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DIY Custom Shadow Boxes: How to Design Your Own!

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Learn how to design a custom shadow box in Cricut Design Space! Get the free shadow box template (Design #167) at https://jennifermaker.com/custom-shad…

Last spring I made a garden-themed shadow box and shared it freely with everyone, and so many of you have made it! (Thank you!) Since then, I’ve seen many more variations on shadow box themes and folks keep asking for MORE. But here’s the awesome thing — you can design your own custom shadow box, with just the imagery you want ! So for Day 2 of The Great Maker 25-Day Gift-Away Challenge, I am showing you how to design a custom shadow box in Cricut Design Space!

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CUSTOM SHADOW BOX MATERIALS LIST (contains my affiliate links):
* 65 lb. 12″ x 12″ white or light colored paper (I used this exact brand, type, and color) — note: I think 80 lb. paper is too thick and won’t allow the light to shine through as well – https://amzn.to/2XXsWMf
* Clear adhesive 3D Zots (I used these exact ones) or something else to space your layers paper, like weather stripping or strips of foam core or sign board (3D zots are better for lots of layers because they aren’t as thick) – https://amzn.to/2T7btNE
* (Optional) 8″ or 9″ Shadow box display frame (you can get them from Amazon, IKEA, Michaels, and JoAnns) – https://amzn.to/2UJcu0b
* (Optional) LED light strip at least 36″ long (I used ones from Lowes, but you can also get them at Amazon) – https://amzn.to/2Th2Q3t
* (Optional) A Cricut Access subscription (or the free 1-month trial) – http://shrsl.com/1zn52
* A way to cut the project (I used the amazing Cricut — see http://shrsl.com/1dq4w )
* My free SVG cut file (Design #167) (available in my free resource library at https://jennifermaker.com/library )

In order to design a custom shadow box, it helps to understand how shadow boxes work. Essentially, the way a shadow box works is you stack many layers of cardstock on top of each other, with each layer having different elements cut out from the center of the cardstock. Then when you shine a light from behind the layers of cardstock, the light comes through the layers in varying degrees of brightness, creating a lovely 3D effect with depth and beauty.

The secret to creating a beautiful custom shadow box is to always have three things: a FOCAL POINT, FRAMES, and a BACKGROUND.

A shadow box’s focal point, usually at the center, is the element you want to really stand out. It’s often the silhouette of a person or people, an animal, a character, a building, or something else meaningful and personal. This focal point isn’t likely to be very large, but the eye will be drawn to it. For the best results, your focal point should be clearly defined and without other layers touching it or overlapping it.

A shadow box’s frames are the elements you’ll have at the edges (top, sides, and bottom), often things like trees, flowers, other less-important buildings and animals, or really just anything that goes with the theme and helps you draw the eye to the focal point.

A shadow box’s background is what appears behind the focal point and frames. It can be as simple as a plain and uncut piece of cardstock, or you can add extra layers behind that piece of cardstock to add more depth, such as a sun, moon, stars, or even a reflection.

If we look closely at the shadow box I designed, the focal point is the people on the swing, the frames are the foliage (trees and flowers) around it, and the background is the sun.

Now let’s talk about shadow box layers and their order. Here’s the layer order for a shadow box, from front to back:

First layers are typically the frames, and there are usually at least two of these layers (more layers will give you more depth).
The focal point layer comes after the top frame layers.
The background is at the back of the layers.

The simplest shadow box design, and the one I recommend you begin with if you’re new to this, is simply two layers of frames with a single focal point layer and a solid, uncut background layer. From there, you can introduce more elements and more layers, just be sure to keep that central focal point nice and clear.

#cricut #cricutmade #designspace


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Please subscribe to my channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/jennifermaker for more video tutorials to craft a life you love!

Introduction: PixelBytes (my child!)
Music: Cute by Bensound (licensed, royalty and copyright free)
Videography: Jennifer Marx on a Panasonic Lumix FZ-1000 DSLR 4K camera
Design: A Jennifer Maker original!

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