Introduction: Shadow Box Dioramas

About: I am a conceptual artist, and my DIY projects are mostly inspired by pop culture (movies, music, sports, TV). I mostly specialize in painting, graphic design, drawing, digital photography, performance art, and…

A diorama is an art project that displays some of your most fondest memories or tells an interesting story. This fun twist on the project takes the concept of a snow globe and a little inspiration from Mark Montano's Shadow Box Shrine Project all combined into one original masterpiece worth treasuring for a lifetime!

Here are some references that helped me to do my own original twist on the diorama project...

Step 1: What You'll Need

What you'll need to make your fast food toy snow globes are...

  • small dollar store frames
  • collection of fast food toys (you can also use small game pieces and small figurines)
  • acrylic paints
  • hot glue gun
  • white glue (like Elmer's Glue or Tacky Glue)
  • X-acto knife
  • cardboard
  • 3D puff paint
  • paint brushes
  • embellishments, like glitter, flowers, gems, and stickers

Step 2: Prep the Frames

First, take your picture frame and take it apart, leaving just the cardboard base. Set the frame and glass aside.

Step 3: Prep Artwork

Now, grab a postcard or a computer print-out of your favorite artwork and trace the cardboard based on it to the exact size and cut out. Then, from there, mount the artwork to the cardboard with white glue. You can even use pages from an old magazine!

Step 4: Make the Shadowbox Frame

Now, to make the shadowbox frame, cut 1.5" strips from a piece of cardboard and glue each one on the top, sides, and bottom.

Step 5: Embellishment

Now it's ready to decorate! Paint the inside and outside of the frame with paint and add some 3D puff paint for some colorful dimensional. You can even add glitter and small embellishments, like flowers, gems, and stickers to really personalize your frame! Whatever you do, remember: a diorama tells a story, and you, as the artist, gets to make up the story! You can use images and figures to represent a memory in your life, or you can do a diorama without any theme at all; just something random!

Step 6: Add Toys

Once it's set, you can hot glue your toys or game pieces to the frame.

Step 7: Finish Off

Now, hot glue the glass to the front of the frame and trim the rough edges with puff paint. Set it all out to dry, and it's done!

Step 8: Stories to Treasure

These make great gifts for family and friends, when they want to relieve the fun memories of playing board games and sharing family movie nights! Have fun using different types of artwork for your background, and fun eye-popping colors and embellishments for your frame!

Here's the bit of a lowdown on my shadow box dioramas:

1) The Monsters Inc. girl is shown posing with a fashion model.

2) A white horse grazes beyond a red flower background.

3) A Dalmatian with a frog on her head and Stuart Little rowing in a canoe makes for a wonderful bath time experience!

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