When we go on vacation, I always bring back items from the area that are natural and free. Man-made souvenirs just don't have any appeal to me.
I thought I'd share how I made my shadow box with you, in case you feel inspired to make one yourself. It's only taken me 9 years to get up the gumption to complete mine.
When I worked at Michael's I bought a whitewashed beach serving tray. I decided to use this as my box. After consulting with my friend who is a master framer, we were able to determine how deep my creation could be.
I took a picture I had taken underwater to her on a thumb drive and she blew it up to fit the inside back of the box. This was adhered to the back with spray adhesive. Then I took a 4 x 6 picture of Tom and I on our vacation and glued it to the underwater picture on the left side.
I arranged the shells and coral in the box how I wanted them to look when the project was completed. Then, I took them out and sprayed the shells with clear glossy spray paint. I painted the coral by hand because I couldn't find a spray that was the color of the coral before it died.
Here comes the hard part. After temporarily placing a 1.5" piece of plexi-glass on the bottom using packing tape the whole way, standing on it's edge, I mixed sand from Nevus and sand from home with Elmer's Glue for a very thick, hard to stir "porridge". I spooned this carefully into the space created by the piece of plexi-glass, the sides and back of the tray. This was allowed to harden about 2/3 of the way, then I placed the coral and shells where I wanted them to be in the sand. NOTE!!!! If you put the pieces in too early, they will sink to the bottom and be covered by the sand.
After the sand was totally hard, the plexi-glass was removed. There was a "skin" of glue at the top edge of the sand where it met the plexi-glass and at the bottom where bits of glue had leaked. This was removed with a thin-blade utility knife.
I took the tray back to my friend at the framing gallery and she put in non-glare glass with a small piece of trim, which she white washed, around it to hold in the glass. It turned out better than I could ever have expected!