Welcome to a new, and probably very rare ditty I plan to introduce to Number One Millionaire: DIY Sundays. There is no more enjoyable, wholesome and all together warming way I can think of to spend a drizzly June Sunday than indoors with needle and thread in hand, quietly crafting. This particular project was begun, oh, last December and completed last weekend , conveniently two weeks before we move house (hence the dramatic difference between the natural summer light in some photographs, and the artificial indoor light of others). But creativity knows no schedule, and I've gotta say, I was pleasantly chuffed at how it all came together.
DIY Canvas Shadow Box
The idea for this project came about when I purchased a cheap canvas for a painting project and was struck by just how lovely the inside, unprimed side of the canvas was. So I decided to stitch some pretty pictures to it and use the bottom edge of the frame as a shelf for neglected nick-nacks and other treasures.
Step 1. Purchase a cheap canvas with a nice, textured, lightly flecked underside.
Step 2. Gather pretty pictures (the Yoshitomo Nara image I used is from an old Calendar), postcards (mine are from Japan), buttons, artworks, photographs, pretty pieces, of fabric feathers, acorns, small ornaments (or whatever takes your fancy) to hand, and lay them out inside the frame. I found it was useful to lightly mark the positions with a pencil so as not to forget them later.
Step 3. Using a thin needle, punch holes about half a centimetre apart around the corners of each image (for the postcards I just stitched used two diagonally opposite corners, but stitched all corners for the Yoshitomo image). This makes it easier to control the distance of the stitches, and also makes for much neater holes; I found that when stitching from the canvas, up through the card the holes came out rather messy.
Step 4. Carefully stitch through the holes, making sure you make a tight knot on the back (or technically the front) of the canvas. I also reinforced my knots with sticky tape, just to be sure.
Step 5. Stitch on your buttons, sequins or other bling in much the same way you would if you were stitching them onto ordinary fabric.
Step 6. Choose some lovely lace, and stick it around the frame using PVA or craft glue of so that it covers up the ugly staples.
Step 7. If you want to attach a bottle to use as a little vase, measure out another piece of lace and stitch a loop into the canvas above the bottom shelf to hold the bottle securely in place.
Step 8. Attach some wire to the back (front) of the canvas to hang it on the wall with. I ended up stapling it onto the side of the frame with a staple gun, which looked rather unsightly, but decided to cover it up with some nice ribbon. If you have a better idea, which really wouldn't be hard, please use it. I couldn't figure out a way which wouldn't be visible and ugly from the front.
Step 9. Hang your masterpiece on the wall, and place your little bird-friend and mouse-friend (or whichever friends you've chosen to use) on the bottom shelf (reinforcing with blue-tac if you think it necessary), and pop some pretty flowers into the bottle and the bottle into it's loop. I also attached a little haiku badge the boy made me because I felt it was seasonally appropriate, and he convinced me that my masterwork was 'missing something'.
Some other ideas:
- You could attach pretty hooks to the top of the frame and use it to hang, and frame, your favorite jewels.
- You could try painting the canvas or the wooden frame.
- You could embroider pretty designs onto the canvas.
- Try making a series of cute little ones using small canvases.
- You could use this as an affordable and unique method for framing individual artworks or prints.