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Dragonfly Luminaries: A 3D Paper Project

Dragonfly Luminaries: A 3D Paper Project main article image
Posted on March 19, 2021 by Jan Hunter

Spring and summer always become a little more special when we see the dragonflies flying and skimming the air. These gold antiqued box cards in 3 sizes are remind us of those warm days ahead and the cards would be perfect for a table scape for an upcoming dinner or change in home décor but will fold flat fitting into an envelope.

You’ll need:

  • Lantern box card SVG file (SVGCuts)
  • Dragonfly (Dragonfly Illustration for Crafter)
  • Dragonfly 12 from Summer Pond Watercolor Clip Art
  • Cardstock (Bazill Cardstock in Expresso and Roadrunner were used for this project)
  • White cardstock for sentiment on back of large luminary
  • Vellum
  • Sequins (transparent)
  • Gold splatter spray
  • Clear pop up tape
  • Pearl Ex or mica powder
  • Crystal Effects or glaze
  • Sall brush
  • Electronic die cutting machine and software (eclips2 and eCal3 are used for this project)
  • Glue – adhesive of choice
  • Fairy lights (optional)
  • 8” round wood plaque (optional)

How to make the dragonflies

Import the black and white dragonfly image in Dragonfly Illustration for Crafter to your software. Size and print the dragonfly as desired. Some detail may be lost as you reduce the image.  Images used for this project measure small: 2 inches wide, large 2.5 inches wide. Cut 2 large and 3 small dragonflies on vellum. For best results, cut by hand since the antennae and front legs are small and have may not cut correctly on your machine without adding a border. These were cut with a machine and the front legs and antennae are missing. Color the dragonflies using PearlEx mixed with a bit of glaze. The vellum may curl a bit, but you can flatten it out. TIP:  Use a piece of release paper or freezer paper to paint the vellum on.  Allow the colored glaze to flow just past the edges of the image. Once it is dry, when you lift the image from the release paper, you can trim any excess with a pair of scissors.   

For the Lanterns  

Mat the SVG pieces in the cutting machine’s software. One luminary is reduced1 to 90%. The second is at 80% and the 3rd is at 50%. Cut the card base pieces using the Expresso cardstock. Set aside. Cut the panel pieces using the Roadrunner paper, remembering to resize for the 2 smaller lanterns using the same percentage as you did for the lantern pieces.

(1 to reduce In eCal or SCAL5 – click on Object in the menu bar > Transform > Scale

Choose percentage and reduce the image size as desired.  Click on preview, then apply and Okay

Cut the panel pieces.

Once all the pieces have been cut, you can spritz the panel pieces with the gold shimmer spray if desired for a little more texture and highlights. The textured side of the paper was sprayed for this project. It’s subtle but has a lovely effect overall.  Let the spray dry completely before handling. 

Adhere the panel pieces to the outside of the lantern base. 

The piece labeled “back panel” in the SVG file was used for the inside back on two of the luminaries. The inside cut from one of the panel pieces was used for the smallest lantern. It was also sprayed with the shimmer spray. If desired, add two spritzes of the shimmer spray to the outside of a small plastic bag or piece of freezer paper. Drag the edges of the piece through the spray to gild the edge. Let dry. Then center and adhere as shown below on the back inside panel. 

Adhere the panel to the lantern top for each of the three lanterns. Set aside.

Add a few sequins to the center back inside piece as desired. Add a dragonfly using the clear tacky tape. The tape doesn’t show through to the front.

Now to finish assembling the lanterns. Apply adhesive to the tab of the lantern and press the two sides as shown below to close and form the box 

Apply a bit of adhesive to the flaps on the lantern top and adhere in place along the top edge of the lantern. Double stick tape was used for all three of these. 

For the largest of the three luminaries, a second dragonfly was added by using a .5-inch piece of transparency – long enough to stretch across the front and with an additional .5 inch added to each side for tabs.  Bend at the .5-inch mark on either side.  Secure the dragonfly using some tape.  And add to the luminary from the bottom. You can trim the dragonfly’s tail if you need to. 

Repeat the steps for each of the luminaries. If you want to use additional elements to embellish, there are some flowers in the lantern file as well as a tag.

Personalize the card as desired. For the large card, Dragonfly 12 from the Summer Pond Watercolor collection was used and a sentiment specific to the recipient has been added. Make sure the image of the dragonfly and the word sentiment are set to Print2Cut using your software’s guidelines. Print. Follow the software’s guide for the Print2Cut option to cut. Spritz the gold shimmer spray on a plastic bag and drag the edges of the piece you just cut in the spray to gild the edges of the piece. 

If desired, create a table scape with this trio of luminaries by placing on a round wooden plaque. Add a small battery operated tealight or scatter a strand of fairy lights between the 3. 

As you can see these box cards are so easy to assemble and since there is no attached bottom, the luminaries will fold flat for storage or mailing. 

We invite you to create your own version of luminaries – perfect for a spring or summer evening. Be sure to share with us. We’d love to see what you create. 

Stop by Jan’s author page or blog for more creative inspiration.

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This project is really cute - magical!

WendyB Crafter

March 19, 2021

So pretty!

Jan Hunter's profile picture
Jan Hunter

March 20, 2021


Thank you so very much, Wendy.

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