DIY Butterfly Study Shadow Box
True story: Back in 5th grade, I created my first room design board. I drew a diagram of my bedroom in a little notebook to plan the furniture layout, sketched out all of the decor and where I wanted it to go, and the theme was centered around one thing… butterflies.
No idea why I suddenly developed a butterfly obsession at the age of 10, but my mom was totally on board with my new plans by helping me pick out every detail down to the butterfly printed Limited Too inflatable chair and purple beaded butterfly curtains from Claire’s. Groovy 90s style, baby. (In hindsight, I realize now this whole scenario of my obsession with decorating makes perfect sense.)
So when I asked Olivia a few weeks ago how she wanted her new bedroom decorated, my mouth dropped when she asked, “Can I have butterflies, Mommy?”
Oh, my heart!
Immediately, I thought of a sweet little girl version of a Victorian butterfly study shadow box to hang on her wall. Except less gruesome since Victorians placed actual dead butterfly carcasses in picture frames.
I went the watercolor paper route instead.
DIY Butterfly Study Shadow Box
Supplies Used: (Some affiliate links are provided below.)
- Butterfly graphics printed on white cardstock
- Jersey size shadow box
- White chalk paint and paint brush (I painted my frame since the shadow box I bought only came in brown and black.)
- Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
1. I painted my dark brown shadow box frame with a sample pot of Annie Sloan Pure White Chalk Paint since I couldn’t find any white ones large enough in the store. I scored the shadow box at Michael’s at 60% off. Woot!
2. For the butterflies, I printed out these watercolor butterfly graphics on white card stock. You can download them to print yourself from the printable library (sign-up to get the subscriber link in your inbox).
(If you’re already a subscriber, you can click here to access it. The password is at the bottom of every email I send.)
3. After I cut out the butterflies with scissors, I folded each butterfly in half so that they would look three-dimensional.
4. I laid out all of the butterflies on my shadow box backer board in the arrangement that I wanted (so that the same colors/sizes weren’t all clustered together).
5. Then, using a hot glue gun, I attached each butterfly to the backer board one at a time, making sure they lined up into rows.
Once I popped the board back into the shadow box, it looked like the real deal! Only hundreds of dollars less than a real Victorian butterfly study and way more cheerful and modern.
They add so much depth to this little corner in Olivia’s room now, and I swear it looks like something that came right out of a Pottery Barn Kids catalog.
I added a few playful details to her dresser top too like this “I love you a bushel and a peck” sign (similar one here). My mom used to sing that song to me when I was little, and now I sing it to Olivia. It was just too fitting.
And Olivia’s grandpa hand carved this rattle for her when she was born out of one piece of wood.
I placed Robert’s first teddy bear (an original Snuggle) on top of the dresser beside my DIY butterfly terrarium too, and it all seems so right at home together.
Except those Shel Silverstein books are used every night at story time because Olivia absolutely loves his hilarious poems. (She’s memorized “Fancy Dive” by heart and recites it in the most adorably animated way with an emphasis on “wuarter” at the end.)
I’ll be sharing the full room reveal of her bedroom very soon after a few final touches. You can see the full makeover from the beginning so far starting here.
Did you ever have a themey bedroom as a kid that you went totally nuts decorating? Or knew at the age of 10 what your real dream was? I’m still amazed at that.
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