Tag Archives | Travel

How to Mod Podge a Travel Shadow Box!

You take that vacation of a lifetime, take thousands of wonderful pictures, and then come back home to the real world. You dive into the hustle and bustle of real life, and those wonderful memories stay hidden away on your computer hard drive, only to be seen when they pop up randomly on your computer’s screen saver.

[Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Plaid, the maker of Mod Podge, but all opinions expressed are my own.]

It happens to all of us, right?

In January, I got the opportunity to do something that I’ve dreamed of for decades – go to Paris! I’d longed to go back as an adult and truly appreciate it, having been when I was in grade school and lacked appreciation for the city’s art treasures and history. I came home from my two days in the city with several thousand pictures, and a determination that they would not waste away in dusty obscurity in the nether regions of my computer.

Part one of that process is creating a shadow box of my trip, with a few highlight photos from those two days. But for a trip this special, it couldn’t be just any shadow box. So, with some help from Mod Podge, I turned a plain white shadow box into a fabulous custom piece that lives up to my vision of housing memories from my trip.

Paris Shadowbox with Mod Podge

Supplies Needed:

This shadow box started with a simple – and very modern style – white shadow box that I purchased for less than $10 at a craft chain store. It was the perfect size for the project I had in mind with my Paris pictures, but far from the right style. But a little Mod Podge and artisan paper I purchased from etsy fixed that right up!

White Shadowbox

The shadow box has a soft fabric covered back in it that is designed to be used with thumb tacks or pins to attach photos and memorabilia. I opted not to use that and instead I cut a 9×9 piece of my craft paper to use as a background. I did this first thing when I started working on this project, to make sure that I could cut it from exactly the area of pattern of the paper that I wanted.

Before beginning to work on my travel shadow box project, I took apart the shadow box completely, the same as if I was putting new contents into it, and then also removed the glass. This meant that I could work without having to worry about breaking the glass, or smudging or gluing it.

The paper I used for this decoupage project, from etsy artisan artanlei is a very heavy paper, more like a heavy gift wrap than the tissue weight that is typically sold as decoupage paper. This weight to the paper is important to being able to easily fit the fit these relatively complex pieces for the frame – creases hold where you put them and the paper holds up well to being handled and marked with pencil for cut lines. Choose your paper carefully to ensure success (and fewer headaches) on a project like this!

Using a ruler, scissors, a pencil, and other tools, I dry fitted pieces to cover the four sides of the frame.(Notice how the pieces are holding the creases for the frame’s corners? Those nice creases made it super easy to fit the pieces once I starting gluing!) My pieces wrap from the front of the frame, around the side, and onto the back.

Paris Shadowbox Decoupage Paper

To glue down my paper pieces to my shadow box, I reached for most crafters’ go-to for decoupage: Mod Podge Matte. It goes on smooth, and it dries fast – but not so fast that I can’t adjust the placement of pieces as I put them on. And most importantly, it dries clear and matte, meaning that it wouldn’t leave behind tell-tale shiny spots from accidental glue smudges and smears on my paper.

Since there wasn’t enough time for my brushes to dry between cleanings in doing my gluing steps, I chose to use foam brushes for this instead of my much-loved Mod Podge Decoupage Brushes. (Note to self: Get more decoupage brushes!)

Mod Podge Matte

I glued down the pieces for the sides of my box first, by putting Mod Podge on the box surface and the paper surface. I pressed the paper into place, starting by lining up the edge of the paper along the edge on the front by the glass and smoothing it towards the first crease, bending around the corner to the sides of the box and then finally to the back edge.  To make sure that I got nice smooth adhesion, I used a brayer to roll the pieces as I pressed them on each surface.

Tip: Be sure to get your Mod Podge all the way to the edges of the paper so that you won’t have to go back and tack down edges later!

Notice how the corners of these pieces are square, even though the finished front will appear that the paper pieces have angled corners? By leaving the pieces square on the first pieces that I laid down, I didn’t have to worry about cutting two angled pieces for each corner and making them match perfectly. I could just lay the second, angled piece, over the first piece and it would create the illusion of beautifully mitred corners!

Paris Shadowbox in progress

Once the glue was dry on the first pieces that I had glued down, then I repeated the decoupage process with the pieces for the bottom and top of the shadowbox. See my nice “mitred” corner?

Notice the nice placement of that phrase along the top, and how on the sides the text is going the same direction as on the top and bottom? That’s no accident! I carefully chose the areas of the paper that I cut each piece from so that it would create the look that I wanted for my box. The “de la Republique francaise” – which translates to “of the French Republic” – seemed the perfect title for the top of my box! The positioning of the graphic elements in the bottom right corner of the box was also deliberate as well.

Paris Shadowbox in progress

Here’s a close-up look at how my corners look with the overlap that creates the mitred look.

Paris Shadowbox corner close-up

The paper extends onto the back of the shadowbox. I didn’t bother to mitre the corners on the backside. The extension of the paper to the rear of the box is simply to avoid rough or unmatched edges where the box will meet the wall. Instead, there is a nice fold, and the paper stops on the back.

Paris Shadowbox reverse

Once the box itself was done, then I turned to its contents. First I printed some of my photos from my trip as 2″ by 3″ photos, with a small border on them, and then adhered them to the background paper using Mod Podge Paper and the largest of the Mod Podge Decoupage Brushes.

Mod Podge Decoupage Brushes

Next, I wanted to embellish my box. There wasn’t a lot of room left to work with but the box needed a little something more than just my photos. I had a set of Graphic 45 Cityscapes stamps that have some small Paris themed designs in them, but how to make them dimensional? Mod Podge Podgeable Glass Domes to the rescue!

Mod Podge Podgeable Glass Domes

I stamped several of the Cityscapes 2 images on natural colored cardstock with waterproof ink that is almost exactly the same color as part of the design on my decoupage paper that I bought from etsy. Then I used some of the smaller decoupage brushes to paint Mod Podge onto the back of some of the glass domes and pressed them onto place on top of the stamped designs. Once the Mod Podge was dry, I used a craft knife to cut around the edges of the glass domes to remove them from rest of the paper, and glued them in place (with more Mod Podge, of course) on the shadowbox’s photo layout.

Mod Podge Podgeable Glass Dome
Mod Podge Podgeable Glass Domes

I still needed a few more embellishments, though. See that Eiffel Tower in the close-up above? I just knew that I had to include it in this shadow box – and it’s Mod Podge too! It’s made from the Mod Melts system of colored meltable sticks that can be used in a hot glue gun or better yet a Mod Melter to fill silicone molds to create custom embellishments. For my Paris shadowbox project, of course, I just had to use the metallic pack that contained gold Mod Melts! I used several different Mod Melts molds for my shadowbox, including the Travel and Royal Icons pictured below.

When my Mod Melts were done, I adhered them to my shadowbox by using my Mod Melter like a hot glue gun, so the glue matched the objects that I was adhering.

Mod Melts

For the last touch, I wanted to put the title “PARIS” on my box. I used wooden letters and painted them with the new FolkArt Brushed Metal paint in Brushed Gold. The paint’s color and texture almost perfectly matches the Mod Melts that I made, as well as coordinating nicely with some of the highlight tones in the paper that I used. Once they were dry I attached them to the front of the box with Mod Podge Matte.

Paris Shadowbox embellishments
Paris Shadowbox

The last step was to reassemble the box and put the backer in it. I just laid the sheet of paper on top of the fabric back of the shadow box and it held fine when reassembled.

And now, for some exciting news! Tomorrow is Mod Podge’s 50th birthday! And to celebrate, Plaid will be doing an entire day of live streams, projects and giveaways starting at 10am eastern! Don’t miss it!

Oh, and if you love Mod Podge…be sure to stop by Craft Critique tomorrow as well…hint, hint! [Update: It’s a Giveaway!!!]

National Mod Podge Day

Make A Travel Shadow Box with Graphic 45 Artisan Style!

I’ve been doing a lot of travel this year for work that has taken me to new places. The result has been (virtual) stacks of photos that I really want to do something with to remember all of the exciting places that I have been. Albums are great, but sometimes it is nice to have the memories out where you can enjoy them everyday. I decided to make a home for some of my favorite San Francisco memories in a Graphic 45 shadow box!

Shadow Box Graphic 45 Artisan Style

As soon as I saw the recent Graphic 45 Artisan Style collection, I just knew it was perfect for my San Francisco photos. I had taken some Instagram photos I was especially proud of on the trip. The vintage filters and warm colors in the photos matched beautifully with the Artisan Style collection! 

Graphic 45 Artisan Style

The Graphic 45 Ivory Shadow Box is 10″ by 10″ in size, so the 12″ paper pad collection is plenty of paper for covering it.

I had my Instagrams printed at Persnickety Prints as press prints that came with white borders.

I wanted to build the shadow box around the photos, so I decided to start at the back (the photos’ background) and work out making my paper selections. I narrowed it down to two options for the background behind the photos: orange and cream.

The cream color definitely was tasteful and allowed the photos to dominate.

Shadowbox cream background

Ultimately, though, I settled on this orange text print paper. The warmth of it (versus the cool cream colored option) really played to the warm tones in the photos.

Shadowbox orange background

To keep it from getting too dark inside, I used the cream print for the side walls of the windows. The front is a brilliant floral that provides a touch of green that will coordinate with the pale green walls of my studio where it will be displayed. The fronts of the shelves were done in a black & white print. The smaller print worked better in that area than the large floral. The sides (on the outside) were done in a black text print.

Travel Shadow Box
Travel Shadow Box


Starting at the bottom left, let’s take a closer look at each window.

This window was designed to showcase the die cast cable car that I bought in a shop on the San Francisco waterfront after we had ridden the cable car. In fact, that die cast cable car was the entire inspiration for this shadow box. As soon as I saw it on the shelf, I knew that I had to buy so I could build a shadow box around it! The only other thing in this niche is the Instagram press print that I left the white border on.

Model Cable Car

In the upper left, I crammed two prints into the niche by layering them. Using the Graphic 45 metal clothespin to hold the small print separates it from the bottom print visually, and also gives the niche some dimension. I rubbed some FolkArt Acrylic paint in Vintage White into the word “timeless” on the clothespin to make it pop.

Metal Clothespin

The upper right niche contains the only “snapshot” that I included in the box. It’s important for a couple of reasons. It shows the Golden Gate Bridge in the background (this is the closest that we got), and it also records my travel partner Anna Rose. We were in the San Francisco area together to work at a Scrapbook Expo for Cricut – she’s one of Cricut’s fabulous in-house designers. Check out the library of “Make It Now” projects in Cricut Design Space to find her work!

Speaking of Cricut…I made the label for this niche on my Cricut Explore! It’s a label cut file with the “San Francisco” text added on top with a Cricut font in black pen. It was so quick and easy, and the perfect way to label the box’s location!

Cricut label

The final niche, on the lower right, contains my favorite picture that I took of a cable car. Because the photo took up so much of the area and I didn’t want to block it, the only embellishment is the small chipboard piece from the Graphic 45 Artisan Style collection. Because of the shape and position, it almost looks like a decorative thumbtack holding the photo in place.

Cable Car Photo

One of the reasons that this is my favorite photos is that there is an advertisement for the Ghirardelli’s factory on the side – but if you look real closely at the window above the ad, the iconic sign that is on the top of the factory building is reflected in the window! I wish I could claim that I did this on purpose, but it was a happy accident.

Photo Window Reflection

Looking closely at the bottom of the shadow box, some of the paint techniques I used are visible. All of the edges were dry brushed with the FolkArt Vintage White color to give them a distressed look (and hide the paper seams a bit). Less obvious is the paint work on the wooden feet. They were first painted with a black high gloss acrylic by Martha Stewart Crafts, and then (after it was dry) the FolkArt Vintage White was wiped on top of it with baby wipes to knock it back a bit so it wasn’t so glaring next to the black paper. A little of the Vintage White got stuck in the crevices of the wood, which worked nicely with the black and cream paper print.

The feet are wood pieces by Plaid, attached with a hot glue gun.

Shadowbox Feet

A few things aren’t obvious on first glance when examining the shadow box, but do affect the final look:

  • To avoid having white “raw” edges, I used a black ink pad to ink the edges of the photos to give them a drop shadow effect.
  • I cut the paper pieces as close as possible to measurement, and then used my Tim Holtz sanding block to trim them flush to the edges.
  • It was hard to get the feet precisely level applying them with hot glue. I used a skim coat of Ranger Glossy Accents on the bottom of one of them to level it when it ended up a hair shorter than the others because it was attached with less glue.
Travel Shadow Box

Would you like to get your vacation memories out where you can see them? A shadow box may be the answer!

[Some products used in this project were supplied to Nally Studios by Graphic 45 as editorial samples. This author has a professional affiliation with Cricut, however that relationship’s obligations do not include writing blog posts or posting projects. Some links in this post are affiliate links that support this website through commissions on purchases.]

Fiskars 4" Folding Scissors

 Reported by Christina Hammond
Fiskars 4″ Folding Scissors

Fiskars has come to my crafting rescue with their new 4″ folding Scissors.  For as long as I can remember, I have had a tiny pair of folding scissors attached to my keys, to my backpack zipper pulls, and in the tote for each of my projects. I used to buy them at the neighborhood hardware store from a bucket at the cash registers, usually for about a quarter.  Sadly, I haven’t been able to find them for years and I have lost all of my old ones.  I had been resorting to tossing cheap nail clippers into my bags, but this is not ideal because the blades can still catch and ruin delicate needlework.

I was so excited to find these at Michael’s that I did a little happy dance right in the aisle and bought them without a coupon (GASP!).  They are a bit pricey for my taste at $12.99.
Size compared with a quarter.  Compact!

The scissors are 4″ from the tips to the end of the handles.  The blades are less than 2″ long, perfect for quick snips of thread. 

Small, Sturdy and Useful

Right out of the package, the scissors are stiff and difficult to open and fold.  I have had them for a couple of weeks now and I can report that while still fairly stiff, the folding mechanism is getting easier and easier.  I would like to be able to open them one handed, eventually, as I am usually doing my knitting/needlework projects in the car while my husband drives or at the playground while the kids play and there is nowhere to set a project down to fiddle with scissors. 

The Blades:  Blunt Tips

I would say that these scissors are best suited for the yarn or needlework crafter.  I have tried to cut different papers with varying success.  Finely detailed work is out, for sure, because the blades are thick and blunt tipped.  I found that standard notebook paper cuts well, but tissue and thicker papers result in cuts that are not as smooth as many would desire.

Tips are protected when folded.


  • The size.  Small and compact.
  • Blades are small enough that they’re safe for airline travel.
  • The bright handles make them easy to spot.
  • Convenience for crafters on the go.


  • Cost. MSRP is $12.99
  • Folding is stiff and difficult at times.
  • Sharp enough for quick yarn/thread snips, but don’t expect to cleanly cut your scrapbooking projects.   

Do you have a favorite “on the go” craft supply?  What do you think of these little folding scissors? Leave a comment and let us know!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!