Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bone Specimens

This was our guest feature post from the beginning of the month over at A Girl in Paradise.  Figured I'd throw it up here at home too just in case you didn't get a chance to check it out on her blog.  Thanks again, Ann, for the support.

I’ve been admiring lots of fellow crafters’ takes on specimen art ever since I entered the blogging world and couldn’t decide what I wanted mine to be.  We’ve been in need of a little something for the wall in the laundry room so here was my chance.  One of the main things, other than laundry, that happens in that room is that it's the dog goodies storage room, so rather than make specimen art of laundry soap I went with dog bones.  
Here’s what you will need to do your own 3D specimen art.  
Shadow box frame - I got mine at Goodwill for $1
Paper for your specimens 
Paper background
Glue - test your glue on a piece of scrap paper so you know it won’t bleed through
Craft foam - scraps would be great but if you need to buy it just get one sheet.  Its more than enough.
Spray paint *optional* - if you like the color of your frame you wont need the paint
First I painted my frame.  It was originally white but the finish had a couple nicks and had started to yellow.  If your frame is in good shape feel free to skip this step.  

Since I’m a stickler for continuity I broke out my underused Cricut machine and got to work making bones. 

You can totally do this with a drawn template too, it just takes a little longer to cut them all out.  After fiddling around with the sizes I decided on 2 inch long bones and figured I could fit seven rows of four in my frame.

Now layout all your bones in the configuration that you like.  This took a couple of minutes because I had to move different colors around.

I would also recommend laying them in the frame on top of the glass and placing it over your background paper.  I actually ended up changing the color after I did this.  Make sure to note how much room you need to leave around the edges and what your spacing for in between specimens will be.  There’s no science to this.  Just go with what you think looks good.  As long as they are pretty consistently spaced it’ll look great.

Now you’re going to need to cut your foam tabs.  These guys are what make this specimen art 3D.  I cut 2 tabs for each bone and made them about 1/4 squares.  Make sure to cut them small enough that they disappear behind your specimens.

Once you have enough start to glue them onto the back of your specimens.  I squeezed a bunch of glue onto a piece of scrap paper and used my tweezers to dip each one in it and stick it to the back of the paper pieces.  Let these totally dry before moving on.

Now its time to put your specimens on their backing paper.  Start with your middle row.  If you have an even number of rows start with the middle two and work outward.  This will keep you from having everything shifted to one side or the other.  

Mark on the edge of the background paper where each of your lines of specimens is going to be, use a ruler to keep yourself working in a straight line and start gluing.  Remember to try and stay with the spacing you decided on earlier.

Let dry completely. 
Now slide your completed art project into its frame and tada.  
You have shadow box 3D specimen art!  
I'm so happy how this looks in my laundry room.  It goes great with my teal/blue/brown curtain.

I think a little puppy managed to get a bite out of one of my bones before I got them in the frame though.

What will your specimens be?
Craft on!


  1. Best specimen art ever!!! Love it!!!

  2. What a cute idea! I just hopped over here from, of all places, a food blog "Hungry Homebody". I live in a VERY furry household (four dogs and three cats, not to mention the granddoggies that come to visit once in awhile!)

  3. I love this project and I am crowning you a La-Dee-Da Diva!!!
    come grab a button!