How to Turn Recycling into a Nature-Inspired Shadow Boxcomments (5) April 29th, 2009
I love shadow boxes and dioramas. All the detail and depth...so many possibilities! This shadow box brings paper and cardboard back to nature using the techniques of decoupage and papier-mache.
Want to make it?
Here's what you'll need:
- Box or shadow box (I used this box I found at Ikea a while back, but you can use any small, shallow wood or cardboard box)
- Brown paper bags or kraft paper
- Cutting tools (scissors, X-Acto knife)
- Floral wire
- Embellishments (flowers, glitter, etc.)
First, you'll want to cover your box. If you're using a cardboard box or shoebox, you'll want to cover both the inside and outside. I liked the look of the wood box I used, so I kept the outside natural.
As you decoupage, let the paper pieces cover one another. This adds texture and depth to the covering.
Once your glue dries, cover the whole interior with another thin layer of the glue mixture. I kept my swirls plain, but you could accent them with glitter or paint to add even more interest to your piece.
Set your box aside to dry.
Now that your box is decorated, it's time to move on to the subject of your shadow box, the bird on a branch. We'll start with the branch. If you have a small twig with a shape that you like handy, you can use that as the base of your papier-mache. If you don't have a twig, you can cut out a shape from cardboard with your X-Acto knife or use wire to make the shape.
Once you have your twig shape, you're ready to cover it with paper. Tear up some newspaper into thin strips, about 3/4 inch. Since I wanted my newsprint to show, I made sure to avoid pictures, advertisements, and large headlines.
Dip your strips into the glue mixture, wiping off the excess moisture. Wrap the paper around your base structure. If you use cardboard as a base, like I did, you might find that your twig gets a bit floppy as you work. Don't worry; as you add layers, this flexibility will go away.
Let your work dry thoroughly between layers. You can speed up this process by putting the branch in a 200-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. The thickness of your structure will dictate how many layers your papier-mache twig will need. I used four layers for my cardboard structure.
When you finish the last layer of your twig, set it aside to dry and move on to your bird.
I found my bird image in this book (illustration 641, page 145), but you can find a ton of images with this Google image search. If you find an image in a book, just scan it into your computer, and you're ready to print.
Allow the bird legs to dry.
Once your glue has dried, you can add flowers and other decoration to your box to finish the piece. I had a few silk apple blossoms left over from an old project, so I used those to add just a touch of color to this beautiful box.
Crafty by Nature
Inspiration for crafting with natural resources.