had done the background differently. I.e. I should have just used fabric with hot glue but instead I used 3 pieces of craft paper, paper glue, then tape, then a glue gun. I also thought I could just cut the paper to size. Wrong. It kept buckling when I put it int he frame. I got it though and it looks SO CUTE!!! Thanks.

  11. Yay, Lauren, I'm so glad you made one!! Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  12. I just started mine and can't wait to finish it. I finally just downloaded the Photoscape program (which I absolutely LOVE, btw). I just need to print my pic. Although, I am curious, on the shadow box w/ the letter "G", do you remember which border you used in Photoscape? I would like to use that one but can't figure out which one it is. Thanks a ton! I love this project!
    -Donna C.

  13. Donna, I'm so glad you love these!! For the box with the G, I first used the black/white tool (under HOME along the bottom)to make the picture black and white, then I went to FILTER (under AUTO LEVEL) and chose Antique 01, to give it the antique feel. Then I printed the picture and mounted it on a piece of black scrapbook paper, and used sandpaper along the edge to rough it up.

    Good luck!! :)

  14. Thank you for this I am glad I found your post on Pinterest.

  15. Thank you for sharing this. My Daughter gave birth to our first Grandchild in November. I am definitely going to do this! God bless you!

  16. Where did you get your shadow boxes?

  17. I'm so glad you guys like these!! I had so much fun making them

    Anyonymous - I got the shadow boxes at Hobby Lobby, in their picture frame department. I think most frame shop should have shadow boxes, if you can't find a craft store that has them near you.

  18. Any cute ideas for a little something for a boy's box? Instead of the flowers... Thanks!

  19. CCarroll - if you wanted to bring in some of the theme of baby's first nursery, or something to jazz up the box for a boy, check out the scrapbook section of your local craft shop for decorative elements (the scrapbook section is where I got the flowers) and you mind find something that works for you.

    If it's a sticker you find, but you want it to be dimensional, just stick it to a bit of cardboard, and use adhesive dots (like Glue Dots or 3D Dots - you can google these if you aren't sure what I'm talking about) to make it stand out.

    Good luck with your boxes!

  20. What a great idea! Too late for my kids...but when I have grand-kids i will definitely have to make these!
    Thank you!

  21. How exactly did you make the little cardboard box? I'm having a hard time figuring out how to cut and fold it.

  22. Found this shadow box on pinterest, and fell in love with the idea. So I spent the past weekend working on it. Thanks! -Jen

  23. Did you buy the wood letter decorated or you did you decorate it?

  24. I love this!! I bought 3 shadow boxes from Michael's, at a steal when they were on sale and I had a coupon, to make one for each of my children. I can't wait to finish this project and get them hung up.

  25. PutI think this is &Great idea for my son PreK Graduation! I just put the cap, his graduation photo, his certificate &she his picture with his teacher. Great keepsake!!

  26. i did this project and loved the out come

  27. This is so cute! I kept all the name bracelets from the hospital and am going to put them in the shadow box too.

  28. These are soo cute! I had to think awhile because I have a boy and didn't want to use flowers. I ended up buying a little wooden sailboat and making some small pinwheels. It turned out super cute, thank you so much for posting!

  29. This is amazing! When I have children I will collect all these things as well.

  30. I absolutely luv this. I lost my 2 yr old daughter 9 mo ago and i happen to have have pretty much every piece of cloths she owned. Of coarse i didnt plan to get rid of it but what a creative way to display a few of the pieces. I've also been wanting to give my mom and mother-in-law something special and this would be perfect. Thanks for the idea.


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