May 29, 2023
Shadow boxes and layered mandala designs were my first love when it comes to paper crafting and Cricut projects. I am still learning with every SVG I make but today we will work together to create your own shadow box SVG templates for layered designs plus grab my free shadow box template for beautiful spring home decor.
If you are a visual learner as well, then check out this full YouTube tutorial on how to create your own layered shadow box SVG files for your cutting machines. Once you master this concept you can use this to make your own free shadow box templates to use in your crafts. You can download inkscape design software for free here.
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If you aren't ready to create your own free shadow box SVG files yet then go ahead and grab my LOVE spring file here under my Community SVG files. To receive the password simply sign up for my newsletter and you will get a welcome email soon after! For more free spring SVG files please head over rand check out this page! And remember to check back as I add new free SVG files every single week for you to use in your Cricut crafts!
I am using a square as my outside shape - this is going to be the typical shape for shadow boxes. Many come in 8x8 or 9x9 and you can size the outside shape however you need. They also have some rectangle shadow boxes you can buy if you want to work with this shape as well.
Next, you want to create the "frame" on the inside. I am going to work with a simple circle on the inside but this shape can be ANYTHING. For example if you want to make a heart for Valentine's Day, then you definitely can do so! You want this inside shape to be slightly smaller. I made my outside square 8x8 inches and my inside circle 7 inches. You will then want to align these to the center. From here, you will want to select both, go to path and difference. This will remove the circle from the inside of the square to create your "frame".
Now, the main thing to remember with shadow box SVG files is that you always want the object that you are adding on the next layer needs to be connected to the frame in some way, it cannot be a free floating object in the middle of the frame.
I started with my writing (LOVE). Working with fonts and text is a great way to start your SVG journey and if you need help learning how to create usable SVG text then check out my YouTube video on that here. You will need to make the text into a path with nodes so that you can union these eventually to the frame. Think of union like welding in Cricut Design Space!!
Once I had the letters in the spot with in the frame, I created a simple flower. I used ovals, the align feature and the rotate button to make them all even. For a simple flower start with two petals of any shape. align them across from each other and union (path - union). Then duplicate, rotate, union. Do this until the petals are filled. Then create your center. Duplicate this whole layer and rotate. Do not union the two layers. I also created a hole in the center for the top two layers so that the third layer of my shadow box template would be solid and have the center of my flower.
Once you have your objects placed where you want them within the frame of the shadow box svg template, we can start building our layers.
Each layer will be made in pretty much the same order! First duplicate the frame layer.
Then select the object you want to attach first to that duplicate. Then go to path and union. Now you have two layers, the top frame and the layer under it. Now duplicate the new layer with the object attached. Grab the duplicate and the next object for the layer and go to path and union. You can send these layers back as you go to see your image come to life within the shadow box template.
You will do this same set of steps for all the objects you had created. Make sure to be checking your layers as you go and practice! Making your own SVG files will take time, practice, failures, and mistakes. You will grow with each one!
On the last layer we currently have you are going to duplicate again, change the color to something you haven't used. and go to path then break apart. This is going to make the object into individual pieces. Grab the back square and change the color of this as well. Then start moving it backwards to see all the other pieces. Right click, and select all the same color then go to path and union to make these inside pieces one object again! Then we will go to path and inset. This will start making them smaller. I only did this about twice to create a small offset around the previous layer. Now select the inside we just made smaller and that square we broke apart and go to path and difference! Now send that back and see the offset.
There are two ways to finish the shadow box SVG, you can just make a solid 8x8 square and send it to the back. Or you can duplicate break apart and delete the circle from the middle. Either way will work as long as its a solid frame shape!
I like to go to google and search for different palettes. Since this is a spring themed shadow box, I searched for spring color palettes. Then I simply copy and paste the image into inkscape.
From there, I select the layer and use the eye dropper tool to pick out the colors for each layer.
Your file is now complete, so simply save and send over to Cricut Design Space. You will be able to see all the layers once you have uploaded it onto the canvas!
I kept my file 8x8 inches and used 8.5 x 11 card stock paper in a 65 lb weight. I prefer 80 lb textured paper but I just didn't have the right colors for this on hand! Also, think about how you want you the look to be, you can add glitter, foil, patterns. I select my paper out before cutting and prepare it in order.
I cut on my Cricut using the medium card stock setting and sometimes I flip to more pressure depending on the paper and how old my blade is.
Once you have all the layers cut, make sure to put them back in the correct order. You don't want to start building and have the front frame in the middle of your project. Then I layer with foam tape. I am using the Bearly Arts cubies set and you can grab them here and use code DINOMAMA for 10% off your next order!
Then just pop it into your shadow box and secure to the back with hot glue or more tape! It's ready to be on display!
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