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How To Make A Shadow Box Tree


  1. Wood triangle from dollar tree  
  1. Plastic mini ornaments.  I purchased mine from Target. 
  1. Clear acrylic  
  1. My design, which can be found in my library here.  (You can get the password by clicking the library tap at the top of the page, then click get password for library from the drop down menu.)
  1. Gorilla glue 
  1. Optional: wooden block for tree trunk 
  1. Optional: cardstock and/or paint if you wish to change the background of your triangle.  

I started out by designing my acrylic piece that will go over my triangle.  My triangle was about 20.1 cm or 8 inches tall and 19.9 cm or 7.8 inches wide.  I made my triangle first, then worked on a design to fit inside this triangle.  I initially was going to cut the clear acrylic to fit on my wooden triangle, then cut my design out of vinyl to place on top of the acrylic.  However, as I was making my design, I decided to engrave my design into my acrylic instead.  With my design you could do either method.  Head to my library to download my design for free. Just click here.   

I cut out my acrylic and engraved my design into my acrylic with my Glowforge.  If you have a thinner piece of acrylic, then you can cut and engrave into it like I did with a Cricut Maker.   

shadow box tree

I was going to either paint or apply a cardstock background inside my wooden triangle, but after assembling it to see which method to do, I decided I liked the bright orange background it already had.  I was afraid the green background I was thinking of going with would make some of the ornaments blend in.  My design had the saying merry and bright.  So, I thought the bright background was fitting.   

shadow box tree

Make sure to put the mini plastic ornaments or other items you would like inside your triangle before gluing down your acrylic cover.  I used gorilla glue, and just applied a dot of glue on the three corners.  I did not want to use hot glue, because I was afraid I would get glue strings inside my piece.  I did not want the glue to be as noticeable, which hot glue can be when it is dry.  I like that the gorilla glue dries flat and clear.  However, you can see where I applied my gorilla glue.  It looks like it is still wet, even though it is not. I might try a wood glue or other type of glue if I make this or something similar again.

You can also add a wooden block to the base of your tree to make the trunk of the tree.  I like it both ways.  You could also add a bow or lights around the outside to add a little extra to this piece. I have seen similar pieces, but inside square shadow boxes.  So, if you cannot find a triangular wooden box, then you could do a similar design, but square.  Feel free to modify my design to fit the shape you have.   

You can apply vinyl to a piece of acetate if you are not able to cut acrylic. You can engrave on acrylic and some other plastics with the Cricut Maker engraving tool. You can also use my design to make other things like greeting cards or shadow boxes.

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