Columbus Day celebrates the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the America’s on October 12, 1492. Columbus Day became a Federal holiday under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It is celebrated on the second Monday of October.
To commemorate this year’s celebration, why not make a shadow box? Not only are they fun to make, they are also educational. Here are directions on how to make a Columbus Day shadow box.
Yellow paint (construction paper or cardstock will also work)
1. The shoebox will be the setting for your scene (standing upright, the scene will stretch across the width of the box). The lid will be placed underneath the box. Place the lid (flat surface down) underneath the box and secure with glue.
2. Create “sky blue” paint. You can either buy this specific color, or you can create the color by mixing blue and white paint. Squirt about a tablespoon of white paint onto a paper plate (or whatever you choose to use). Then, little by little, add blue paint until you get your desired color. If you run out and have to mix more, remember that it doesn’t have to be exact. Just get the color as close as you can.
3. On the outside of the box, paint the sides and top. On the inside, paint the top, sides and background. Allow to dry.
4. Now, using the same mixing method as before, create the color for the ocean. This time, though you should start with the blue and add in the white. The color for the ocean should be noticeable darker than that of the sky.
5. On the inside of the box, paint the background and sides (three-quarters to half way up). As this will represent the ocean, it is better if the lines are not straight across. Instead, make the lines look like waves. Also paint the bottom of the inside and the front of the lid on the outside. Allow to dry.
6. For the sun, if you don’t have yellow paint on hand, you can use construction paper or yellow card stock. A simple circle (about the size of a half dollar) will do just fine. Place the sun in the upper left-hand corner of the background.
7. For the clouds, dip your paint brush into white paint. Dab the excess paint onto a piece of paper. Then, inside the box, dab the paint onto the background.
Now it’s time to make the ships.
Empty egg carton
1 piece of white craft foam
Black fine-tip marker
3 bamboo sticks
Side cutters (wire cutters)
1. Using an empty egg carton, cut out 3 egg cups (they do not have to be perfectly rounded on the top. Paint the cups (inside and out) with brown paint.
2. While waiting for the cups to dry, take your white foam and cut out three 1″x1″ squares and three 2″x2″ squares.
3. Using your red marker, draw a cross on each of the 1″x1″ squares.
4. Using your black fine-tip marker, write down the names of the ships on the 2″x2″ squares: Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria (although the name of the ship is usually put on the ship itself, in this case, it’s more visible on the sails).
5. Now take your bamboo sticks and, using your side cutters, cut the sticks so that the measure 5 Â½ “.
6. Take a 1″x1″ square and glue it to the top of the stick. Glue a 2″x2″ square 1″ down from the top square. Repeat with the other two.
7. When the paint is dry on the cups, take your glue gun and squirt a glob of glue on the bottom of the cup. Take your stick with the sails and place it into the glue. After about 10 seconds, squirt another glob of glue around the stick. Wait approximately 30 seconds. The stick should be secure. Repeat with the other two.
8. Gather the accessories that you would like to place in the box in addition to the ships. For instance, equipment that would have been used on the voyage, such as a compass, a telescope or a map is a great idea. The example shows a map, rope and a compass (instructions on how to find or make these items can be found at the end of this article).
9. Arrange your ships and accessories the way that you would like them to be displayed. Glue in place.
Congratulations! You’ve completed your Columbus Day shadow box! As this project can be time consuming, it’s a great opportunity to discuss Christopher Columbus, who he was and his impact on American history. You could also discuss the rigors and dangers of traveling during that time. It’s a great excuse for education and conversation! Enjoy!
Map: Using Google, type in “old map” and bring up the images. Set to medium size. Print and cut out the image that you would like to use. Glue the bottom of the map to a bamboo stick (there should be left over from what was used to make the sails). Then, glue the stick to the box to display the map.
Rope: Coil twine around your middle and index fingers. Secure ends with glue. Glue the bottom coil to the box.
Compass: Glue the ends of two Â½” pieces of bamboo stick together to form an “L”. Using your foam, cut two circles with a 1 Â½” diameter. You can either paint them gold or brown (one side will do). Then cut one circle with a 1″ diameter. Draw a small cross in the center of the smallest circle and label North, South, East and West (N, S, E, W). When the paint has dried on the larger circles, glue the small circle in the center of one of the larger ones. Take your “L” and glue the circles onto it, forming what looks like a clam. Glue compass to box.