Shadow Box Tutorial


I have a tendency to save lots of memorabilia from any trip I take. Usually I use most of it in a scrapbook, but I wanted to try something a little different. I have always wanted to make a shadow box of a trip or special memory.

On my last trip to New York City this past May to see the musical Newsies on Broadway, I took a panoramic photograph of Central Park and the city skyline behind it. I decided to use this trip and photo as my inspiration for my first shadow box!


First you want to gather up a bunch of things related to the trip or memory for you box and decide on what size shadow box to purchase. Since my photograph was 5″x15″ I decided on a shadow box that was roughly 11″x19″ (not to mention it was on clearance!) After gathering up all my memorabilia and photos from the trip I edited it down to the things I most wanted to include and a few scrap booking embellishments to add a little decoration.


To start off I made a background out of some newspaper clippings to go along with the musical we were there to see. Then I glued my panoramic photo onto some scrapbook card stock to protect it. Photos can be ruined by acid in many products and therefore should only be touching acid-free items. Almost all items made for scrapbooking that you find at craft stores are acid-free and will be labeled so on the packages.


After placing my main image in the box I then arranged all my other items throughout the box, changing it around a few times before deciding on a layout. I wanted it to reflect my specific trip and not just NYC, so I stayed away from elements like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building and focused on the Broadway show Newsies. To save room and add interest I cut some of the images, so more of the panoramic could show through the background.


You don’t want the box to become far too busy to look at, but you also want to add plenty of memories and decorative elements. Its a balancing act, so take your time and play with all your options before making final decisions. I ended up editing out things like the Broadway tickets because they were large and had fine print so it would be hard to tell what they even were hanging on a wall. The metro card however,  added a nice graphic element while being very easy to decipher.


Once I decided on a layout I took some flat thumb tacks and secured everything down. many of my thumb tacks are hidden behind items to keep it more clean looking. I came to the conclusion that the key to a successful shadow box is to have plenty to choose from between memorabilia, photos, & embellishments, as well as taking plenty of time to edit it down. Many items I was sure I wanted to include ended up not being included at all because they were either taking away from my theme, were the wrong size, or made it far too busy.


When you are finished, hang it up on the wall or give it away as a gift! Making a shadow box of a wedding, birthday party, or in memory of a loved one would make awesome gifts!


Please comment any of your own ideas!





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