Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tutorial: Butterfly Shadow Boxes

I made these butterfly shadow boxes recently for a new diorama I'm working on and thought I'd share how I made them. 

If you're interested, keep reading!

Here's what I used:

-skinny sticks
-sheet of canvas (found in the scrapbook paper section usually with the textured papers)
-sheet of translucent vellum paper
-paperboard (you can also use recycled cereal boxes)
-hot glue gun and glue sticks
-two pairs of scissors (one strong enough to cut the skinny sticks and the other small and sharp to cut the vellum paper)
-acrylic paint
-nail file
-light colored scrapbook paper
-black fine-tipped pen 
-ruler (optional)

The first thing I did was Google images of butterfly collections and choose one to use. I tried to pick one with a variety of different butterflies and then I printed it onto the vellum paper. Then I carefully cut out several butterflies, folded their wings upward from their body, and set them aside.

Next I decided how big I wanted the shadow box to be. I didn't measure out each box but you could if you are into precision (which I'm not) by using a ruler.  I just eyeballed how big I wanted the shadow box to be and cut out the canvas and paperboard accordingly. I then hot glued the canvas to the paperboard using a glue gun. You could use regular craft glue but I don't recommend it because the wetness in the glue will warp the paperboard.

After I had the canvas/paperboard foundation prepared I cut the skinny sticks that would be the frame of the shadow boxes. I sanded their rough edges using the nail file and painted them with a quick drying matte acrylic paint. 

Once the paint dried I glued the skinny sticks onto the canvas/paperboard foundation skinny side down.

Now it was time for the fun part!

Adding the butterflies!

Using tweezers to hold the butterflies, I carefully applied a very small dot of the hot glue to the body of the butterfly and then glued it into the shadow box. I made sure not to get any glue onto the wings so they would "stand" up and wouldn't be flat.

Once the shadow box was done I aged it by rubbing it with the nail file.  I also made little labels using small strips of beige scrapbook paper that I scribbled on. 

Overall, I really enjoyed making these shadow boxes. Most of the materials I already had at home from other various craft projects and they don't require a lot of skill because I'm not at all mechanically inclined (there's an unfinished dollhouse in a corner of my living room that can attest to this). 

I'm thinking I will try making some beach-themed shadow boxes next. If I do I'll be sure to share them here.

Thanks for stopping by!