Saturday, October 1, 2011

from the studio of: paula cheney

by paula cheney

I love shadowboxes and over the years I have made so many different kinds that I thought I might share a few with you along with some tips on creating them.

1.  Think three-dimensional: look for items that will fit within the depth of the box to enhance your theme.  Frames, bottles, small toys, wood type numbers or letters, wood blocks, paint brushes, natural elements such as seed pods, nests or twine. 

In the example below I created a shadowbox from the lid of a computer paper box.  I added dividers cut from old boxes, then used natural elements to fill each space.

A vintage frame with silhouettes from the Victoriana rubbing, a seashell, a bottle with Gypsy Hardware Kit (Natural History rubbing), a nest with gathered seed pods.

Gypsy Hardware metal oval (Victoriana rubbing), and other natural elements.  The "roses" in the center berry basket are a type of pine cone that opens to look like a rose.  I came across them in a local junk store. 

Some old moss from the craft store, and a few sea shells.  I don't know if you can see it but I even put a sea shell rubbing in the very back of the berry basket.

The bird was mounted on chipboard and cutout to create a pop out shape while the nests remain in the background.

Gypsy Hardware (Natural History rubbing) with a hanging acorn.  I used a Dremel tool to create the hole in the acorn for the wire then hung the entire piece on a broken branch.

2.  Background:
paper - Adhere patterned paper to the background that will not compete with items chosen to showcase.  I find it easier to decide on the items I want to use, then choose the background.
cork - use pins to secure items
fabric - If you don’t want to add fabric directly to the box, cut a piece of foam core a bit smaller than the back then add the fabric to the foam core.  Remember to cut the fabric a least an inch larger than the foam core so that it can be wrapped around the edge to the back side.

In the example below I was working with the 7gypsies wooden library drawer so I adhered the cotton canvas right to the drawer.  The picture was mounted on chipboard, then foam tape to raise it off the canvas background before adding all the clocks that I had previously cut from Paddington paper.

Once you've decided on a background, experiment with arranging your chosen objects.   To create a three-dimensional effect, layer items on top of each other or use pop dots for depth. When you've settled on a pleasing final arrangement, attach your items to the background and ledge.

3. Hidden Meaning:
In the example below I used the Australia map from the Global paper line to represent a trip taken.  I knew I wanted to use the Apothecary bottles on the ledge and starting thinking of what to fill them with.  I like hidden meanings in my work so everything here has a purpose.  The clear bottle has a blue colored rubbing that says "healing salve".  I picked this to represent the feeling of the journey to was a healing salve to my soul.  The feather was gathered at the Sydney harbor.  The amber bottle with the number 16 represents the number of days in the journey and each little strip of paper in the small bottle has a name of someone we met on our journey that we wanted to stay in touch with, hence the stamp (Lille paper tape) on the outside of the bottle.

 The tack nails were placed for each city we visited (7gypsies alphabet clear stamp) and then 2 lengths of red wool embroidery string was stretched from city to city representing two people in love, on one journey together.

Lastly, I added the train tickets behind the bottles and the 09 to represent the year the trip was taken.

So hopefully you can see that a shadowbox can be made from most anything (even cardboard), it can have exciting patterns or quite canvas for a background and it can hold hidden meaning that only you can reveal to the unsuspecting viewer.

paula cheney


iHanna said...

Wow, I would never have thought to make a shadow box from a paper box like this one, but it looks very nice. Thanks for sharing these tips!

Muistojen polulla... Sari said...

Do 7gypsies Pinterest?
If not..Welcome to Pinterest:)
Pinterest are full of inspiring pictures.

I Pinterest...

heidig said...

Great inspiration Paula! You know I'm a huge fan of the Gypsies and I love what you've done with this shadow box.

Stony said...

I came across this post trying to find what folks were using to keep their backgrounds from warping without permanently 'wallpapering' the tray. Chipboard or foamcore board: perfect. I've got those! Now, why didn't I think of that?!

Thanks so much. I not only got the information I wanted; but also some creative inspiration. I love your style. The shadow box vignettes are beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Makes me want to pull out my Australia stuff!

Michelle*G said...