doodle shadow box art

Have you seen the framed artwork in the stores with the black outline on the glass only, so that it defines and highlights the print behind it? I have no idea what you call them! I’ve seen them at Hobby Lobby and other stores and I have looked and searched for them on the interwebs but I can’t seem to find them online- I guess because I don’t know what they are called! Does anyone know what I’m talking about, or what is the name for them??? I am calling it Doodle Shadow Box Art.

Anyway….. I think this type of framed art is pretty cool, and I really wanted to try to make one of my own. This is going in the spare room that I am currently redecorating. I am pretty happy with the way it came out, and I am thinking of all kinds of possibilities for this technique- like “decorating” a photo with doodles, and framing children’s artwork and putting their name and age on the glass. It is really easy to do!

For this project, you will need a shadow box with glass insert -in other words, a frame in which the glass sits away from and does not sit directly on the print or photograph. I found a large one at Ikea for $20.00.


(I also found some on the Walmart website.)

I colored in my artwork with watercolors- feel free to use whatever you want. You can use markers, colored pencils, even crayons! Or you can just skip the whole art thing and buy an unframed print to use in your shadowbox, or use a favorite photo or your kid’s artwork, as I mentioned above.

Here is the complete supply list:

  • shadow box with glass insert
  • heavy paper for artwork
  • watercolors, markers, colored pencils, and/or crayons
  • dry erase marker in any color except black
  • black permanent marker, such as Sharpie (you will probably want a medium point)
  • pencil
  • paper towels, glass cleaner


So here’s what you do….

Cut the paper to fit inside the shadow box (you can just use that piece of paper that comes with the frame or the backing of the frame as your template.) Draw a simple design on the paper with a pencil. Don’t be intimidated by this-  a simple design will work very well. You don’t have to have a lot of details in your drawing- you can add those later with your Sharpie marker. I drew a butterfly and some flowers:

butterfly art jacquelynne steves

butterfly art jacquelynne steves


Next, color in your design. This is the fun part- it’s just like being a kid with a coloring book again!

butterfly art jacquelynne steves

butterfly art jacquelynne steves

butterfly art jacquelynne steves


Clean both sides of the glass for the frame. Place the glass on the picture. Use a dry erase marker to draw in the details. Have fun with this part- think of it as doodling. Feel free to add words and extra details, like dots or whatever, to your drawing.

It’s VERY important to use a dry erase marker for this step, NOT the Sharpie. I used a black dry erase marker- but I recommend using another color. I’ll explain why in the next step.


doodle shadow box art tutorial


Remove the artwork from under the glass and it will look something like this:



Place a piece of scrap paper on your table (I just used the paper insert that came with the frame.) Carefully place the glass right-side-down on the paper.



Now trace your lines using the black Sharpie marker on the other side (wrong side) of the glass. (The reason that I recommend a colored dry erase marker is so that you can see where you’ve already traced- I used black for both and it was hard to see what I had already done.) Be careful with this step- it’s difficult (but not impossible) to remove the Sharpie from the glass. If you make a mistake, have some paper towels and glass cleaner handy to remove it immediately. While doing this step, you can also make some of the lines thicker, fill in some areas (for example, the little leaves didn’t even appear in my original drawing but I drew them and filled them in with the black Sharpie.)

Allow the Sharpie marker to dry for a few minutes. Flip the glass over and use a dry paper towel to remove the dry eraser from the front of the glass.

Insert the glass and the artwork into the frame.

Voila! Fancy Shadowbox Art (or whatever we are calling this….)

Other projects in my spare bedroom makeover are a No-Sew Fabric Covered Lamp Shade and No-Sew Fabric Window Shade.

Fabric covered Lampshade Windowshade