3D Summer Scenes Shadow Box Series • Tutorial
This tutorial is for the Summer Scenes 4 layer shadow box designed by 3Dcuts.com. The process is similar for many of the 4 layer shadow boxes I have designed.
This shadow box is about 6 1/2" square when complete. It comes with an optional hanger if you want to hang it on the wall. It is about 7/8" thick and can also stand on a shelf.
The download file direct from 3DCuts.com comes with 7 different sporting characters that can be inserted into the peaceful lake scene.(The SIL Store download only has 1 but the others are available here.) The impact can be dramatically changed by using different background papers. Five are included with the 3dcuts download. The Silhouette download doesn't include the backgrounds but they are available here.
The assembly is easy and basic 3d construction. The cutting of some of the the file is more advanced and requires some skill with detail cutting. Hints are included.
- Cutting File available here from 3dcuts.com.
- People Silhouette file (Only 1 comes with the SIL download. All 7 come with the 3dcuts download. The group can be purchased here.)
- Background paper (included with 3dcuts download. If purchased at SIL store then you can make your own or download options here.)
- 8.5 x 11" card stock - I used the 65lb Cardstock from Recollections. Each shadow box takes 4 sheets of black plus 1 sheet for the sky.
- Adhesive - I use Scor-Tape, Aileen's Tacky Glue, and glue dots although other adhesives would work.
- Scotch tape
- Foam Dots
- Frame 1 - 8.267" w x 8.267" h
- Hanger - 6.26" w x 1.3775" h
- Frame 2 - 7.3176" w x 7.3176" h
- Frame 3 - 6.825" w x 6.825" h
- Frame 4 - 8.202" w x 8.202" h
- Silhouettes- various and can be modified for personal preference
Steps for completing the shadow box:
2. Load the files into your cutting software following the steps for your cutting machine.
3. Prepare the files:.
- For the Silhouette: The SVG files from this site will need to be turned into cutting files. Click here for detailed steps on how to use SVG files on your Silhouette. http://www.3dcuts.com/tutorial-upload-svg-silhouette. You do need Designer Edition to access the svg. The free version of Silhouette can access dxf but file attributes like sizing and dash characteristics will be lost. You will need to adjust. I recommend getting the Designer Edition and do not supply technical support for dxf importing..
- For Cricut Explore: Here is a guide for importing into Cricut Design Space. http://www.3dcuts.com/tutorial-adding-3dcuts-files-to-cricut
4. Cut the files.
- It depends on the specific file you are cutting but most will have 4 box layers, 1 back ground piece and an optional hanger. Some designs might have accessories that get added as embellishments.
- Several of these cutting files have very fine lines. When cutting fine lines I find it best to have a good blade, and a good mat. I switched to the Silhouette Premium blade and had no trouble cutting the fine lines of this design. I also save mats at the perfect stickiness for fine cutting. A slightly seasoned mat will be too sticky and an over-used mat isn't sticky enough. On the most detailed pieces like the characters I used the double cut feature.
- Also when removing the frames from the mat, always turn it paper side down and curl the mat off the paper. Use a spatula to carefully separate the two. Fine lines can tear if you remove it without care.
5. Construct all 4 box frames.
- Notice there is a cut-out number in the upper left corner of each frame. Use this as a guide. It will help in identifying the layers, identifying front or back, and knowing which corner should be in the upper left.
- I universally design these so that the number is always in the upper left. On some frames it doesn't matter but on others it does. If you always have the number in the upper left as you work you will know you are assembling things correctly.
- The frames are numbered as they will be when complete. Number 1 is the front frame, then 2,and 3 and 4 in the back. You will not assemble them in that order though.
- Start with frame 1.
- Place the 1 in the upper left corner and fold on all dotted fold lines. You will fold the edges AWAY from you on frame 1.
- Make nice, crisp folds.
- Frame 1 is the outside frame and these corners are visible when the project is complete. I use 2 strips of Scor-tape in each corner and then fold the tab to the inside and adhere.
- Add Embellishments to Frame 1.
- The pine tree gets added to the back side of the right edge.
- Apply 6 foam pop dots to the FRONT of the pine tree.
- Attach it to the back side of the right edge of the frame BUT leave a space between the edge of the tree and the side and bottom walls of about 1/16". The other shadow box walls will slide into this space and you do not want to block them.
- If any of the pop dots are visible from the front, take a sharpie marker and blacken them so they won't stand out.
- The other embellishments (branches) will get added later so you can place them with other landscape parts in view.
- Construct frame 2
- Fold all edges along the dotted fold lines toward the BACK on frame 2.
- This frame is an internal frame and it gets held together with the other frames. I just used 1 glue dot in each corner to adhere the corners.
- Frame 2 is now complete. Place that to the side and move onto frame 3.
- Fold all the edges toward the BACK on Frame 3 and use glue dots to secure the corners.
- There are no embellishments to add to Frame 3.
- Construct Frame 4.
- Frame 4 has all edges folded TOWARD you.
- Use adhesive to glue the corners keeping them nice and square.
6. Combine the frames.
- Frame 2 gets placed over frame 3 with their back edges lining up.
- Use scotch tape to attach frame 2 and frame 3 together. This keeps the spacing of the layers in place.
- Flip them over. Aligned the back edges of one side and apply a piece of scotch tape to the center.
- Fold it over the edge adhering the back edges together being careful to keep back edges aligned.
- Cut off any extra tape.
- Repeat this on all four sides.
- Time to choose a background for your shadow box. Included with your 3dcuts download are 5 photo backgrounds. You can choose any of these or make your own. Print the background using a color printer. I used photo paper to get the brilliant colors.
- If you downloaded this file from the Silhouette online store, it came with no backgrounds and you need to either create your own or you can purchase just the backgrounds here. There are many to choose from. If you dont have this download you can print a copyright free photo from the internet or create one using water color washes. Even a simple gradated piece of paper will look stunning. It needs to be 6 3/8" square.
- Ideally the horizon line should be about 2 5/8" down from the top edge.
- Choose your background and cut it to 6 3/8" square making sure the horizon line is 2 3/8" down from the top..
- For this shadow box the background is split in two and applied to two different levels.
- The top portion is 6 3/8" w X 2 5/8 h.
- Adhere this sky potion to the inside of frame 4 aligning it with the top of the box.
- The bottom portion of the background gets adhered to the back of frame 3.
- The bottom potion is 6 3/8" w x about 3 7/5" h.
- Apply Scor-Tape to the edges of the back side of frame 3 as shown below in the left image.
- Peel the backing and adhere the background bottom portion. Make sure it doesn't peek above the landscape.
- Place a glue dot behind the point of land on the right side as well and glue that to the background.
- Apply adhesive to the back side of the sportsperson silhouette and adhere this to the background. Choose any of the 7 designs and place them between the trees in the location that works best for you. Try to not have heads behind branches.
Glue frames 2 and 3 into frame 4.
- Place a strip of Scor-tape about 3" long on all 4 sides of Frame 2.
- This should be placed near the front edge and in the center as shown.
- Leaving the backing in place.
- Do this on all 4 sides.
- Slide frames 2 and 3 into frame 4.
- Slide it all the way to the back.
- Using tweezers, reach into the seam and grab the backing off the score-tape.
- Pull it out and adhere the side of frame 2 and 3 to the inside of frame 4.
- Repeat this on all 4 sides.
- Adhere embellishments to Frame 1.
- Add the smaller branch in the lower right again starting behind the bottom frame but coming out in front of the side edge.
- Note: I design a series of water scene shadow boxes available through 3dcuts.com. There are a variety of add-ons including cattails and grasses. You can create your own foreground scenes mixing and matching these various parts from the different shadow boxes. Sizing is similar on all.
- The optional hanger gets adhered to the inside upper edge of frame 1 before you attach frame 1 to frame 2-4.
- Apply Scor-Tape on the inside edge of the hanger.
- Fold the hanger tab on the dotted score line.
- Place the hanger inside of the top edge of frame 1 and press in place. Be sure to center it.
- Adhere Frame 1 to the combined frames 2-4.
- First apply a 3" strip of Score-Tape to the outside of each side of frame 4 leaving the tape backing in place.
- Place on the back edge and near the center as shown in the left photo.
- Do this on all 4 sides.
- Place frame 1 over frame 4.
- Use tweezers to reach into each side seam and remove the backing to the 4 pieces of Scor-tape and press each side in place.
Congratulations! Your Summer Scene Shadow Box is complete. Where will you display it?
And which Nature themed shadow box will you make next?
Here is the Summer Scenes Shadow Box with the 3 background images and all 7 silhouette options that are included with the 3DCuts download. The additional silhouettes and all the backgrounds are available as options to purchase at 3dcuts.com for those that downloaded from the Silhouette store
Would you like to make more shadow boxes? I have designed many. Here are a few:
The collection is available at: http://3dcuts.com/shadow-boxes-nature-themes
© 2017 Marji Roy, 3dcuts.com