Tell someone you love that they make your heart soar by giving them this shadow box heart art that you can make yourself. There are many different color combinations and layering effects to give it your own flair!
Materials and Supplies Used in this Shadow Box Heart Art
(This post contains affiliate links to some of the items I used in this project. It just means that you will help to support my blog if you make a purchase after clicking the links. There is no added cost to you!)
You can be creative in the use of colors for the shadow box heart art by selecting colors that suit you or your loved one. I made two of them so you can see some differences. You will need the following:
- 8″ x 10″ shadow box (whatever I could get with my 50% off coupon for the local craft store)
- Designs – in my Resource Library
- Background sheet (paper or card stock, solid or print) cut to 8″ x 10″ – I found an interesting high-resolution picture of the sky and printed that. I cannot provide you the image due to copyright laws.
- White (or contrasting) card stock — for the heart cutout sheet and the wings (though, you may choose to do the wings in a different color)
- Red (or your preferred color) card stock for behind the heart cutouts and for the soaring heart
- Vinyl – in a color that matches the background sheet I used a blue Cricut Premium Vinyl that almost perfectly matches the blue in the sky image. For the green, I used one that I had in my stash of vinyls that I get for free.
- A craft machine such as the Cricut® to cut the vinyl
- Transfer tape
- Glue, double-sided tape, mounting squares, and/or double-sided foam squares
- Optional: X-acto® knife or scissors
- Optional: Markers (for edge-coloring some of the papers) I used the Metallic Sharpie® for edge coloring the wings
About the Cut Files
The cut files in my Resource Library are designed to fit into an 8″ x 10″ shadow box frame. For these kinds of projects, you should use a plain frame. It’s all about the artwork, not about the frame.
I have provided .SVG and .DXF files so you can cut them on the Cricut, or other craft machines, and a .PDF if you want to cut them by hand.
There are four files.
In the picture above and looking left to right:
- The first is the recommended white card stock from which the heart shapes are cut out so the red (or your choice of color) shows through the cutouts.
- The big red square is the color that is behind the heart cutouts (showing from behind the white card stock). The loose hearts are for making the soaring heart. I provided three hearts so you have options such as stacking layers of hearts for dimension, or folding and gluing them to really make them pop (I have a picture of this later).
- The wings. I made mine from white card stock so I added this cut file on the same sheet as the first sheet with the heart cutouts. I also experimented with cutting the wings from silver glitter (I have a picture of this later) which is why I included it as a separate cut file.
- This last file is for cutting the vinyl. The design contains registration marks so you can perfectly align it to the heart cutout sheet.
Cutting the Designs
I cut all my pieces on my Cricut Maker using the fine point blade. You can cut this on a Cricket Explore or “higher” or any craft machine that will accept .SVG or .DXF files.
After cutting the vinyl, weed it then apply the transfer tape.
You can also cut the pieces by hand. None of the main pieces are too complex. The heart cutouts will be easier to cut with a knife-style cutting tool such an an X-Acto. I have never cut vinyl by hand and I think it would be challenging to only cut through the vinyl and not the carrier paper. You could print the phrase “You make my heart soar” onto a piece of card stock then attach to the finished product or hand-letter it, or use press-on letters.
Using an X-Acto knife, I trimmed my background piece to 8″ x 10″ to fit the shadow box.
Assembling the Shadow Box Heart Art
At this point, you should have all your pieces cut out and ready to assemble.
I will now take you through the steps on how I put together my shadow box heart art then give you tips and alternatives for how you can make your own.
Step 1: Embellish or Enhance the Wings
I put this as the first step so you can “get it out of the way” because it is the most tedious part of this project. It is completely optional, too! It all depends on how you want this to look. I strongly encourage you to make these designs your own. Take what I have provided and apply your own style.
I used a silver Sharpie® to edge-color the wings but you don’t have to do the entire edge. Mostly, you want to do the leading edge of the wings to help them stand out against the white card stock. I did a second Shadow Box Heart Art project and used a little gold Sharpie on the edge. Again, it’s not “in your face” but it’s just enough to give it some contrast.
You can completely skip the edge-coloring by making the wings out of something else. In one of my early experiments, I cut the wings from silver glitter card stock. They looked pretty cool but wasn’t really the look I was going for so I did not use them in my final design.
Something else you can do is extra feathering on the wings. The cut file will separate the wings into 5 “feathered” sections. You can use an X-Acto to further divide those sections into more feathering.
After you have finished embellishing the wings, you should shape them. I provided two sets of wings in the cut file in case you want to stack two of them for more dimension. You could do the additional feathering on the top layer and leave the bottom layer with the cuts in the cut file. Either way, you should shape the wings. You can do this by “scraping” the paper with your fingernail (or a tool) to encourage a curl to the card stock. Keep working at it until it has a shape you like.
An alternative I considered for this project was to use actual feathers instead of the wings.
In one of my test cuts, I made the wings from silver card stock. I have a picture of that later.
Step 2: Attach the Color Behind the Hearts
I used red for the color behind my hearts cutouts. You really can do any color that suits you. Have fun and make it your own style!
I did this two different ways.
- The first was to use double-sided tape to attach the red to the back of the white so they were flush against each other.
- The second method was to use something more dimensional to leave some space between the white and the red. I used the foam squares for this.
Step 3: Attach the Heart Cutouts to the Background
Note: If you are doing something more dimensional, you should probably attach the vinyl to the heart cutouts piece (Step 4) before this step.
The hearts cutout piece (the one I cut from white card stock) can be centered onto the background piece by leaving an equal border around the entire project. You should have a 3/4″ border of the background paper all the way around the white card stock.
I attached this two different ways;
- In the “sky” version, I used the double-sided mounting squares, which made everything flush.
- In the “green” version, I used the double-sided foam squares that I cut into small pieces and placed into the corners before attaching. This lifted the white card stock a little above the green background.
Step 4: Apply the Vinyl to the Heart Cutouts Piece
You should already have weeded the vinyl then applied your transfer tape to the vinyl. It is now time to apply the vinyl to the white card stock.
Remove the vinyl from the backing/carrier paper by peeling the transfer tape away.
The vinyl cut file includes registration marks. These are the angled pieces to each side of the design. These mark the lower edges of the white card stock. Line up these registration marks so that they are just outside of the white card stock.
Burnish the vinyl layer except the registration marks. You want those marks to come up off the project with the transfer tape. They are just there to help with alignment of the text so do not try to push them into the paper layer beneath them.
Pull the transfer tape away. Do not pull up (perpendicular to the work surface). As closely as possible, pull so that you are pulling the transfer tape parallel to the work surface. The registration marks should pull up since you did not burnish them down with the rest of the lettering. If the registration marks are sticking, gently encourage them to come up with the transfer tape using your weeding tool.
You may want to lay the carrier paper over the top of the vinyl and give it a little extra burnishing after you remove the transfer tape. This will help to establish a good bond between the vinyl and the white card stock.
Step 5: Attach the Soaring Heart
There are a few different ways you can do the soaring heart. I have mentioned a couple of times that I would show you the silver glitter card stock wings and the red glitter card stock heart so I will show you those first, though I chose not to use them in my final project.
Glittery Soaring Heart
I had red and silver glitter card stock left over from some of my 24 Days of Christmas Crafting projects. It is these scraps that I used to make a glittery soaring heart. I did not end up using it but I am including it to inspire you to try different things.
To make the red heart, I cut three hearts, folded each heart down the middle, then glued all three together.
After the glue was set, I used a red Sharpie® to edge color the card stock (to hide the white core).
I then glued the red heart to wings I cut from silver glitter card stock. Again, cut but it didn’t end up fitting the look I was going for.
Single Heart and Curved Wings
For the heart and wings combination I used in the blue-sky-background version of this project, I used the curved wings (without the extra feathering) and I attached the heart to the wings with the double-sided mounting squares. The wings were then attached to the white card stock with a single layer of the double-sided foam squares.
When positioning the soaring heart, set it so that it is peeling away from the rest of the hearts, soaring higher than all the rest.
Shaped Heart and Feathered Wings
For the version of this project that I did with the green background, I curved the heart. Using a fingernail, I “scratched” at the card stock to encourage a curve in the paper. I also did a slight crease a third of the way down the center of the heart, as if I was giving it a little cleavage. It might be hard to see in the picture but it helps to give the heart some added dimension.
When I attached it to the white card stock, I used two layers of the double-sided foam squares between the wings and the white card stock to lift the heart a little higher off the paper surface.
You could also stack the soaring heart with the additional cuts of the heart that I provided in the cut file. Put a layer of foam tape or scrapbooking dots between the layers to give it the dimension you want.
Other Options for the Wings
- You could try feathers
- A shimmery vellum might look interesting
- One of Cricut’s foil acetates might be pretty
What else…? Let your imagination and creativity (and your scraps) help you decide! Remember to show off your pictures on Facebook!
Completed Shadow Box Heart Art Project!
I made two of these so I will show you both of them. But, there are so many possible combinations of colors, dimension, and positioning. You could even skip the vinyl lettering cut file I provided and do your own phrase that has meaning to you.
Other Posts About Cutting Vinyl
If you are new to cutting vinyl or just want to try some new projects, then you can click these links to try some of the things I have blogged about that use vinyl somewhere in the project such as using vinyl for a stencil or an etching mask.
- How to get Vinyl for Free (my most popular!)
- Love Your Home! …with These Easy to Make Stenciled HOME Panels
- Royally Etched and Painted Crown Bottles
- Stenciled Tudor Rose Box
- DIY “Create” Sign for Craft Room
- Stenciled NOEL Canvas Holiday Panels
- Believe! – Christmas Plaque
- Kitchen Canister Labels: Organize Your Kitchen
- Shadow Box Heart Art – You Make My Heart Soar!
- Clean and Dirty Dishwasher Magnet
- Gift Poem for the New Mom and Dad