Irena Boobyer 3D Papercut / shadowbox - The Corner of Carlton Hill, Exmouth, iconic tree silhouette. 3D papercut demonstration in Blog post

3D Papercut Shadowbox Challenge – using scissors and software

This post is about my adventure into creating a 3D Papercut Shadowbox. I show examples of two finished shadowboxes and include information about and materials and processes.

I cut all of my paper silhouettes using a small pair of scissors. Then I edit, print and re-cut using Cricut Design Space software and a Cricut cutting machine.

Using scissors and software mean that I can use my starting points to create an inviting three dimensional world. Using the old and new technology as an irresistible combination of media.

The first 3D Papercut Shadowbox shown below featured in the WooHoo Exhibition at Powderham Castle.

The original painting is exhibited in one of the Powderham Castle rooms. It depicts an evocative country scene. There is a distant sky with trees in the background, a lone figure in the middle-ground and more foliage in the foreground. Although the original work is two-dimensional because it is painted on a flat surface, for me, it called out for a three dimensional approach.

Many artists contributed to the WooHoo event and the video captures the gorgeousness of Powderham Castle, the exhibits and the sense of occasion.

Back to the Future – WooHoo Art Event at Powderham Castle

My next 3D Papercut Shadowbox Challenge is the iconic tree silhouette at the corner of Carlton Hill in Exmouth, Devon.

Iconic tree on the Corner of Carlton Hill, Exmouth, photograph taken by Irena Boobyer
Iconic tree on the Corner of Carlton Hill, Exmouth, photograph taken by Irena Boobyer, image used to create a 3D papercut.

The image I am using for this 3D papercut is very familiar to people visiting or living in Exmouth, Devon.

The iconic tree is in the grounds of Lion House, on the corner of Carlton Hill and Trefusis Terrace. It is a landmark of a tree, majestic, imposing and, for me, just a little bit magical.

Every time I pass by the tree I want to paint it, draw it or take a photograph. I took this image and couldn’t wait to get started into turning it into a postcard sized walk-in shadowbox.

3D Papercuts or shadowboxes were originally called “peep shows”, tunnel books, dioramas, or toy theatres. They date back to the 18th century. Put simply, they are made up of cut-paper panels, with folded paper, accordion-style linking the panels together. 

The process

It Must Be Papercuts – The Corner of Carlton Hill, Exmouth, Devon.

I will explain how “The Corner of Carlton Hill” 3D papercut shadowbox is created.

I hope you enjoy reading all about it

3D Papercut Shadowbox

The layers are assembled between each accordion fold which is similar to a concertina or fan.

Each panel becomes part of the finished 3D papercut.

Making the 3D Papercut 

I print copies of my original photograph and cut out areas to create the illusion of depth and perspective.

Making the tree silhouette

Using one of my printouts, black silhouette paper and my favourite paper-cutting scissors I cut out a the tree as the focal point of the design.

Next stages

3D Papercut Shadowbox layout on Cricut Design Space
3D Papercut Shadowbox layout

All the panels are then scanned and imported into Cricut Design Space. This is a software programme that comes with the Cricut electronic cutting machine. I find it a boon for making a whole range of adjustments to designs.

Here is where I alter the size, decide if I need to duplicate any panels, then print and cut.

1. One copy becomes the background.

2. The second has some cut away areas.

3. More areas are cut in the duplicate panels.

4. The last panel is cut using silhouette paper.

5. The layers are placed one in front of the other to create the illusion of perspective.

6. I fold the two side panels, accordion style. I use double-sided tape and adhesive to assemble. 

Thank you for reading all about this papercut, I will post more ideas very soon ……

“It Must Be Papercuts” –

Please contact me for any further information.