Paper Cut Shadow Box Father's Day Gift

Hello! This is my first post.

First, I wish to thank the members of this community for your generosity. I have had my Glowforge for about nine months, and over that time I have learned from you, I have been inspired by your creativity, and I have been awed by your genius. Thank you!

This is a shadow box I made for my dad for Father’s Day. It is based on a photograph my brother took many years ago.

My dad was a farmer; sweet corn was among his favorite crops. He is also a retired Air Force pilot. The airplane was not in the original photograph, but it could have been. While serving in the reserves, he flew this jet out of the nearby Air Force base, which was located on the hill visible in the distance.

The design consists of 10 layers of card stock and is lit with two strands of fairy lights. I made the box out of Baltic birch. The inner box contains the lights and holds the sheets of card stock, which are separated by 1/8-inch cardboard spacers. The paper is protected by a sheet of clear acrylic. I textured the outer box with orange peel and spray painted it black.

The controllers for the fairy lights are glued to the back of the box so the switches and battery compartments are easily accessible. The inner and outer boxes are fastened using tabs connected with 1/4-inch Chicago binding screws.


That is really cool! A shadow box has been on my to do list for a couple years now, but I’ve never attempted it. The corn is my favorite part.


WOW! So many layers!!! You did a beautiful job, and I’m sure it’s going to be cherished! Great choice on the cardstock too - it completely blurs the individual fairy lights. Everything about this is lovely.


This is beautifully executed. I am sure that your father loves it.


Not only is it a wonderful gift, but the love that was put into making it cannot be measured. It is beautiful.


The lighting is perfect. Love it.


I really like the way your shadow box turned out. How did you get the background lighting so uniform. It looks perfect.


Just super. Very unique and cleverly executed. I would love to do something like this but have no one to gift it to, my wife would kill me if I made yet something else just to have it :blush:


Thank you!

I attached the lights to only the lower half of the back of the box so they would be behind multiple layers of card stock and the individual lights wouldn’t show.

I found that not enough light passed through to the front few rows of corn, so I cut a hole at the bottom of several sheets near the back to let more light through.

Honestly, it was mostly dumb luck.


Ohmygosh, I gasped when I saw this! Very, very nice work.


Very well done. I bet he was super excited to get it. and I’m sure your brother was tickled you based it off his picture.


This is what this forum is all about; by sharing your lovely work, you in turn are inspiring us with your creativity and genius.
I am sure this particular piece full of significant family references will be treasured and admired by your dad as well as the rest of your family.
Congratulations @LauraZM. Great first post! I look forward to seeing more creations from your inspiration.


Beautifully done! Lucky dad! :slightly_smiling_face:

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The glow of the light evokes the feeling of sunset or early morning with the sounds of nature! Then I noticed the plane and imagined the roar of the fighter jet passing by! Lovely thoughtful gift. :yellow_heart:

Very nice indeed!

So lovely! The many layers of corn and the even lighting just make it pop!

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That is beautiful and so personal!!

Wow! JUst terrific! And fun to look at! Beautiful!

Thank you all for your kind words. I confess that posting for the first time felt like walking through the classroom door on the first day at a new school. I was irrationally nervous about it. Thank you for being so warm and welcoming.

My brother was, indeed, delighted that his photo (taken 30ish years ago) has new life. My dad has Alzheimer’s, so I’m not sure whether he recognized himself in the image, but his face did light up as he looked at it. My mom loves it and has it displayed on my dad’s dresser.


Even if your dad doesn’t recognize himself, he knows the image is a farmer and it made him smile. Giving your mother some joy was well worth the effort.

Best wishes to you and your family.