The Shadow Box

Well, it’s done! And I think this thing is really cool! I don’t have that feeling all the time about my art projects, so this is nice.

We left off with a couple of layers of paint on the box and picture frame that I’d picked out to house my Dia de los Muertos miniatures from California.

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In that last picture I posted, you can just see one of the embellishments I bought from Etsy to see if it would work. It’s a cool paint-your-own skull with wings.

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Once it arrived, it occurred to me that it would look really good if painted by a miniature master. Fortunately, I happen to be married to one of those. So I handed it over and he got out his teeny-tiny brushes and got started.

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While he was working on that, I put several more layers of the metalic gold paint on the picture frame, and then a couple of layers of gold glitter paint.

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I lined the back only of the box with a sheet of glitter-covered foam from the dollar store. Then I started attaching some confetti spangles to the inside of the box, and to one of the smaller box lids, which I planned to use as a stage/step area to raise the figures up a little.

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But then I had a brainwave. I remembered a random tin heart I’d received as a freebie when I bought some fabulous earrings from a friend-of-a-friend, Artista Muerta (who has an Etsy shop if you’re interested!). I didn’t have any real plans for the tin heart but it was perfect for this project. So in it went, and I spangled the whole floor instead of the step. I was a little worried that the Mod Podge would flatten or dull the sparkly spangles, but it didn’t.

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The next step was to shimmy the box into the picture frame and stick them together so the box edge didn’t gap away from the frame. I used Loctite paste for this, because I have coordination problems that lead to unfortunate situations with liquid SuperGlue. If I had a nickle for every time I glued my fingers together… One time a few years ago I tried something rated for metal-on-metal adhesion and I was worried I was going to have to go to the hospital for a skin graft if I ever wanted to use my thumb in its opposable capacity again. No joke. So I learn these things about myself, and I work around them. As I said: adhesive paste. Also painter’s tape, so I didn’t have to stand there like an idiot for an hour.

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I gave Husband’s precious skull 24 full hours to dry (again, because I learn lessons, including the one when my stencils ran on the Little Free Library!) and then I gave it a serious bath in clear spray-on sealant. If I may digress for a minute, here is a picture of the pizza box after the sealant dried. I am in love with the way this looks and I feel another art project coming on!

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Once the sealant was dry, I attached the winged skull and ten jumbo-sized aluminum roses (also inspired by Artista Muerta’s jewelry and similar stuff I saw in LA), also using Loctite paste. It’s only been a day but so far that stuff seems pretty serious, as adhesives go. AND I have ten independently usable fingers today! I call that a win.

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So here it is, in all its glory:

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