I apologize for providing an SVG that is a season behind! I had promised something more timely but this project has caused me such a headache! I hope my frustration means that you won’t have any… This is my first attempt at a lighted shadow box and it was an absolute nightmare. If I believed in curses, I would say this project was cursed from the get-go but I soldiered on!
I won’t go into the nitty-gritty details except to provide some watch-out items should you decide to create this file (or any lighted shadow box file!) in the future:
- Get the interior measurements of the shadow box and use those to size your file. If you order an 8×8 shadow box, your file should NOT be 8×8 as that dimension is the entire length x width of the box including the frame itself. I would recommend you cut one sheet and see how it fits in the box and make any adjustments to the rest of the sheets, if/as needed.
- Stay under 70 lbs with the cardstock. You want the light to come through and heavier paper will dampen the affect.
- Don’t use glue dots or other adhesive dots when combining the cut pages. The light will show through and you’ll see little dots in the corners. Take the time to cut the mat board into strips to frame the pages. The extra time will be worth the final product.
- You don’t need to use hot glue to adhere the mat strips to the pages. I’ve seen many videos and read other tutorials when they recommend it and I, personally, think that’s excessive. Craft glue works great! Of course, dealer’s choice, so if you prefer hot glue, it won’t have any negative affect on the outcome (maybe just your fingers! 😉)
- Depending on which frame you use, put the lights on AFTER you have the final insert completed and inserted in the frame. The light strip will stick out slightly and will force you to bend your insert which may compromise the shadowing affect. Consider a shadow box with a front door rather than backing (this option is included in the supplies list).
- Download SVG File (free with the discount code “lightbox” through 12/31/22)
- 11×11 Shadow Box (interior dimensions 10.59 x 10.59)
- 11 x 17 Cardstock
- LED Light Strip
- Mat board
- Cutting Mat
- X-acto Knife
- Craft glue
- Paper cutter (optional)
Let’s get to it!
This is the flat file view of each of the pages. I gave them each a color just for visualization purposes. You’ll want to use white paper when cutting. There are lighted shadow box pages that do use colored paper but I’ll save that for another time.
Once you’ve measured and tested the correct size for your pages, cut them out. Be sure to keep them in the correct order otherwise your end result won’t look right as the layers are designed with the shadows in mind. In more complex files you’ll also want to be sure not to inadvertently flip the pages but for a simple file like this, there won’t be any impact to the final output.
Cut the mat board with a paper cutter (ideally) or by using a very sharp knife and cutting mat. With four pages you’ll need twelve strips. For any box from 8″ – 11″ (20.32 cm – 27.94 cm), I would recommend staying around 1/4″ (.635 cm) in width. In terms of length, cut them all to match the dimensions you’ve identified in the initial step.
Glue each of the strips to top of each layer trimming the mat board as you go along. I found it easier to stack each layer as I went along rather than creating each layer, letting them dry then putting it together but you can do it either way without impact the final results. You’ll end up with a sandwich of mat strips between the cut sheets.
Now to the box itself. Don’t remove the backing on the lights just yet. Unspool the strip and wrap it around the interior of your shadow box to get the appropriate length. Cut where designated and clip to the power adapter. Then adhere the LED light strip to the interior of your frame.
Finally, insert the final output into your shadow box, find a dark room, turn off the lights and enjoy!
Anyone see the little furry critter hidden in the leaves??
I hope you enjoy putting this simple but amazing project together!
Look out for our next blog post when we go from that simple lightbox to this:
Meaning the additional details not the flipping of the kids! Oops.