Creativity · Nature

Nature Shadow Boxes

It looks like we are already into summer here in Alabama with our high 80’s we have been having and 90 degrees coming up this week. We have short springs here so we enjoyed this project on one of our cool afternoons a few weeks ago when we still had some spring foliage with some winter items left over. This activity can easily be done in any season, however. I think it would actually be pretty interesting to do one every season and see how they change with the different materials nature provides!


These Nature Shadow Boxes were inspired by Teach Preschool and the beautiful shadow boxes they made with shoe box lids. Here are the ones we made and the steps we took to make these easy (and cheap!) nature boxes.

Seriously, no cost involved…except the shoes we bought our kids. I saved the lids for something to use them for down the line (as a former art teacher I have a habit of collecting materials…or hoard, as my husband says). Our other free material was nature. We went for a nature walk (down the street) to collect items and I encouraged my girls to look for a variety of different textures and colors in the leaves, sticks, flowers, nuts, etc…



We laid out our findings on our art table we when got back and the girls selected their shoe box lid. The next step is to pour some glue into the lid. Now, the amount of glue I had on hand was not enough to pour a thick layer for all of them so we used what I had, Mod Podge…I will not do this next time. It did not dry clear in the areas that the girls put it on too thick and it is not as pourable as white glue so we had to spread it around. So that is actually one expense involved…just some regular white glue.


Once the glue is down, start placing the nature items where desired and press gently.



Here is a typical action shot of projects done with a two year old joining in!


The shadow boxes would be beautiful left as is or a little bit of color could be added using watercolor or watered down tempera. Lila like the idea of adding color so we splattered a little bit of watercolor around our boxes.


Here is Lila’s Nature Shadow Box. I didn’t get an image of the final dried product but, like I said, the Mod Podge didn’t give the results I desired. Next time we will use glue so it will dry clear! Otherwise, the girls loved this project and we all enjoyed getting outdoors and using natural materials.


I love Willa’s minimalist box.


And this was mine. I loved participating too!


4 thoughts on “Nature Shadow Boxes

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