Last Unicorn Shadow Box

Last Unicorn Shadow Box

This month’s Silhouette Challenge is all about home decor, so I went back to a project I’ve been slowly putting together: our set of book inspired shadow boxes.  You may remember last year when I first started blogging I wrote about the Stardust inspired shadowbox we made.  In truth, the project really hearkens back to our wedding.  When Earl and I were married, we picked out five of our favorite fantasy books with at least some touch of romance to them and used those to make our wedding flowers.  For the curious, the books we chose were Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s First Rule, Peter Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, Mercedes Lackey’s The Fire Rose, and William Goldman’s The Princess Bride.  *Book links are Amazon affiliate links.

One of the gifts we received for our wedding was a set of 5 shadow boxes from my brother Nate.  So, Earl and I dreamed up this idea to do shadow boxes for each one of the books we used for our wedding flowers.  And true to our style, we’re still working on the project piecemeal 4 years later.  And yes, it took us 3 years to start the first one.  Maybe we can get the third one done before year 5?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see!  In the meantime, let’s check out how I went through this process.

A Note:  Sometimes I do projects that fall into the realm of fan art which rely on images and designs that are not mine.  While I consider my work trans-formative projects, these projects have the potential of delving into the realms of copyright concerns. Every time I come across one of these projects I’m tempted to write up a post on what I’ve found when researching the issue.  Suffice it to say that it’s a complicated issue that is often decided in courts on a case by case issue.  Plus, I’m not a lawyer.  This is one of those projects.  When I do these projects, I do my very best to source the material in a way that provides profit to those that created the inspiring content (ex. – using screenshots from media I own or purchasing prints where available).  However, I’ve decided not to share the associated cut files and images with you for this project.  I hope you’ll understand.


For the design, I took my cue from the deluxe edition of the graphic novel adaptation.  You can see the cover below.  For the shadow box, I wanted to replicate the cutout look, but decided to place a screenshot from the movie in the background.



The materials for this project are pretty simple.  Here’s what I needed:

A piece of black vinyl slightly bigger than 4×6
A piece of white vinyl about 2×3
A 4×6 shadow box
Photo paper
Contact paper

Step 1: Creating the files in Silhouette Studio

To create the cut out of the Unicorn, I used the trace tool.  Once I selected around the are, I bumped the High Pass Filter all the way up to 300 so that just the black area would be selected.


To remove the outer box and the odd interior pocket, with the trace line selected, I went to Object – Remove Compound Path.  Then I straightened out a few of the lines using the eraser tool.  Finally, I enclosed it all in a 4×6 box and moved the design over to the right.

For the font portion, I used to choose my font (Mathilde if you’re curious). is my favorite font management tool.  You can read more about it here if you’re interested.  The Mathilde font itself was a little too thin, so I created an offset to widen the font a bit.

Step 2:  Cut and Weed

Once the files are ready, I used the pre-chosen cut settings for Vinyl and cut the two pieces.  I chose to do a double cut on the black vinyl since what I had on hand was chalkboard vinyl, and I think that helped a little there.  To weed, I needed to use my weeding tool and remove the unicorn.  If you’re really careful, you can use this piece in another project.  I tore mine though, so sadness.


Here are both pieces fully weeded:


Step 3: Apply the vinyl

For this project, I applied the vinyl right to the front of the glass.  If I wanted to apply it to the back, I would have needed to flip the entire design horizontally so that it were a mirror image.  Personally, I don’t like the way vinyl looks when applied to the back of the glass, so I just stuck with putting it on the front.  I did need to remove the glass panel from the shadow box to do this.  There were just four screws I needed to unscrew, and then I was all set!

This is the first time I’ve used contact paper to apply vinyl, and I’ve got to be honest – I don’t really like it.  I much prefer using transfer paper.  Contact paper works the same way, but I feel like the transfer paper sticks better.  To use it, you just place the sticky side of the contact paper on the vinyl you want to move, peel it up off of the sheet, place it where you want it to go, and then remove the contact paper.  Since the hold from the vinyl is stronger than the hold from the contact paper, the contact paper will give.


Using some sort of transfer paper is essential for a small piece with many parts like the text.  Without it, you would have to hand place and align each letter.  No thank you!  Once I transferred that to the larger black piece though, I didn’t use any contact paper at all, and I find that works better for big solid pieces.  I just squared the vinyl with the glass piece and then slowly removed the backing while smoothing as I placed it down.


I did need to hand place the break between the two back legs, but that wasn’t all that bad.


Step 4: Assemble

I’m telling you – every time I get to the assemble step I want to title it “Avengers Assemble!”  Maybe I will start doing that.  Just not today.  At this point, the glass needs to be put back in the frame.  Then I just added my print to the back of the frame and popped the back of the frame on.  The build of the shadow box takes care of adding the distance between the cut out and the image in the back.  Easy peasy.



And that’s it!  I’ve been thinking about re-doing the box with the lettering cut out as well (instead of in white vinyl), but I think that with the print behind it might be to busy to read.  Or maybe I’ll put a cut out of the butterfly on the left and leave out the text all together.  What do you think?

Here’s the finished box.  I also tossed in a photo of the Stardust box so you can see how the collection is coming along.



And just for fun – here’s a close up of the cut out on the box.


P.S.  Before you head on over to check out this month’s other challenge projects – check out the giveaway I’m part of! You could win $1000 cash, and I bet you already like me on Facebook, which gives you one free entry.  No need to fill out all the entries – just as many or as few as you want.  It only takes 1 to win!  Plus, I’d really love it if one of my readers won the giveaway.  I think you’re all awesome!

Want to Check Out More Silhouette Projects?

My Silhouette Challenge buddies and I are all sharing projects on our blogs today, so peruse the projects below for a wealth of Silhouette inspiration!

Our Sons & Daughters Wood Shims and Word Art Simple DIY Canvas Art Pallet Signs Chalk Paint Pumpkins with Fabric Leaves Make a Personalized Scarecrow DIY Wall Art for the Bathroom Decoupaged Fall Leaves Lampshade Gimme A F.A.L.L! Eat SOMETHING Sweet Baby Love Quilt Big Reveal Sketching Inspiration for my little Dancer - September Silhouette Challenge Family Feature Presentation Wall Art Last Unicorn Shadow Box Makin' my office a little more artsy fartsy Family Command Center DIY Grandparents Sign with Photo Frame Dream Big Little Girl Canvas Art Fall Pallet Sign {Grateful, Thankful, Blessed} Pumpkins and Apples Sign Handmade Freezer Paper Cloth Napkins

1. The Moberg Family // 2. Sandpaper and Glue // 3. American Honey // 4. Weekend Craft // 5. Grey Luster Girl // 6. From Wine to Whine // 7. Cutesy Crafts // 8. Practically Functional // 9. Home At Eight // 10. McCall Manor // 11. Dragonfly & Lily Pads // 12. Adventures in All Things Food // 13. Create it. Go! // 14. Please Excuse My Craftermath… // 15. The Outlandish Momma // 16. The Sensory Emporium // 17. My Paper Craze // 18. unOriginal Mom // 19. My Favorite Finds // 20. Architecture of a Mom // 21. Black and White Obsession //

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11 Responses to Last Unicorn Shadow Box

    • Thanks for the pin Holly! Tracing is one of my favorite tools. I often design in Photoshop and then bring the design into Studio and trace the different layers. I’m sure you’ll love it as well!

  1. Kristy,
    As always a creative project whipped up by our silhouette wizard. I love that you connect decor with days of your life that are precious to you and your family.
    Happy creating,
    Karen Marie
    Dragonfly & Lily Pads

  2. Oh my goodness what a touching story! Love that it ties back to your wedding. I love how insanely compatible you an earl are! You have caught a good one there. I just discovered the flowers I think they maybe one of my favorite projects! Love learning more about you.
    Michelle from Weekend Craft recently posted…Tour Through BloglandMy Profile

  3. […] // 11. Dragonfly & Lily Pads // 12. Adventures in All Things Food // 13. Create it. Go! // 14. Please Excuse My Craftermath… // 15. The Outlandish Momma // 16. The Sensory Emporium // 17. My Paper Craze // 18. unOriginal Mom […]

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