DIY Vintage-Inspired Christmas Shadowbox

I am way behind on my Christmas decorating this year. Usually, I have everything up right after Thanksgiving, but not this year.

As I was going through my box of holiday decorations the other day, I came across some shadow box ornaments that I made a couple years ago. I had filled empty tin containers with clip art, glitter, and various ephemera to create the vintage-inspired decorations.

Those ornaments were so much fun to make, and I was feeling crafty, so I challenged myself to create another one using only supplies I had around my apartment. After searching my home for materials, I realized that I didn’t have any containers small enough for ornaments, so I decided to make a larger shadow box instead.

DIY Vintage-Inspired Christmas Shadow Box | Hello Little Home

Here’s how you can make a shadow box or ornament, too!


  • cigar box or other container
  • vintage clip art
  • decorative papers
  • various ephemera (ribbons, cotton balls, glitter, tinsel, faux snow or greenery, etc.)
  • paint or nail polish
  • hot glue gun
  • scissors

DIY Vintage-Inspired Christmas Shadow Box: Supplies | Hello Little HomeStart by painting the box so it has time to dry. You can use craft paint, acrylic paint, or even nail polish. Paint the whole thing, the inside, or the outside. It’s up to you.

I didn’t want to hide my box’s vintage character, so I chose to simply paint the outside edge with glittery gold nail polish (Julep’s Dahlia).DIY Vintage-Inspired Christmas Shadow Box: Paint Box | Hello Little HomeNext, cut out the clip art. Take your time going around the corners and edges. It’s easy to accidentally amputate paper limbs!

I used a Victorian Santa image from The Graphics Fairy, which a great resource. If you don’t want to use a Santa, check out their roundup of 100 free Christmas images.DIY Vintage-Inspired Christmas Shadow Box: Cut Out Santa | Hello Little HomeAfter you’ve cut out your clip art, play around with your materials to determine a layout.DIY Vintage-Inspired Christmas Shadow Box: Play with Layout | Hello Little HomeOnce you’ve decided on the box’s layout, it’s time to begin decorating your box. You’ll want to start with the back layer first.

The letters I used to spell “Merry and Bright” were actually decorative brads, so I attached those to my backing paper first, and then hot glued the paper to the box. I added a little extra glue behind the letters to ensure everything would stay in place.

This is a first-gen glue gun. I’m amazed that it still works, and I can’t even tell you how many fingers have been burned on this thing over the years!

DIY Vintage-Inspired Christmas Shadow Box: Add Background | Hello Little HomeOops … I almost forgot the “h” in Bright! Thankfully, I noticed that before gluing the paper down!

Next, I added a layer of cotton balls for my snow. Cover up any blank spaces and vary the placement height of the balls (to avoid a layout that is too uniform looking). Attach the cotton balls with your glue gun.

Tip: for a more realistic look, pull the cotton balls apart a bit before gluing them down.DIY Vintage-Inspired Christmas Shadow Box: Adding Cotton Ball Snow | Hello Little HomeMy Santa was next. I wanted him to stand out from the background, so I used a cotton ball as a spacer. I glued the ball to the back of his body and then hot glued the cotton ball to the paper background to hold Santa in place.DIY Vintage-Inspired Christmas Shadow Box: Add Santa Clip Art | Hello Little HomeFinally, I wanted to give my box more depth, so I added additional cotton ball snow in front of his feet.DIY Vintage-Inspired Christmas Shadow Box: Add Additional Cotton Ball Snow | Hello Little HomeAt this point, continue adding various ephemera until you are happy with the design.

I kept my shadow box fairly simple, but I’m going to keep an eye out for a little holly sprig for Santa’s hat. Wouldn’t that look cute?DIY Vintage-Inspired Christmas Shadow Box: Details | Hello Little HomeDIY Vintage-Inspired Christmas Shadow Box | Hello Little HomeHere are the ornaments I made a few years ago. As you can see, there really is no limit to what you can do with this project!

DIY Vintage Shadow Box Ornaments | Hello Little Homediy-vintage-shadow-box-ornaments-quad

Are all of your Christmas decorations up, or am I the only one so far behind? Have you ever made your own ornaments?

I’m linking up with Creations by Kara’s Look What I Made Wednesday, Life with the Crust Cut Off’s Lovely Ladies Linky, Your Girlish Whims’ Your Whims Wednesday, SNAP’s Show & Tell, The Turquoise Home’s Work It Wednesday, Lemoine Family Kitchen’s The Wednesday Roundup, Made in a Day’s Christmas & Holiday Link Party, 52 Mantels’ Thursdays Are Your Days, Live Laugh Rowe, No Minimalist Here’s Open House Blog Party, Sweet Bella Roos’ Pin It Thursday, Embracing Change’s Creative Inspirations, Chic on a Shoestrings Flaunt It FridayCraft Dictator’s Craft Frenzy Friday, Design Happy’s Holiday Link Party, Remodelaholic’s Anonymous, Just Us Four’s Pinworthy Projects, Redoux’s What Have You Redone, The Stitchin’ Mommy’s Get Crafty Friday, I Heart Hands-On’s Show Off Friday, Too Much Time on My Hands’ Get Schooled Saturday, Cheerios & Lattes’ Saturday Show & Tell, Sewlicious Home Decor’s Christmas Roundup, Pieced Pastimes Saturday Sparks, Will Cook for Smiles’ Show Stopper Saturday, Flamingo Toes’ Think Pink Sunday, Suburbs Mama’s Sunday Linky, Twigg Studios’ Sunday Show Off, Live Love Create’s Craft Create & Inspire, Homecoming’s The DIYers, and City Farmhouse’s Inspiration Exchange.

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That is very cute. I love the round ones. I am looking forward to seeing how you work a tree into your little space. Do you get a real tree? We only have our tree and outside lights up. I still want to do the porch and mantle.

Thanks so much for linking up at The Wednesday Roundup! This is just beautiful!! Angela @

You are SO talented! I love all things vintage Christmas and this is just perfect!

I love your blog! I just wanted you to know that I nominated you for a Liebster Award!

Stopping by from Show Stopper Saturday. These are super adorable! And all the possibilities, such a creative idea. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

Great project !!

I would love you to come and share @ Craft, Create & Inspire linky party !!!

Look forward to seeing you there 🙂

Claire x

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