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DIY tutorial: How to make your own shadow box

Think Inside the Box


Shadow Box DIY

Precious moments? Your life is full of them. Your brain, on the other hand... not so much. Try as you might, details from, say, your high school graduation or that amazing summer in Italy are fading faster than your overpriced, name-brand yoga pants.

Sure, you've got framed portraits sprinkled here and there, and photos stashed in a drawer. But for something front, center, and even more memorable, we suggest a shadow box. Thanks to Pictures Plus, we learned that these super dramatic displays are actually super easy to make. After prepping the materials and finalizing the layout, we assembled ours in less than 10 minutes.

This is one shadow you won't have to be afraid of.

Shadow Box DIY

What you'll need:

(Above) Gather photos and mementos from your experience; the more variety, the better. Keep in mind, objects don't have to be flat, as long as they fit within the depth of the box. Tip: Collect more items than you think you'll need, so you can pick and choose what looks best in the final layout.

(Below) Gather your shadow box materials, available at Pictures Plus or any craft supply store. You'll need a frame, mat or poster board for the base, foam core, and adhesive. We prefer the convenience of glue dots, though regular glue or masking tape work just as well.

Shadow Box DIY

What You'll Do:

Cut the mat board to fit snugly inside the shadow box, then lay it on a flat surface and arrange your keepsakes on top. Once you've finalized your items, cut the foam core. You'll need larger pieces to secure on the backs of photos and smaller ones to stack together for height. Adjust the layout if necessary. Tip: Take a photo of the final arrangement to help you remember what goes where, especially if you're working in stages.

Shadow Box DIY

Next, use adhesive to attach the foam core to your items, then glue your items to the mat board (your reference photo will come in handy here). Place the finished board inside the shadow box and seal. Tip: Wipe down the glass front on both sides with Windex to remove fingerprints and streaks before inserting your board.

Shadow Box DIY
The finished product!

Koa veneer, $39.95-$89.95, and black wood, $29.95-$69.95, shadow boxes are available at Pictures Plus, locations here. Don't feel like doing it yourself? The locally-owned company can mount, mat and assemble one for you (approximately $200, price varies per project, satisfaction guaranteed).

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