a view from the laundry pile…

…it's all about perspective.

Just me and my shadow box

on June 9, 2012

About a month ago, when Fred and I were toodling around town, we stopped at a thrift store and I picked up a small shadow box for $1.99. It was in pretty good condition, though the wood was a bit rough. I decided to get it because I thought it had “potential” (what doesn’t?) and wanted to try painting it.

Since this was just an “experiment” (as most things are with me) I chose colors that I would, probably, never pick for myself – just to be different and see what I could come up with. I work mostly with acrylics because they’re so “forgiving” as I tend to make a lot of mistakes before I get things just the way I want them…or close enough. 

After cleaning the shadow box with a damp rag (and making sure it’s dry), I painted each of the little ‘cubbies’ a different color and the outside a solid, dark brown. I ended up applying 3-4 coats of paint, letting each one dry thoroughly in between.

While the paint was drying, I poked around the internet to get some ideas for a design. Though there were several out there, I couldn’t find any one that I liked well enough but, based on different components of what I saw, was able to come up with something of my own; an Amish-looking flower tree.

When the base paint was all dry, I drew the design on (in pencil) then painted it using the same colors I’d used for the cubbies, because I like “matchy-matchy,” plus I added white to give it a little more interest and make the flowers ‘pop’ a bit.

Once this was all dry, I applied a layer of gloss varnish. I did this for two reasons. The first is to seal the artwork to prevent it from smearing when I did the last step. And the second was because I wanted to “age” the piece but not cover up the design. The varnish helps keep any additional layers of paint from soaking in and totally covering the existing artwork.

When the varnish had dried, I applied a thin layer of brown paint, doing one section at a time, and wiping off the excess with a rag – to give it an aged/vintage look. (If you feel you got too much paint on the piece, dip one tip of the rag in some water and wash it off).  Let this dry and apply another coat of varnish (you could even use tinted varnish for an even more aged look). Attach a hanger on the back and you’ve got yourself a nice new, old, upcycled/reused shadow box…though, now that it’s finally done and I’m looking at it, I may just add handles to the ends and make mine a tray…hmm. So many choices.

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4 responses to “Just me and my shadow box

  1. iangoldsmith says:

    Nice use of colour and design. Fab!

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