How to Make a Lighted Christmas Shadowbox

How to Make a Lighted Christmas Shadowbox main article image
Posted on December 14, 2021 by Desiree McClung
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I have to admit that I have always wanted to make a layered shadowbox. I see them and admire them so much but I have to admit that they intimidate me. I don’t craft much with cardstock and I have made a few mandala designs for cards and gift tags, but a shadowbox seemed like a lot of work. Boy, was I wrong! I made a shadowbox in under an hour.

Things you will need:

  • Cardstock
  • Cutting Machine (I use a Cricut Explore Air 2)
  • Shadowbox
  • LED Fairy Lights
  • Foam board or 3D foam squares
  • Glue or tape

Step 1: Creating your image

Start by creating your image, selecting your image from Cricut Design Space, or purchasing your image online. The image that I used for this tutorial is called Christmas Globe Shadowbox by OK-Design. I selected this design because I liked the simplicity of it and I did not want to have to create my own 7-layer design. Once the image is uploaded into Cricut Design Space, resize your image to the size of your shadowbox and cut your layers.

christmas shadowbox cricut design gift lighted fairy lights mini lights twinkle

Step 2: Cutting your layers

My image had 7 layers and they took around 20 minutes to cut out using 2 12×12 cutting mats and alternating between cutting and removing my images from the mat. I created each one to be 8×8” as that was the size of my shadowbox.

christmas shadowbox cricut design gift lighted fairy lights mini lights twink

Once the image is cut, you can begin assembly. Make sure that you have your images layered in a way that makes sense front to back. If you change the way that each is layered, it changes the illusion that you are trying to create. If you purchase an image as I did, then you will be able to use it as a reference when you assemble the finished product. I used cardstock colors that were different than the colors selected by the designer, but in Cricut Design Space, you can render each layer the color that you want if you want to visualize the final product before it was cut. I was brave and decided to just wing it.

christmas shadowbox cricut design gift lighted fairy lights mini lights twink

Step 3: Spacing your layers

Each layer needs to be separated with foam board strips or 3D foam squares in order to achieve the desired effect. If you are going to cut foam board to place in between the layers, you can cut thin pieces for the edges on all 4 sides. Since mine has seven layers, I need 4 7” strips between each layer, so I will need 24 strips in all. You can use double-sided sticky tape or glue to adhere the foam board between the panels if you choose. I felt it was simpler to use 3d foam squares which are already self-adhesive to apply between my layers. Below is the shadowbox that I used. I purchased them in bulk from a local craft store for around $5.

christmas shadowbox cricut design gift lighted fairy lights mini lights twink

Step 4: Inserting your layers

Beginning with the front layer, position that on the inside of your shadowbox against the inside of the glass. Then use your foam strips or squares and place them between the first and second layers. Repeat until you have completed all of your layers unless you are adding LED lights, in which you will follow the next step.

christmas shadowbox cricut design gift lighted fairy lights mini lights twink

Step 5: Let there be light!

If you would like to add lights to your shadowbox, you will want to add them between your layers of cardstock. I purchased a strand of 10-foot twinkling LED lights with 30 total lights. After I put the first layer against the glass and added the foam around the edges, I added in around 15” of lights, placed my second layer of cardstock and foam, and added another 15” or so of lights. I adhered them with tape to the backside of my layer of cardstock and repeated for the first 6 layers. I didn’t add foam or lights to the back of my last layer since they are not visible from the front of the shadowbox. I placed my backing on my shadowbox and taped the battery pack to the back of the display.

christmas shadowbox cricut design gift lighted fairy lights mini lights twink

Assembly can take as long as you would like it to but I whipped this project up in less than an hour and I really love the way that it turned out and will certainly be making more of these in the future. Maybe I will get brave and create my own layered images someday. Good luck and happy crafting!

christmas shadowbox cricut design gift lighted fairy lights mini lights twink


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