Hello friends!  I hope everyone enjoyed the Tim Holtz Halloween Inspiration 2017 Series.  Weren't all the projects from his designers amazing?  Yesterday was the start of the Tim Holtz Holiday 2017 Inspiration Series and it continues until the first of December. There will be many holiday projects featured on everyone's blogs and Tim will have a recap on his blog every Saturday. This is my first project for the Holiday 2017 series that I am sharing today.

Why do I call this, the Secret Santa Frame?  There's a surprise under that decorated tree ring!

Here's the secret Santa!


A short little video showing how it works.

I don't know about you, but I've always been fascinated with boxes that open up to reveal an unexpected surprise.  I'm a lover of antiques and it always amazes me when I see the fine details and extra work that went into making an ordinary piece into something special from those days.  I like the challenge to try and attempt that with paper, making a project a keepsake.  So, pull up a chair, grab a coffee and enjoy this rather long tutorial.

I started out with this Tim Holtz Flip Frame (TH93195) using it as a base for my shadow box.  I cut a piece of chipboard the size of the frame (5 x 7).  Die-cut a circle in the center of the rectangle piece using the second largest circle(3 1/2") in Sizzix Stitched Circle Framelits (662229).  This is the front of your shadowbox.

The circular frame needs to be built up so it is level with the inside frame opening. This allows the tree ring to swing open without hitting the edge of the frame.  Cut four out thin chipboard.  I die-cut the 3 1/2" circle and the 3" circle inside to create my stitched rings.  

These rings are glued together and will be adhered to the matching hole in the rectangle, after it is covered with plaid patterned paper from Tim Holtz 8 x 8 Paper Stash (TH93625).

Another ring is die-cut.  Before adhering this on top of your layered rings, glue the bottom screw part of an Idea-ology Hitch Fastener (TH92731) to your ring.  Punch a small hole in your single ring and adhere it on top, the screw through the hole. Save the top part of the Hitch fastener, it will be used on the tree ring.  I lightly dry brushed paint on the ring.  This ring can be adhered after you get your box completed and attached to the frame.  This way you can judge how thick you will need the ring.

Adhere the plaid paper to the rectangle chipboard.  This is optional, I'm not sure if you really need to do this, but I cut another piece of thin chipboard the size of the inside flip frame opening (3 1/2 x 5 1/2), also die-cutting a hole in the center.  I glued this to my large piece before covering with plaid paper.  You can see it's slightly raised  in the middle, creating a ridge that fits inside the frame. If you don't want to add this, and find your circle rings aren't level with the metal frame, just add another ring to your stack. Hope this isn't confusing to you!  It really depends on the thickness of your chipboard or cardstock you use to create the rings, you might need more or less, just check when swinging the cover, it skims over the frame easily.  Set this aside.

I coloured my frame with Espresso Alcohol ink.

Now we are going to make the shadow box for the frame.  If you want to speed up this project, you can always use a Tim Holtz Vignette Wood box (TH93279) which is smaller than the frame but still creates a shadow box.  I cut out a thicker piece of chipboard for the back (5 x 7) and 2 sides approx. 1 1/4 x 7" and 2 sides approx. 1 1/4 x 5". Glue these pieces together, creating a box.  I just glue very thin strips of paper to the connecting pieces of chipboard. If you feel it's not secure enough, use a glue gun on the inside edges. You might have to trim a tiny bit off two of the sides, to make sure the box lines up with the frame size. 

A strip of chipboard is adhered to the inside to create a "floor".  Use your front to measure how high you need the floor.  Mine is about 1/4" lower than the circle opening, about 2" from the bottom.  The inside is covered with patterned paper.  You won't see a lot of it, but if I didn't want any of the chipboard visible.

Adhere the plaid front to the back of your metal Flip Frame.  This is what it looks like from the back.

           This is what it looks like from the front.

Colour your Idea-ology Salvage Santa (TH93661) and Decorative Deer (TH93640) with Ranger's Alcohol Ink.  I couldn't find my Gold Metallic Mixative Alcohol ink for the Santa, so I used this Ranger Ink Vintaj Patina Metallic paint in Aged Bronze.  These paints are made for metal jewelry pieces, but I liked the way it covered this Santa.  The deer was coloured with Caramel Alcohol ink.  Just lightly rub the areas, you want to expose back to the original colour.

To colour my trees (TH93639), I just spritz my Distress Spray Ink in a small plastic bag, throw in my tree, and squish it around.  Want a lighter colour, just add a spritz of water.

To add to my little scene, I added in a Christmas Quote Chip (TH93655), a bit of snow (white paper covered in Rock Candy Glitter) and die-cut greens (cut from green cardstock and Sizzix Mini Holiday Greens Thinlits Die set 661597).  Everything has been highlighted with Rock Candy Glitter and in some places white paint. 

Just make sure your scene is placed within the hole diameter.

Adhere your shadow box with a strong liquid glue.  I used elastics to keep it in place while the glue dried.

Cover the outside of the box with woodgrain paper from the Holiday paper stash. Cut the sides a little bit wider than the box sides so it extends halfway over the metal frame sides.  I used Sookwang double edge adhesive which is pretty strong tape to secure it to the metal frame.

Add some Christmas Design Tape (TH93628) around the edge.  It covers up and finishes off the edge of the box and overlaps onto the metal frame, securing it a little more.  You can now glue the thick ring to the outside of the box. Make sure the Hitch post screw is at the top.  It will fit quite snug.

Die-cut a Tree Ring (Tree Ring Sizzix Bigz Die 662429) from Distress Mixed Media Heavystock paper, then emboss with the coordinating tree ring texture fade.  Yes, this die comes with a matching embossing folder!  Ink the raised areas with Distress ink. I think I used Gathered Twigs. Die-cut another tree ring out of thin chipboard and adhere this to the back of the embossed one to strengthen it.  Punch a small hole near the top to fit your Hitch Fastener screw through.

To decorate my tree ring, I die-cut a Tim Holtz Dimensional Star (Sizzix 661595) from Metallic Kraft  Paper (TH93586), a snowflake (Sizzix Paper Snowflakes 660059) from Mixed Media Cardstock and Kraft Cardstock.  I had coloured the Mixed Media cardstock with Oxide inks.  Also  a label die-cut (Sizzix Labels Thinlits set 660060) from patterned paper (Holiday Paper Stash) with a tiny hole punch at the top for the Hitch post. These are all adhered in layers.

In addition to my die-cuts, I added in some Christmas Ephemera (93627), painted Christmas Typed Token (TH93629), Tiny Bells Findings(TH93658), and Wishes word (Christmas Clippings Stickers TH93651).  The two bells, and Token are tied around the Hitch Fastener top with Tim Holtz Eclectic Black Craft Thread (015274).  I take the thread, wipe it with Distress Collage Medium, then wrap it around a pencil or dowel.  After it has dried, remove and you have curly thread.  

Here's a closeup of the Hitch Fastener.  I screwed the top onto the bottom, but not too tight, this allows it to swing to the side.  It will loosen if moved quite a bit, so just check the screw every so often.  The bells also have a bit of white paint and Rock Candy glitter added to them.

For my decoration at the top of the shadowbox, I die-cut a Snowflake Rosette(Sizzix Decorative Strip 658256) from Mixed Media Cardstock that had been coloured with Distress Oxide Inks.

Instead of making it a complete circle, I folded it half-way and glued it to a half circle piece of cardstock.

This tiny bow is made from Paper Stash Kraft Christmas Paperie (TH93626) and Sizzix Fold-Up Bows Thinlits Die set 662415, there's two sizes.  Love this die!

Die-cut various pieces of greenery from Tim Holtz Mini Holiday Greens Thinlits Die set (661597) and Green Kraft Cardstock.

I like to dab a bit of white paint on the ends of my greens and then apply Distress Rock Candy Glitter with Glossy Accents.  I usually add this to everything, even my embellishments.

Adhere everything to the Snowflake Rosette and adhere to the top of your shadowbox.

Here's another look, showing the side.

A close up of the inside.

Here's another look at my finished project!  Hope you enjoyed my tutorial and thank you so much for visiting!  Make sure you check out all the other designer projects, Tim Holtz will have all the links on his blog and social media.  Just look for the hashtag #timholtzholiday2017!

Until next time,




Ann Barnes said...

This is so fabulous, the surprise took my breath away! Love your creativity and thank you so much for sharing your talents with all of us!

JoanneGib said...

Love it Jan! Thanks for the detailed instructions, very helpful.

Deb Lorence said...

This is beautiful Jan! TFS!

Tamera said...

Magnificent! I adore this project t and this was a fantastic tutorial Jan!

Lisa H said...

I love the secret santa!! fabulous! =)

Dara Lynn said...

Completely inspired from start to finish! So glad I took the leap early and purchased the wood ring die/folder! So innovative with the secret compartment!

Rea' said...

OMG ... this secret Santa is so very cool ... love it !!

Pam A said...

Wonderful creation! I learn so much from your blog posts and really look forward to seeing what you have created, Jan.

Theresa said...

Amazing project. And the step out is great. I am always looking for fun and different Christmas projects. this fits the ticket. thanks as always for sharing.

Tom Gray said...

OH WOW!!! You have just completed the inspiration for this year's "limited edition" holiday cards. I love it when others creativity makes my own "lights go off". Thank you so much!

Redanne said...

Totally inspiring Jan, this is one amazing creation - clever and so beautiful!

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Fabulous piece Jan, a lot of work and thought has gone into this and I love the surprise. Fantastic details. Tracy x

Cynthia said...

You should win the blue ribbon for this beauty!

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