Vintage Twist Shadowbox


  • Wooden shadowbox
  • Salvaged items: denim fabric; window screen; thread spool; buttons; marbles; brown paper bag
  • STYROFOAM Brand Foam (Dow)
  • Papers: patterned: green distressed (Making Memories); pink swirl (Basic Grey);solid: white vellum
  • Creative Metal aluminum sheet metal (Walnut Hollow)
  • Metal embossing border template (Walnut Hollow)
  • Clear acetate sheet (Midwest Products)
  • White Air-Dry Clay (Makin’s Clay)
  • Clay mold (Crafty Lady Art Molds)
  • Rub-ons: brown swirl and “family” (My Mind’s Eye); white floral (American Crafts)
  • Silver bookplate
  • Crocheted Flower (My Mind’s Eye)
  • Metal-look model washtub
  • Black model dressform
  • Lace ribbon scrap
  • Aqua square alphabet letter (Prima Marketing)
  • Photo frame (Melissa Frances), 1-1/2”x2”
  • Wooden strip (Midwest Products), 3/8”-wide
  • Silver wire (Toner)
  • Americana Acrylic Paint (DecoArt): Titanium White; Pink
  • FolkArt Acrylic Paint (Plaid): Buttercream


  • Heart stamp
  • Top Boss Embossing Watermark ink pad (Clearsnap)
  • Black embossing powder (Clearsnap)
  • Medium Ball Stylus and Metal Detailing Tool (Walnut Hollow)
  • Gesso Spray (Krylon)
  • Matte Finish (Krylon)
  • Adhesives (Beacon Adhesives): Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive; Zip-Dry Paper Glue; Gem-Tac Permanent Adhesive; Liquid Laminate



  • Prepare shadowbox. Spray all surfaces of shadowbox with Gesso Spray. When dry, basecoat Titanium White. Apply sealer; let dry.


  • Cut filler blocks. Measure length and width of desired shadowbox holes and trim blocks of STYROFOAM brand foam to fit spaces. Cut 1/2 of trimmed blocks to depth of shadowbox and remaining trimmed blocks to 1/2 depth of shadowbox.

Create recessed backgrounds

  • 1. Note: Leave some spaces undecorated.
  • 2. a: For paper, cut green distressed or pink swirl paper to fit desired shadowbox holes. Glue to back of hole.
  • 3. b: For denim, cut denim to fit desired shadowbox holes, and gently fray edges. Glue to back of hole.
  • 4. c: For metal, cut metal sheet to fit desired shadowbox holes. Use ball-head stylus and embossing template to create design on metal sheet. Refine design with smaller refining tool and glue to back of hole.
  • 5. d: For photos, cut photos to fit desired shadowbox holes and glue to back of hole.

Create partially recessed backgrounds

  • 1. a: For paper and photos, measure length and width of holes designated as 1/2 depth in Step 2. Cut paper or photos to fit desired holes. Glue paper to 1/2 depth STYROFOAM Brand Foam blocks and glue blocks to back of shadowbox holes.
  • 2. b: For metal, measure length and width of holes designated as 1/2 depth in Step 2. Cut metal sheet 1” larger than hole. Emboss design onto metal using technique in Step 3c. Cut 1/2”x1/2” L-shaped piece from each corner and wrap overlapping metal around STYROFOAM Brand Foam block. Glue metal to block and block to back of shadowbox.
  • 3. c: For screen, cut screen 1” larger than desired hole. Cut 1/2”x1/2” L-shaped piece from corners of screen. Paint screen Titanium White (Baby Pink for Step 5c). Using straight edge of table or metal ruler, bend 1/2” of each screen side back at right angle. Glue bent screen sides to sides of shadowbox hole.

Create flush-front backgrounds

  • 1. Repeat Steps 4a-4c using full-depth STYROFOAM Brand Foam blocks.

Embellish (beginning at top left).

  • 1. a: Apply rub-on phrase to white vellum. Cut around design, leaving 1/2” on each vertical side. Score and fold back extra vellum, and glue folded pieces to sides of shadowbox hole, 1” from back.
  • 2. b: Glue crocheted flower to screen.
  • 3. c: Stamp heart onto acetate sheet using Watermark ink, and heat emboss using black embossing powder. Cut around heart and adhere, keeping adhesive behind black embossed image.
  • 4. d: Glue marbles into model washtub and washtub to base of hole.
  • 5. e: Apply rub-on floral design to green patterned paper. Attach letter.
  • 6. f: Glue bookplate to back of shadowbox hole.
  • 7. g: Press air-dry clay into mold. Remove and let dry completely. Glue to screen.
  • 8. h: Thread wire end through one hole of several buttons. Bend wire and thread back through different button hole. Trim wire ends evenly. Twist loose wire ends below stacked buttons to create button flower. Repeat to form multiple flowers of different heights. Glue spool to base of shadowbox hole. Fill center of spool with Fabri-tac, 1/4” from top, and insert flower stems to form bouquet. Let dry.
  • 9. i: Cut strips of paper bag 3/8”-wide. Decoupage strips onto dress form using Liquid Laminate. Glue lace scrap around bottom of “dress”.
  • 10. j: Cut piece of window screen to cover frame opening and glue to reverse side of frame. Glue frame to cover shadowbox hole opening.
  • 11. k: Print “family” saying onto vellum rectangle in green ink. Apply rub-on swirl to reverse side of vellum. Create frame from 3/8”-wide wooden strip painted Snow White, and glue to front of vellum.


  • 1. Determine the desired depth and spaces before beginning project.
by Carla Schauer
Vintage Twist Shadowbox
Vintage Twist Shadowbox