On Display, On Display, On Display {Shadowboxes for the Office}

Why hello there!

Can it be? I’m posting multiple times in one week? Who would have thought. It must mean I’m on a break or something (Happy Passover/Easter!)…

Anyway, in my previous post I mentioned some tutorials for wall decor and art for a beachy office. By now you should have checked out my post on making metallic seashells (but if you haven’t, you can find it here). My next task is to show you how I made some awesome shadowboxes for a sea star, sand dollar, sea biscuit, and a couple urchins.

First things first, my supplies. Unfortunately, sea biscuits and other sea creatures are not made equally (or proportionally). I found several affordable shadowboxes at our local Michaels. They were originally $9.99 a piece, but marked down to 40% off. What I love about Michaels is that they STILL take your coupons on top of the already marked down price. I just happened to have a 25% off frame and shadowbox purchases, so I added that discount onto the already marked down prices. This means I ended up with three awesome shadowboxes for the price of one and a half (about $14). I was so happy with my purchase, but they came with meh black backgrounds. Typically, I love the black-white contrast, but with a beachy theme, it’s a bit too stark.

See? Loads of contrast. Too much for what I'm going for in the room, perfect for other places in our house. It needed to change.

See? Loads of contrast. Too much for what I’m going for in the room, perfect for other places in our house. It needed to change.

The next supply necessary, if you so choose to change the background, is a fabric, paper, or background design you would like to add to your shadowbox. I chose a burlap. I thought it would be very easy to find some cheap burlap at our fabric store, but boy was I wrong. Apparently no one wants to wear scratchy, itchy burlap. Possibly because it may look like a sack? Who knows. What I did find, at a little bit higher of a price, were scrap-booking sheets of burlap that are intended to be page backgrounds. They were about $3 a page, but fortunately on sale for a little more than $2 a sheet. I bought three and also picked up some more shadowboxes. I quickly learned that one shadowbox may fit a flat sand dollar, or even a skinny sea star, but not a sea biscuit or armored sea star. Bummer. Why don’t the shadowbox companies PLAN for these things? Sheesh. So I picked up a few more shadowboxes, which also happened to be on sale at our local JoAnn’s.

After I pulled out my trusty glue gun, a pair of scissors, and my purchased supplies, I got to work. Some of you may have seen this lovely Vine video which included a quick cut of the process.

First, take apart the shadowbox, you can use the backing of the box to cut your burlap/paper. Cut around the edges, making sure that you don’t have TOO much extra around the sides. This will cause your burlap/paper to be wavy and not flat against the backing. That will make it just look messy and you don’t want to do that! Heat up the glue gun, it’s time to go to work. Glue each of the four corners directly to the backing, making sure to not leave room for waves, wrinkles, or the like. Then, center your object (if you so choose to have it centered), making sure it fits proportionally when the shadowbox is reassembled.



For the items that had natural holes in the back, I used both push pins and tacks to hold it in place. I also used a liberal amount of hot glue to attach the objects to the burlap. Let it dry completely and if you’re a daredevil (as I am, obviously), give your backing with the object a gentle shake to make sure it’s fully attached. Worse case scenario, you’ve got a flying sea biscuit. Best case scenario, you’ve glued and anchored PERFECTLY and it will not fall in your awesome shadowbox. Once you’ve done this quick test, place the backing back onto the shadowbox, wiggle until you can anchor all of the back brackets and enjoy your hard work.

Why hello sea biscuit! You will be beautiful on my future office wall.

Why, hello there sea biscuit! You will be beautiful on my future office wall.

Seriously, this project should only take you about 10 minutes. I may have had some missteps (sorry pink urchin, you were a good one), but it took me less than 10 minutes to accomplish the whole project and I made 4.

On the left, a pencil sea star. On the right, a sea biscuit.

On the left, a pencil sea star. On the right, a sea biscuit. Just a little detail shot.

The gang's all here! Pencil sea star, urchins, sea biscuit, and sand dollar.

The gang’s all here! Pencil sea star, urchins, sea biscuit, and sand dollar.

Fortunately, the things featured in the shadowbox were mostly free because they’re from nature (except for the urchin and the pencil sea star). The shadowboxes cost about $25 and the burlap around $8. Overall, I probably spent under $40 for this project and I still have one more shadowbox to fill. So, I call it a success and a step in the right, beachy-office direction!



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