Believe!! The Polar Express!

A favorite movie in my house at Christmas time is The Polar Express. My boys love it and it is tradition for us to watch it all as a family. Aidan is 16 and does not believe in Santa anymore but he does keep the magic going for his brothers. He always says he hears the bell when his little brother asks. To see my little guy Jesse light up with Aidan’s answer is amazing. My other son Connor has not let on if he still believes in Santa or not and I am to afraid to ask.

I wanted to create something that my boys could take with them when they leave the house. Aidan only has a little more time left with us until he graduates and I want him to remember the magic that he keeps alive for his brothers. That is when I came up with this project. These shadow boxes will always remind the boys of the magic of Santa and our time together watching The Polar Express. One day they will have their own kids and really see how special that magic is.

Lets Get Started


You can use what ever size sign or box you want. You will have to adjust the writing to fit your box. I used the back of the green sign for all three of my boxes. Dollar Tree always has signs that size. I painted them with Waverly Chalk Paint in White and Ink. I used my computer to make and print the words on 65 lb card stock. To distress the card stock I used distress ink from Tim Holtz but you can use a tiny bit of brown paint. I also used leather cord, Mod Podge, hot glue, and of course silver bells.

I started by scrapping the glitter off of the front of the sign. I do this because I am painting the whole sign. Take the signs and paint them all white. Do the front, back, sides, give it all a good base coat. Let it dry. Then paint what is the front of the sign black with the Ink colored chalk paint. Also do the sides and the sides of the inside of the box. Mine only needed one coat. Now paint the center of what is the back of the sign with the white chalk paint. That took me two coats of paint too. Let that dry.

While your box is drying, start working on your words. I kept playing with the size and printed these out a few times. These are the sizes of fonts that I settled on. Since I knew I wanted to distress the paper I used cream colored card stock to print out the final words on. If you do not have access to a printer, you can use sticker for the words.

Instead of cutting the words out, I carefully tore the paper all the way around the words. It makes it look like it is old paper. After that I smashed the paper in my hands and crumbled it up and flattened it back out. Then I took the distress ink and applied it all around the edges and dabbed it in the middle. If you use paint, dry brush it on very lightly. You can build up the paint until you like it.

I applied Mod Podge to the back of the pieces of paper. Make sure to not get it on the font because it will smear the ink or paint. I placed them down inside the shadow box.

Then I looped a small piece of leather cord through the bell. Hot Glue the ends of the leather cord together and glue it inside the box. Finally, add a bow. I did ask my son what color he thought the bell was in the movie, and he said silver. That was after I had distressed three silver bells and made the copper color. lol I went through the frustration of painting the bells for nothing. My son thought that was hysterical.

I gave these to my boys and my oldest two (who think they are funny) told me they could not hear the bell, but my little one went running though the house showing everyone and ringing the bell. They loved them. Children only believe in Santa for so long. I know we only have a few more years left with my little one because he is 7. It is nice to have something like this for them to still keep the Christmas magic alive and going. This was a lot of fun to make too. It was worth painting bells that did not need to be painted and the 20 times I printed the words.

Thank you for joining me for a bit of an emotional post for me. I do hope you enjoyed it. Please Like, Comment, Share, and Subscribe. Also find me on Instagram where I am showing some easy ornament DIYs and on Facebook all under Yellow Butterfly Craft Designs.

Merry Christmas!!

Melissa McGuire


Signs- Dollar Tree

Waverly Chalk Paint in Ink and White- Walmart

Card Stock- Michael’s Craft Supply

Distress Ink- Simon Says Stamp

Ribbon- Michael’s Craft Supply

Leather Cord- Michael’s Craft Supply

Silver Bells- Michael’s Craft Supply

Mod Podge- Hobby Lobby

Surebonder Hot Glue Gun and Hot Glue Sticks- Hobby Lobby

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