3-D Five Fern Shadow Box

Project Description: 

This shadow box is composed of 3 cut files assembled to create a shadow box fern clump. I cut it in shades of black and gray but different effects could be achieved by using shades of green, all layers in the same shade, or how about 3 brilliant colors for in a child's room.

Tutorial assembled using Silhouette Software Release 2.7.18.


I am a new Silhouette Contributing Artist. Both my Silhouette files and this website are the beginning. 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" & 1/8"
  • Silhouette Cameo
  • 3 sheets of 12" x 12" Card Stock - Color gradations can used but optional.
  • Blue Tack Wall Adhesive (optional)

Steps for completing the 3-D Five Fern Shadow Box project:

1. Download the cutting file for your Silhouette Cutting machine from the Silhouette Online Store here. All 3 of the patterns for this project are in Silhouette download. They need to be separated and expanded.  Below are some detailed instructions with photographs.

2. Prepare the files:
The downloaded Silhouette file looks like this. Each of the 3 parts has to be copied, pasted into a new Silhouette file and enlarged. Continue for more hints on doing this.

3. Enlarge and cut the 3 files.

  • The following technique will assist you in getting the inside frames sized correctly.
  • Copy the front frame (layer 1) from the original download and paste it into a new file. Enlarge to the size you want your final project to be. I found it worked well at about 9.5 inches. Notice the dotted line indicated by the green arrow below. This dotted line is key in correctly sizing layers 2 and 3.

  • Cut layer 1 in card stock. Cut settings will depend on your card stock thickness.
  • Select everything (EDIT MENU to SELECT ALL) for the layer 1 and change the ink color to blue. This step is optional but it helped me from getting confused. Below are the settings in Silhouette for changing color. Select the line tool and then choose a color.

  • Return to the original file download and copy layer 2.
  • Paste this copy ON TOP of the first file you just turned blue and resize it so the dotted square is slightly smaller. (This dotted square is the fold line when assembling the box.)

  • Notice how the large dotted fold square of the 2nd layer (red) is slightly smaller than the dotted square of the 1st layer (blue). You want to do the same. If you are using thicker card stock you will want more space here.
  • Note: I increased the thickness of the lines so this image would show well on your screen. You do NOT increase the line thickness. 

  • Once the size is appropriate, click on the back frame (blue in my sample) and delete it. You are left with the correctly sized middle layer (layer 2). 
  • Cut it out on your Silhouette.
  • Repeat by turning layer 2 blue and bringing in layer 3.
  • Reduce it to be slightly smaller than layer 2.
  • Delete layer 2 and cut layer 3.

4. Fold boxes.
  • Note each cut file has dotted lines. These are fold lines. 
  • Fold layers 1 and 2 BACK and fold layer 3 UP.

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

6. Assemble all three frames.
  • The back layer (3) slides into the middle layer (2).

  • The front layer  (1) slides over both others from the front.

  • Place glue dots between the layer frames to hold them all together. Position the back layer with in the front layer so that is place as far back as possible. You want to maximize the space between the layers.

7. Place on the wall.
  • I use Blu Tak or a similar product to attach to the walls with a material that doesn't damage the wall and is easy to re-position.

© 2013 Marji Roy, Ashbee Design


  1. I saw this in the Silhouette online store and loved it. This is a beautiful project and I can't wait to start making one. Thank you for creating this wonderful design and for the great tutorial.

    1. You are welcome! I am so happy to be able to share them with others. Love to see photos of your finished project. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Is there vellum used in this project? Or do the ferns just 'float' and are just connected to the frame itself with no backing? What color cardstock did you use for these?

    Thanks--and what a great design!

    1. No Vellum. Each layer is carefully designed so that every fern shape is supported by at least 2 and often more points around the frame. The gradation of color is achieved by choosing paper in 3 shades of the same color.

  3. I was so excited to see your email that your design files were available! Thank you! I have purchased several already, and had time to cut the ferns this evening...I'll take pictures within the next couple of days and share them on my blog so you can see...I love how it turned out! I see your latest design is an orchid...my mil is a huge orchid lover, I guess I'll have to purchase that one next! The fern box was very easy to assemble, now the hard part...I have to decide where to hang it!

    1. Meredith, Thanks for taking the time to let me know the file and tutorial worked easily. It is one thing to create something for yourself, it all makes sense. It is a different thing to make it for someone else to follow. Glad it worked out and I'll be looking for the photo!

    2. I finally managed to post the finished design! http://whatsnextma.blogspot.com/2013/07/silhouette-challenge-3d-shadow-box.html

  4. I'm not sure what i'm doing wrong,each time I try to copy and paste a layer all 3 layers copy onto new screen. what am I doing wrong?

  5. Just purchased this file and been reading your tutorial . I can follow most of it apart from I don't see that you cut the first layer that you turn blue although common sense tells me that is what you do . Sorry if I am being thick but can you clarify for me

    Thanks Sue x

  6. Hello,
    Beautiful designs. Just wondering if I can convert this to use on a Brother scan N cut.
    Thank you.