This shadow box is composed of 3 cut files assembled in layers to create a branch environment for butterflies to hide. The download includes the cutting files for assembling Monarch butterflies as well as the shadow box. I have created this same series of files in several different paper combinations to show you the potential. First, I made a series in vibrant, natural colors….
- Template from Silhouette On-Line Store here.
- Glue dots 3/16″
- Silhouette Cameo
- 3 sheets of 12″ x 12″ Card Stock – Colors or white
- Spray Adhesive
- Permanent Black marker
- Blue Tack Wall Adhesive (optional)
Steps for completing the 3-D Butterfly Shadow Box project:
1. Download the cutting file for your Silhouette Cutting machine from the Silhouette Online Store here. All of the patterns for this project are in Silhouette download. They need to be separated and expanded. Below are some detailed instructions with photographs.
2. Prepare the files:
The downloaded Silhouette file looks like this. Each of the 3 frame parts has to be copied, pasted into a new Silhouette file and enlarged. Continue for more hints on doing this.
Important note; In the Silhouette file, layers 2 and 3 are labeled incorrectly. They are reversed! Just found out 1 year later! (Thanks Linda!)
- The following technique will assist you in getting the inside frames sized correctly.
- Copy the front frame (layer 1) from the original download and paste it into a new file. Enlarge to the size you want your final project to be. I enlarged it to 9.250″ square inches. Notice the dotted fold line. This dotted line is key in correctly sizing layers 2 and 3.
- To duplicate my shadow boxes exactly use the following sizes:
- Layer 1 – 9.250 ” square
- Layer 2 – 8.260″ square
- Layer 3 – 8.190 square
- Cut layer 1 in card stock. Cut settings will depend on your card stock thickness. I used speed of 3, depth of 33 and blade set at 4. This is the frame and for the colored version, I cut it in black.
- The following steps guide you in correctly sizing the frames for different sizes than mine.
- After cutting, select everything (EDIT MENU to SELECT ALL) for the layer 1 file and change the ink color to blue. This step is optional but it helped me from getting confused. Below are the settings in Silhouette for changing color. Select the line tool and then choose a color.
- Return to the original file download and copy layer 2.
- Paste this copy ON TOP of the first file you just turned blue and resize it so the dotted square is slightly smaller. (This dotted square is the fold line when assembling the box.) If you are matching my size, I sized layer 2 at 8.260″ square.
- Notice how the large dotted fold square of the 2nd layer (red) is slightly smaller than the dotted square of the 1st layer (blue). You want to do the same. If you are using thicker card stock you will want more space here.
- Note: I increased the thickness of the lines so this image would show well on your screen. You do NOT increase the line thickness.
- Once the size is appropriate, click on the back frame (blue in my sample) and delete it. You are left with the correctly sized middle layer (layer 2).
- Cut it out on your Silhouette.
- Repeat by turning layer 2 blue and bringing in layer 3.
- Reduce it to be slightly smaller than layer 2. I used 8.190″ for my sample.
- Delete layer 2 and cut layer 3.
- Note each cut file has dotted lines. These are fold lines.
- Fold layers 1 and 2 BACK and fold layer 3 UP.
5. Glue Corners
- I like to use Glue Dots on the corners although other glue types are appropriate.
- It is important to make square corners.
- The back layer (3) slides into the middle layer (2), and both are covered by layer 1(black).
- Place glue dots between the layer frames to hold them all together. Position the back layer with in the front layer so that is place as far back as possible. You want to maximize the space between the layers.
7. Cut and assemble the butterflies.
- I have created shadow boxes with 1, 2 or 3 butterflies. The file comes with 2 patterns. These 2 are cut at this size to match the dimensions I noted above.
- Notice the larger one. It has more detail. It can be resized larger.
- The smaller design is simpler and works better in smaller sizes. For the colorful shadow box I made two of the smaller butterfly, one I reduce in size.
- Each Butterfly requires 2 lacy wings and 2 solid wing halves to be cut. Copy the appropriate files to a new file, duplicate and resize.
- Choose your paper carefully for the lacy wings. Paper that has a lot of fibers tends to not cut well. A smoother card stock is more appropriate.
- Cut the files.
- Work carefully to remove the butterfly from the cutting mat. It is delicate. I found working with a worn-in mat (not too sticky) helps.
- Spray the backside of one lacy wing with adhesive.
- Carefully place the inner wing on each half.
- Work to line up edges.
- Spray adhesive on to the 2nd lacy butterfly and place it over the solid wing piece creating a 3-layered butterfly. Pay close attention to the antennae working to line them up.
- If you have used black for the frame, take a permanent black marker and color any yellow showing on the edges. This step isn’t necessary in a solid color version.
- Fold each butterfly wing up, leaving a flat surface between them. This is not a hard crease but a gentle fold.
- Use a tiny glue dot and glue the heads of the two halves together.
- Repeat this with the two tail pieces. I had to cut glue dots in half so they would fit.
- Spread the antennae.
- And bend the wings down.
- I used glue dots to position the butterflies. I like it with one of them positioned partially out of the frame.
- I use Blu Tak or a similar product to attach to the walls with a material that doesn’t damage the wall and is easy to re-position