Day 16 of the 24 Days of Christmas Crafting!
The goal for these 24 days is to give you ideas for hand-crafted Christmas decorations for your tree and home. Come back each day to try the next craft. 24 Days of Christmas Crafting!
You can add this cut paper nativity scene to your Christmas decor and use it every year. It also makes a unique gift to special people in your life.
Materials and Supplies
- A 5″ x 7″ shadowbox frame
- The pattern from my Resource Library
- Double-sided foam tape
- Sheets of card stock in varying colors (see below)
- White craft paint
- Paint brush
About the Card Stock
Like many of these projects, you can adapt it to whatever suits your personal decor. For example, in this project, you can use all the same color card stock, which will use fewer sheets. I will walk through how to make this exact project as pictured with a different color on each layer.
To make this project, the card stock you will need includes:
- Dark blue (this is the night sky background) – 1 sheet
- Gold Glitter – 1 sheet
- Gradient Sheets – one sheet of six different colors that go from light to dark. The darkest sheet should still stand out against the dark blue background sheet.
Cutting the Layers
I cut all my layers on my Cricut. The .SVG file is in my Resource Library. The .SVG file has each layer in a separate color so the machine knows to stop between each color for you.
Tip: First print the entire design on something like plain printer paper (you can use the sheets in the PDF for this). Lay out all your colored sheets and place the printer paper copies of the design onto the appropriate colored sheet. As your craft machine moves to each layer, you will not accidentally cut the wrong color for a specific part of the design.
Cutting by Hand
You can print the design pieces directly onto your card stock from the PDF in my Resource Library. Print on the side you consider to be the back of the paper. After cutting, no printer ink/toner will be on the front side. This also means your finished design will be a mirror of the one in this project.
Preparing the Layers
Before you begin…!
Not all shadow box frames are exactly the same size. The cut size for this project is 5″ x 7″. Some shadow box frames give you that full 5″ x 7″ space in the area behind the glass. For other frames, the interior area is smaller than the 5″ x 7″ space. Measure first! If your frame’s interior space is smaller, there is room in the design pieces to trim off the amount you need to fit it within the walls of the shadow box. Or, if you are cutting by machine you can scale the cut to fit inside your shadow box frame.
Adding Stars to the Night Sky
The dark blue layer is the night sky. To add some stars, you can use white craft paint to do some spattering. If you have never done spatter painting, get some practice on some old paper first. Make sure you protect your work surface before spattering. That stuff can go everywhere. 😉
Water down some white craft paint (approximately 1 part water to 1 part paint). Wet the bristles of your paint brush. While aiming at your target, tap the handle of the paint brush against your hand or the handle of another paint brush. You could also use an old toothbrush to spritz the paint onto the paper. Aim low for the first couple of taps. These will be the biggest blobs of paint and the lower half of this project will not be seen.
When you get a spatter that is a little bigger than the others, use the point of a toothpick to draw out the paint to give it a starlight effect. If you want your starlight effects brighter, you can go back later and add another layer of strokes with a toothpick dipped in paint.
Make sure this layer is dry before proceeding to the next step.
Building up the Layers
Each layer will be built up to stand a little away from the previous layer. We will do this with the double-sided foam tape. The deeper your shadow box, the more space you can place between the layers. The stiffer your card stock, the fewer places you will need to add the foam tape. If this is something that will decorate your home year-after-year, you will want to be sure the card stock stays put and doesn’t sag due to humidity while in storage.
I used a single layer of tape between layers. If the shadow box had been deeper, I would have bought thicker foam tape or used two layers of tape in each place.
Adding the First Layer
Start with your night sky layer on your work surface.
The next layer is the city. On the back side of the city layer, add foam tape in the places indicated. For the most part, you will need support at the edges. Some of these pieces of foam are to help support subsequent layers as you apply them.
Remove the protective paper from the foam tape. Turn the city layer over and position it on top of the night sky layer. Lightly press the layers together.
Do the same thing for the next layer. Add the foam tape in a few place on the back side.
Repeat this process for the remaining layers until you built up all the layers. For the star, I wanted it to stand out further than the city so I used two layers of foam tape on it.
As I stated earlier, each frame is a little different. I mounted my dark blue layer onto a piece of corrugated cardboard to make it centered within the depth of the shadow box. That positioned it mid-way in the depth of the shadow box. I didn’t want it up against the glass but also not all the way to the back. I ended up with it nicely centered within the shadow box.
Come back each day for a new project in the 24 Days of Christmas Crafting!