Tutorial : : Shadowbox “Butterfly” Collection.

Note: no butterflies were harmed in the making of this project!

As a rule I don't buy gifts. There are a few vintage exceptions, but
most gifts from this house are handmade. When I was visiting friends in Milwaukee I stumbled upon a gift I made for them two years ago for their wedding. I thought you would appreciate it, so I shot a few photos. (It was tricky to photograph with all of those reflections, but I think you get the idea.) The butterflies pop up off of the fabric and leave sweet little shadows beneath their wings.


The project was made with an old Nikki McClure calendar. We love Nikki's papercuts and have her work all over our house. I can never bear to recycle the calenders because her work is so gorgeous. This project was the perfect way to repurpose one calendar.


Want to make your own? Here is how it was done:

1. Gather your supplies:

  • Junk mail, old calendar, letters, or photographs
  • Big hole punch (butterfly or other graphic shape)
  • 3-D sticky dots
  • Shadow box
  • Fabric for background
  • Tacky glue

2. Neatly and tightly wrap back of frame in fabric and secure into place with tacky glue. Allow to dry.

3. Select and punch images suitable for the size of your hole punch. Punch out a few more than you'll need.

4. Lay out your images on the now dry fabric-wrapped frame backing. When you are pleased with the arrangement, grab your sticky dots. Cut down if necessary (I cut each dot into 3 pieces) and affix dots to back of your butterflies.

5. Firmly press into place.

6. Check for dust or errant hairs, clean the glass, and assemble your frame.




With a little guidance, this project is simple enough for kids and elegant if done by a grown-up. Easy, beautiful, green, and butterfly approved.

15 thoughts on “Tutorial : : Shadowbox “Butterfly” Collection.

  1. Susanne says:

    I remember when Ami opened this the day after the wedding! We were in Uncle Paul’s living room all clustered around and this was my favorite thing of all the things they pulled out of wrapping paper. I fell in love with Nikki McClure right then and there. They sell many of her beautiful journals, calendars, and cards at our local, independent book shop. As much as I love sharing her cards, I find I can really only send them to the most special of people in my life who I know will cherish their beauty.

  2. hebejeeby says:

    Hi – I did this with my wedding cards nearly 5 years ago (how time flies!).

    they were so beautiful and I couldn’t bring myself to store them or recycle them so I did this. If we’re lucky to be blessed with children then I would do this with any birth cards too (perhaps a few together?)

    Absolutely love the fabric background on this one. p.s soooooo inspired by your site x

  3. katie steege says:

    thanx so much for the awesome idea! my best friend just got married last weekend and i plan to make this out of her wedding program, invite, etc. can’t wait! hope it turns out as well as yours!

  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    Hooray! Id love to see a photo when its done. I am going to make one for a wedding next week as well!

    Rachel Wolf

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