This is a unique challenge blog where we are inspired by and focus on the Vintage; shabby; mixed-media; art journaling; industrial, timeworn and steampunk genres and encompass the talent, flair, expertise and ideas of many artists that we are inspired by. We welcome all types of projects - cards, journaling, assemblage, layouts, albums, atcs, altered art in fact whatever you want to share (as long as it is in good taste).

Friday 20 March 2020

Shabby Vintage Shadow Box Tutorial

Brenda here with another project for you during our 6th Birthday celebrations using more of the shabby hearts I made sometime ago for my daughter's wedding.

Process Steps
I started with the background and used a 23x23cm piece of watercolour paper and my trusty DecoArt paints and mediums.

1. Take the piece of watercolour paper, raw umber and titan buff media acrylics with a brayer to create the first layers. 

2. Dip, drip and dry with burnt sienna.

3. Use the Tim Holtz ledger script stamp and coffee archival ink to add some text stamping.

4. Take the brayer again and titanium white and roll over to lighten the background a bit.

5. Next use a stencil brush, more titanium white and a harlequin stencil to randomly add another layer. (Note the  bottom left is the part to notice as I nearly forgot to photograph this step and had started the dirty glaze in the top right corner).

6. Paint a wash or glaze of colour all over using soft touch varnish, paynes grey, burnt umber and titanium white mixed with a little water. Then stamp more text using white chalky finish paint.

7. Take the inner frame that comes with the shadow box and cut it down to 19cm square. Brayer over the brown and white paints again and stamp some text using a beige chalky finish paint to echo the background. Distress the edges with brown distress ink.

8.  I found a rusty key and tied it to one of the hearts with rusty wire.

9. Find some words or a quote.

10. Start to place everything where you want it and make any additions and or changes to the original design. So I decided to add some stars that I painted gold, then to add to the gold I found a little crown to sit on the base of the shadowbox. I also experimented with some gold foil on a heart.

11. Assemble together ....

.... and put the crown and wire in the bottom of the frame.

I hope this gives you some shabby vintage inspiration and mounting and keeping your work in a shadow box adds another dimension, especially if you sell your work.

We'd love to see your celebration projects over on the challenge post,  just show us what you are celebrating in your art and craft work at the moment. The doors are wide open for this challenge so please come and join the party.

Thanks for stopping by.

hugs Brenda xxx


  1. It's great to see some of the stages which brought you to this exceptionally lovely outcome - as always a delight to see behind the scenes!
    Alison x

  2. Wow, this is stunning! I loved following along to see how it came together and all the details that you created look amazing 😁. The hearts and wording are beautiful and the little crown is the perfect finishing touch - I love it! Happy and creative wishes! Hugs, Jo x

  3. Wow love your brayered background and thanks for all the photos showing how you came to creating such a beautiful piece of art work.

  4. Such a Gorgeous VIntage Shadowbox , Brenda. The colour tones , the layers , the detail, the texture, the sentiment and the finishing touches - just perfect! TFS such a great tutorial .
    Take care
    A x