Shakers have been popular for years now, but there are so many ways to make one that I thought I’d put together a little list of some of them. Some are easy, but more expensive, and others are cheap, but take more work. There is pretty much a method for everyone out there.
1. Pre-made forms: Queen and Co. has created pre-cut adhesive foam shapes called Pop Ups. They come with matching plastic covers and make creating a shaker box pretty easy if you don’t mind spending the money on them. I made this flower tag using a circle Pop Up, a flower die cut, and some sequins and crystals.
2. Foam Tape: This is a pretty classic way to make a shaker, and it works best with straight-edged shapes like squares and rectangles. I like to cut my foam tape in half lengthwise to save money, and I usually stack it two layers thick to make sure there is enough room for my fillers to move around between the clear cover and base. You also want to make sure there are no gaps between pieces of tape where your filler can fall out. I used a piece of plastic from stamp packaging for the shaker cover on this birthday card.
3. Stacked paper: This is the method I’ve used the most. It’s a bit time consuming, but it’s cheap and you can use it with a variety of shapes. Using a Silhouette Cameo or other die cutting machine can speed up the process, but you can also hand cut your pieces. For this ATC I designed a rectangle inside a rectangle in my Silhouette’s design software, then cut a bunch of them out of cardstock along with one cut using just the outer rectangle for the base of my ATC. I also cut a piece of plastic using just the outer rectangle for the cover. Once cut, you simply glue together the layers until you have a stack tall enough to cover whatever filler you’re putting inside the shaker, then glue the stacked ring to the background. Fill the created space with sequins or other tiny bits, cover with the piece of plastic cut to the outer rectangle size, and then cover the plastic with a final ring piece to give it a more finished look.
My favorite shaker I’ve ever made was done this way. I cut out the diver’s helmet from Graphic 45’s Voyage Beneath the Sea collection and measured the inner and outer edges of the helmet's window. I cut rings on my Silhouette to match, and also cut the ring from the G45 image. After stacking everything and filling with clear crystals, I put the cut G45 ring on top. I used this for a pocket letter, but someday I want to make another one for myself.
4. Upcycled packaging: Instead of throwing away molded plastic packaging, use it as a pre-made shaker. I cut out three rectangles from a package, traced around it on my paper, cut the holes for it to stick through, glued it to the cover paper, filled each rectangle with crystals, then glued the whole card front to the card base. I’ll admit it took me awhile to get those three holes right (it would be much easier with just a single circle, square, etc.), but it was worth it in the end.
5. Fuse Tool or Sewing Machine: Using a Fuse Tool is a great way to make shakers. I love swapping pocket letters using the 9-pocket storage sheets that people keep baseball cards in. One of my favorite things to do is turn the center pocket into a shaker by Fusing the top of the pocket closed after filling it. It also works great for making shakers for cards that are taking a journey through the postal system because they're flatter than traditional shakers, which saves on postage. Just fuse together two sheets of plastic on three sides, leaving a quarter inch or more of border around the edges. Fill it up, Fuse it closed, and then glue it between two sheets of cardstock. If you don't have a Fuse, you can also sew shakers using a machine or by hand.
Recently I did a swap where we made teeny tiny little pocket letters. You cut out one of the pockets from a 9-pocket sheet protector, then use a Fuse tool or sewing machine to create 9 tiny pockets filled with itty bitty treasures like charms, wood veneers, stickers, flowers, or microbeads. It's kind of a twist on the usual shaker.
I hope I've given you one or two new ideas for making and using shakers in your projects. I know this is a fad that's shine is wearing off a little, but they're so fun for both the maker and recipient that I don't think they'll ever completely fade away. If you have a method to add to this list, please let us know in the comments! I love to learn how people tweak techniques to make them work for different situations.