DIY: Holiday Shadowbox Décor

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
December 18, 2016

ShadowboxNext weekend, the end-of-year holidays will be in full swing. Saturday is Christmas Eve, and the first night of Hanukkah, Sunday is Christmas—and the following weekend is the end of Hanukkah, and we’ll say goodbye to 2016, and ring in 2017.

One of the reasons I love this DIY project is that it’s totally adaptable to whatever you’re celebrating over the next few weeks—or anytime. You can simply swap out bauble colors to match your interior décor, choose a different word or phrase to highlight, or change the contents of the shadowbox entirely for a different season or holiday. That’s one of the cool things about DIY projects—you can make it completely yours.Shadowbox - SuppliesFor this project, I started with a small shadowbox frame, some silver, white, and red baubles (that fit within the depth of the frame) that I found at Goodwill, some silver glitter spray paint, white acrylic paint, some paint brushes, and I chose to reuse the lights from last year’s DIY String Light Ornaments.

Step One: Glitter
I started with a light coat of glitter spray paint on the inside of the glass on the shadowbox frame—and then gave it an hour or so to dry completely.

Step Two: Letter
If you want the paint to be on the inside of the glass like I did, you need to paint it on backwards. The easiest way to do this is to write it out forward on a piece of thin paper, outline it with a marker that soaks through the paper, then color it in on the backside of the paper. Place the shadowbox on top of the back side of the paper, and paint over your “stencil.” Paint thin, let it dry, and then paint again—repeat this until you have smooth edges, and opaque paint.Shadowbox LetteringStep Three: Baubles
After a little trial and error, I realized the baubles needed to go in before the lights. Not only did that allow a little extra give when closing the frame, but it helped the lettering pop a bit more with the shadows and backlighting.

Step Four: Lights
Fill as much of the rest of the shadowbox with lights—this is totally optional—but I thought it added a nice touch, and it brings a little light to the living room in an otherwise dark time of the year.

Shadowbox - UnlitStep Five: Close The Shadowbox
The final step is to close the shadowbox. If the back of your frame doesn’t quite fit like mine, use a little hot glue to firmly attach the back.

In this whole process, the lettering was the most challenging and time-consuming. If you’d prefer, you can do the same thing by choosing a font you like, and printing your word in the size you want it, rather than hand-lettering. All in all, this project took about 30 minutes (excluding time spent waiting for paint to dry), and adds brightness and “joy” to the room! 




Kim fancies herself a professional communicator. She has experience in writing, graphic design, and social media, and is always looking to expand her knowledge base into other fields of communication. She loves people, coffee & Seattle (including the rain).

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