3-D Apple Blossom Triptych • Silhouette Tutorial

Project Description: 

This projects captures the essences of apple blossoms blooming in the spring. A gnarled tree branches traverses across three shadow box panels with 3-D blossoms added. The split shadow box technique is an effective way to create a larger piece of wall art on the Silhouette. Six patterns are cut along with 15 blossoms to assemble.

Tutorial assembled using Silhouette Software Release 2.7.18.


I am a new Silhouette Contributing Artist. Both my Silhouette files and this website are just the beginning. Template links will be updated once the file is live on Silhouette. Send along any suggestions, problems, ideas or photos as we learn to create together. I'd love to hear from you!  Marji Roy
eMail: ashbeedesignemail@gmail.com

Supplies Needed:

  • Template from Silhouette On-Line Store here.
  • Glue dots 3/16"
  • Silhouette Cameo
  • 6 sheets of 8.5" x 11" Card Stock 
  • Blue Tack Wall Adhesive (optional)
  • Foam stickt disks

Steps for completing the 3-D Tree Branch Shadow Box project:

1. Download the cutting file for your Silhouette Cutting machine from the Silhouette Online Store here. All of the patterns for this project are in one Silhouette download. They need to be separated and expanded. You will find some basic instructions included in the file. Below are some more detailed instructions with photographs.

2. Prepare the files:
The downloaded Silhouette file looks like this. Each of the 4 parts has to be copied, pasted into a new Silhouette file and enlarged.

  • Right click on the Front Frame and COPY it ( or EDIT MENU to COPY).
  • Open a new Silhouette File by going to the FILE MENU and selecting NEW.
  • Go up to the EDIT MENU and select PASTE.
  • These patterns were designed to fit on a 8.5  x 11" sheet of card stock so switch the Page settings to Letter size.
  • Click and drag from the lower corner to expand the design. Hold the shift key down as you do this to keep the pattern square. Enlarge the frame to 8" square.
  • Sizing note: You can make the shadow box smaller. Just make sure the back level is slightly smaller than the level in front of it.
3. Cut all 3 frames.
  • You will need to cut this file 3 times, one for each part of the shadow box. Save the file for the next step.
  • These are the cut settings I used with the 65 lb card stock used on this project.

4. Enlarge and cut the 3 tree branch frames.
  • The following technique will assist you in getting the inside frames sized correctly to slide into the front frames you just cut out.
  • Copy the left back frame from the original download (shown below in red) and paste it over the front frame file (shown below in thin blue) you just made and cut in the previous step.
  • Resize the left branch frame (red) so the dotted line square is just inside the dotted line square of the first frame (blue).  (Your lines will all be red. I changed the color to help demonstrate. You can also change the color if it helps you tell the files apart.)

  • Once the size is appropriate, click on the back frame (blue in my sample) and delete it. You are left with the correctly sized branch frame. 
  • Cut it out on your Silhouette.
  • Bring in the middle branch frame and paste it over the left branch frame. 
  • Enlarge it to be the same size as the left branch frame.
  • Delete the left frame and cut the middle frame.
  • Repeat with the right frame.
5. Fold boxes.
  • Note each cut file has dotted lines. These are fold lines. 
  • Fold the back layer UP and the Front Layer BACK along the dotted lines, creasing the seams.

6. Glue Corners
  • I like to use Glue Dots on the corners although other glue types are appropriate. 
  • It is important to make square corners. 

7. Assemble all three frames.
  • The back layer slides into the front layer

  • Place glue dots between the layer frames to hold them all together

8. Make apple blossoms.
  • Copy and paste the patterns for the blossoms and their centers and backs into a new document.
  • Duplicate them so you have 5 sets (15 total petals sets and 45 circles)
  • Cut them out of card stock using the Silhouette.
  • Each flower blossom is made from a petal shape and 2 circles.

  • Fold the petal shape back and forth. It is tiny so there are no fold perforations.

  • Put a Glue Dot on one of the circles and place the petal shape on that, wrapping it around so the edges that form the gap meet. This will cause the shape to curl upward and give it depth.

  • Put a glue dot on the other blossom center and put that on top of the center sandwiching the petal edges between the two circles.

  • Put a glue dot on the backside and attach the blossom to a branch.

  • Apply a scattering of different sized blossoms along the branches in the 3 shadow boxes.
  • Apply some sticky foam disks to the back to help space the branches from the wall.

8. Apply Blu-Tack to the corners in wide areas and stick the triptych to the wall.

Other notes:
You can display the shadow boxes with no backing. Your wall color will show through. If you have a patterned wall, you can insert a sheet of colored paper behind the branch layer to add contrast in your room.

© 2013 Marji Roy, Ashbee Design

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