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An Eye On Design:

February 27, 2014

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The Bliss of Spreading Love... Artistically.

September 6, 2013

Vintage Travel Themed Shadow Box = Perfect Gift for My Boyfriends B-day

Anyone who really knows me, knows I love celebrations! Holidays, birthdays, life milestones, Fridays... any excuse to enjoy the company of family and friends and/or have a slice of cake. However, besides the sheer fun of a good party, I also love having the opportunity and excuse to gift something special to the ones I love.

I've been busy lately with graduate school and life in general, so sadly my blog has suffered. BUT... I decided to take  my boyfriend's birthday as an opportunity to add a new update to My Artistic Bliss. And maybe further still, push myself back into the swing of things where my blog, art and writing are concerned.


So here's my latest project!


I crafted a collage shadow box out of $50 worth of Michael's supplies, 5 printouts of both vintage Los Angeles maps and travel related posters, 2 pages of both edited and created images and quotes about travel using Photoshop, acrylic paint, and a couple of odds and ins from my art studio.

The bliss of gifting something handmade and meaningful is that you can give someone a physical representation of the love you have for them that can't be found anywhere else. When trying to come up with what I should do or get my boyfriend for his birthday this year I thought about what I could give him that would be both useful and meaningful. Then, like clockwork a great idea came to mind.


Months ago, not too long ago really, me and the boyfriend went with a couple of friends to the Griffith Observatory and found these really cool playing cards. The cards were apart of this project based in San Fran where various artists created these limited addition sets of playing cards with different artwork on the face of each card within a set. The catch? You don't know what you're going to end up with until you buy and open up the pack. We however lucked out and ended up with a deck featuring hand drawn pictures of landmarks from around Los Angeles - various sites, architecture, and destinations, etc. We decided right then and there that it would become our mission to visit all 52 landmarks together, whether or not we've been there separately.


SO I thought, what would be a better gift than a place to showcase the memories we're going to be create with each other and giving him a one of a kind handmade art piece to mount on his wall?? I can't think of one.... ;)


So anyway, that's the story of what and why... here's how...


Step 1: Preparing the surface

I started by attaching my two 1' x 2' x 1/4" boards together with Aleene's Quick Dry Tacky Glue, this would be the back of my shadow box. I used a thin strip of fabric down the center of the front of the board on the wet glue to further strengthen the bond between the two boards. Then let them dry for about 30-45mins. Then I sawed off apx. 1/4" of the wood from the top of the board and sanded the edge smooth, so that it would nestle inside of the frame later on in the project.


Step 2: Creating the layout

Next, I cut out the graphics I'd be using on the board, as well as cutting up the paper I'd be using for the background in various sizes of rectangles and squares. Then laid them out on top of the back board to create my layout. My own personal rule of thumb is to create contrast by avoiding putting like colors and textures together.

My preliminary layout


Step 3: Attaching the Goods

Then, I glued down all the pieces of the layout to the board using spray crafting glue, by first spraying the back boards with the glue, then the backs of each individual piece of paper and pressed them in place. I let them dry, then brushed a mixture of white glue and water over the surface of the entire board and let that dry. Some of the layout got shifted around a bit in the process, which is total fine. I then hot glued some bottle caps to the back board to add another touch of whimsey to it, but filling them with the hot glue and carefully placing them on the board.


Step 4: Making the Frame & Accessories

While my back board dried, I painted one side of each of my 2' x 3" x 1/4" side panels with a deep red color of acrylic paint (which I mixed a hint of blue in to deepen the color). These would become the inside walls of my shadow box. After they dried I nailed them together to create a 2' x 2' square frame using two 1-3/4" nails on each size, then I painted both the exterior and interior of the frame with wood stain. Let it dry, and added two additional coats of stain to the exterior.


While my frame dried I spray painted the clothes pins with red paint, they would eventually hold the playing cards on the lines within the shadow box.


Step 5: Attaching the Frame to the Backing

After everything had dried (the back, the frame, and the bottle caps) I slid the frame into place over the back board so that the back board was nestled into it and squeezed a thin strip of the Aleene's Fast Grip Tacky Glue all around the inside corners of the boxes and let it dry.


I then used a staple gun and 3/4" staples to secure the back board in place all around the outside of the frame, apx 10-12 of them on each side.


Step 6: Creating the card-lines and Attaching a picture frame hanging line

Lastly, I nailed tacks onto the insides of the side panels alternating front to back with their placement, then tied white crochet thread into loops and attached them to the tacks. Then attached a picture hanging line to the back top of the shadow box.

 And with that I was done!

 Here's how it looks now hanging in my boyfriends room. Happy Crafting!




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