April 23, 2014
If you don’t like miniature racoons and fake moss grass then this craft isn’t for you (I bet you also hate unicorns and sunshine). If, however, you can’t get enough of those tiny quaint trees and you love anything clever, this is just the craft for you! I love myself a little nature shadowbox. In fact, after I built this woodland shadowbox for my son’s room I knew a mini desert scene needed to be my next project. Plus, I am so sick of winter and I knew I needed to come up with some little craft that brought a sunny nature vibe inside.
Here is what you need to make a nature shadow box of your own:
- Wood and trim scraps (we will cut these to size).
- Craft paints, a paint brush, and a sponge brush.
- Fake moss. You can buy this glorious stuff at your local craft store.
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks.
- Nail gun and nails. You could use screws and a drill or nails and a hammer, however, I found the nail gun and nails to be the easiest to work with.
- Props! Little critters and little plants…really get creative with it. Maybe you want to do a city shadow box-buy yourself some mini cars, light posts, and a teeny tiny park bench!
Step 1: To start, you need to create your “canvas” for your shadow box. In other words, you need to cut the background and side pieces to your shadow box. I used a table saw to cut the wood but you could use a hand saw instead if power tools are not available. The background piece I cut to 12″ wide by 8″ tall. The two side pieces are 5″ wide (I used 5″-wide trim scraps) by 8″ long. The top and bottom pieces are 5″ wide by 13.5″ long.
Step 2: Next, you will want to paint the sky first. My toddler helped me paint because “I’m not like those regular moms, I’m a cool mom” ;). Also, he wouldn’t nap so we improvised. As you can see, I painted all of the “top” piece and half of the background and two side pieces. I let the sky-blue paint dry for 15 minutes before I moved on to step 3.
Step 3: Now, for step 3, paint on the rest of the details on the background, sides, top, and bottom. I added mountains and a little river. Remember that the 5 pieces of wood act as one painting so your mountains and rivers can be painted as if they continue from one piece to another. You will notice that when you nail them together the mountains and streams match up.
Step 4: For step 4 I added fake moss as grass to the bottom piece of trim. I made sure to cut it around my river so that it looked like the river was flowing through the grass. That last sentence sounded like DIY poetry. Using hot glue, secure the moss to the trim surface and don’t hesitate to really glob on the hot glue.
Step 5: Now it is time to nail all the sides together to create a box. All 4 sides of the box need to be flush with the background piece of wood, meaning that if you laid the background piece flat on the ground, all four sides would stand flat on the ground (not on top of the background piece). Nail all side pieces into the edges of the background piece, making sure that the top and bottom sides cap off the ends of the two side pieces. Finish nailing the box together by nailing the top and bottom pieces to the side pieces.
Step 6: For step 6, and the final step, you get to add all the props! Put that hot glue gun to good use and glue down those critters and greenery.
Finished! There is no denying that this is the cutest shadow box you have ever seen, right!?