Thursday, August 27, 2015

Precious Memories Shadow Box - Behind the Scenes of a Graphic 45 Special Project

My Fridays all seem to be running together these days. It's been a busy, busy month here in my craft studio. I've been designing my little heart out! Three projects for Graphic 45's Fall season of events and a few special cards for the upcoming Clearsnap catalog. Not to mention my own class projects and a few other fun things brewing. Whew! 

Of course, I can't show you any of them, just yet. (Sorry.)

Because of all this fun creating, I wasn't able to create a "Just For Fun Friday" project this week.

What I CAN share is a fun project I designed this past Spring using Graphic 45's Precious Memories collection and the Ivory Shadow Box. This comes with a printable project sheet so you can make your own. Simply click here.

Just for something a little different, I thought it would be fun to share what goes into designing these special projects for Graphic 45 as I share the photos of this particular project.

The first step is a conference call with Charee Filimoehala, Graphic 45's Design Team coordinator. I make note of the time we begin and finish talking, plus all the hours logged along the creation process. Charee gives me the basic plan: which collection they want me to use, what major product they want to feature (in this case the Ivory Shadow Box), any other materials they want me to use, how long they have to teach the class, and a materials budget.

They usually have a general idea of what they'd like to see (for example, in this project they wanted me to use Precious Memories and the Shadow Box, but wanted to focus less on the baby imagery and make it more universal.) Oftentimes, we share a secret Pinterest Board where we pin ideas and inspiration. Based on all this, it's time for me to create.

The design process involves keeping track of the number of papers used and the cuts per sheet. I use repositionable adhesive for everything at this stage, in case I have to move things around or change things altogether. I take preliminary photos along the way and once I've finished the design process, I upload these to my Google Drive folder which is shared with Graphic 45.

At this time, Charee and Aimee look over the photos and discuss, then give me their feedback. I make any necessary changes, then upload more preliminary photos for final approval.

Once I've been given the final okay, I set up my camera and lighting and take the project apart and start adhering everything with permanent adhesive, taking step-by-step photos along the way.

After I've gotten the project reassembled and all photos taken, I go back into my Drive folder and type the supply list for Graphic 45. They use this list to gather the materials needed for the number of attendees in each of their scheduled classes. Sometimes it's 100 to 150 people, sometimes it's 40.

Next I pull each photo into PhotoShop Elements to retouch and crop them. These photos will be used in the Project Sheets Graphic 45 puts together and provides to shop owners and eventually to the public, just like this one you see today. Graphic 45 has a tab in the sidebar of their blog where you can find all their Project Sheets! Lots of great projects you can create yourself.

Once the photos are ready, I upload them into my Drive folder, named and numbered to keep things organized and easy to search online. Then I type the step-by-step directions to coincide with my photos. Graphic 45 uses these to teach their classes, so careful editing and re-checking are essential (and usually require my teenager's assistance).

The next step in the process is typing the cutting guides in my Drive folder. Earlier, when designing the project, I kept notes of paper cuts per sheet of paper. Sometimes these cutting guides require diagrams because of the number of cuts and cut-aparts. This cutting guide will go to Graphic 45 so they can cut everything needed for class. (Don't tell them I said this, but I am SUPER happy they don't ask me to do this part!)

(these are little mini accordion books that sit inside the shadow box)

(They are decorated simply with washi tape and a bit of chipboard.)

After the cutting guide is done, I print a copy and then cut a sample kit for Graphic 45. This is a good time for me to double check my measures and catch any mistakes. I place the pieces into individually marked zip-top bags to keep things organized and easy to follow.

The final stage of the process is to carefully package the finished project and the sample kit, and ship it to Graphic 45. Once I know the package has arrived in Portland, I tally up my hours and send then an invoice for the job. 

These class projects are usually on the intermediate level. Sometimes I'd like to add more, but this is where the customer can take over, if they wish. My job is to create a teachable, fun project that showcases the AMAZINGLY wonderful Graphic 45 line. 

I can't think of a better job. Can you? I'm one lucky girl. And I'm honored to have Graphic 45 put their faith in me project after project.

Thanks for stopping in today. Now it's back to my studio to finish a fun Halloween project in the works. Have a great day!


  1. That was a fascinating read - I'm amazed that going into so much detail at every stage doesn't blunt your creativity, I'm sure it would for me! It's a stunningly beautiful make, even more so now I know the story behind it.

  2. Wow Annette, there is such a lot involved and you take such beautiful photos of your work. This project is just stunning, even more so knowing how much time and effort has gone into creating it. G45 must count their blessings each day to have you on their team! Anne xx

  3. Annette, you never cease to amaze me! This box is gorgeous!

  4. Holy Moly, Annette!! Your behind the scenes work is amazing and very detail oriented--WOW!! This is why you are such a STAR with Graphics 45!! This shadowbox is simply AMAZING and knowing the steps you took to create this, makes me appreciate everything you share with us that much more!! Just WOW!!! You Go Girl!! :):) XOXO-Shari


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