Altered shadow boxes are a popular home decor item that have been appearing more and more in the world of scrapbooking in recent times. Basically, they are a shallow box (i.e. wooden or chipboard) that is lined with plain cardstock or patterned paper and filled with all sorts of little objects. Things like photos, embellishments and even 3D curios are glued in to decorate the shadow box.
Scrapbook product manufacturers have even got into this trend and have designed products with the scrapbooker in mind.
Tim Holtz's "Configurations" are another type of shadow box that you can alter. The boxes come in a variety of sizes, square and rectangular, that can be arranged or 'configured' to create a pleasing arrangement within a larger box. See one of his photos below. Also, take a look at Tim's YouTube video instructions here and here.
Another good beginning for a shadow box project is to use the "Shadowbox Tray" from 7 Gypsies. See one decorated below.
Shadow boxes can be made out of many different things: a wooden box, a tray, or even a drawer can do as a shadow box. You will see nice wooden ones available at Michaels (some with a glass front), and also cheaper wooden shadow boxes or trays at a dollar store. See one photo at right and our post about the dollar store trays here.
If you're lucky to find an antique printer's letterpress tray, then there are nice little sections already for you to alter. Jane Dean has done up quite a number of altered printer's trays and has taught classes on this project. Shadow boxes can also be made from scratch, as Jane Dean also shows in a post here where she made all the little boxes out of cardstock
The little deer shadow boxes below were made by attaching the inside of sliding matchboxes together. The backs were lined with magazine clippings of trees.
Red Lead PaperWorks tells how they made shadow boxes using tiny kraft boxes in a post here. See one photo below as well.
Here are some more shadow boxes to take a look at:
– Here is yet another idea for a shadow box, or diorama if you will. This one is by Dottie Angel and is made out of an old drawer. See more photos of it here.
– See some more ideas for altering trays here at A Million Memories.
– Ngaire Bartlam has an altered shadow box up for auction to help victims of Australia's recent flooding here.