Shadow boxes are a unique way to store keepsakes and add memories in a way that beautifully blends nostalgia and decor. Whether you’re using old family portraits and keepsakes that have been kept for years or trinkets and inspiration photos, shadow boxes allow you to create something that will give you a good vibe every time you walk by.
diy shadow box ideas
1. DIY Vintage Key Shadow Box Ideas
Lovely Living suggests checking out your or your family’s home, thrift stores, and local or farm sales to find antique keys that look gorgeously decorative. Arrange them in a deep frame or shadow box to help establish a wonderfully vintage aesthetic!
2. Fabric star and pretty favorite ideas
She’s Smart chose to make a shadow box with a mix of fabrics and a pretty pattern. We think these shadow box craft ideas would make a great graduation gift, birthday gift, or creative wedding gift with colors, shapes, and words that you know your loved one would appreciate or be inspired by.
3. Fun Crafts of Buttons, Spools, and Sewing Trinkets for a Shadow Box
Do you know someone who loves sewing more than anything? Maybe she’s a seamstress who lives, breathes and earns her income from sewing and designing clothes, or maybe she’s just an enthusiast with a passion for her favorite hobby. Either way, show them your appreciation for the work they’ve done for you by collecting sewing-themed items like trinkets, stickets, and vintage spools and creating them in shadow boxes. We love these textured tactile designs from All That Glitters!
4. See flowers, sheet music and lace crafts in a shadow box
Nelly Vintage Home suggests creating pretty, musical shadow boxes with your favorite flowers (make sure they’re silk or dried, as the real ones will die in a shadow box) and other items like printed sheet music and lace trim. These things look especially beautiful in a shadow box that has a genuine or intentionally worn look.
5.Make vintage christening gown shade
Has your family passed down the same christening gown for generations and now you’re worried about how it will fare if you keep wearing it? You might be fine with just finding it, but you think its beauty should be appreciated between uses! Here’s another example where a creative shadow box creation is your answer. The Frame Source suggests a simple, deep framing and engraved plate to let viewers know how special the piece they are looking at is.
6. Ideas for a vintage photo and a shadow box of baby shoes
Are you lucky enough to have not only an old picture of an older family member, but also one of their first baby booties? This is the perfect setting for a nostalgic vintage shadow box! See how Sugar Lump Studios created this gorgeous example using old paper and other nostalgic items.
7.Make Hospital welcome shadow box
Have you saved every piece and detail of when each of your babies came home from the hospital? Keep the best clothes at that time, like the first shoe, you can in the same way that Mae de Guri did here; in a lovingly displayed shadow box that you can show your children when they are older.
8. Tiny Pocket Watch Shadow Box
Love the idea of a shadow box, but prefer one with a more unique twist than just a sunken picture frame on the wall? Take inspiration from these Anne Arden McDonald art pieces, which are made inside the frames or casings of vintage pocket watches. The technique for making them is very similar, you’re just working with a much smaller version of the other shadow boxes you’ve seen on the list.
9. Make a shadow box out of vintage collectibles
SweetPeaVintageArt has shadow box ideas that are a bit more involved than some craft ideas you might find. In addition to being vintage themed, every item in it is some kind of vintage collectible. On top of that, the box itself and the mat it hangs for a little extra decoration are also well preserved from previous generations.
10. Wedding Anniversary Shadow Box
Marlene Vidal suggests making your parents, grandparents, or friends a wedding anniversary shadow box decorating ideas as a nostalgic gift with a more personal touch than something store-bought. Gather a print of one of your wedding photos, a copy of your invitation, and some decorative pieces or cutouts inside.
11. Paper Floral Wreath Guestbook Shadow Box
Shadow box ideas are a great way to display your first greetings from family and friends when you move into a new house! During the housewarming party, place small cards cut to look like leaves, asking visitors to write on the leaves as if they were a welcome or guest book. Collect the leaves at the end of the party and place them inside a shadow box to resemble a wreath. We think this Oh Happy Day idea is a much more decorative idea than your average guest book!
12. DIY Apartment Key Shadow Box
Like the idea of documenting it in a shadow box every time you move into a new house, but aren’t sure you’re throwing a housewarming party? Start saving the keys to your old houses instead! Young House Love suggests placing your keys in a fun shadow box, labeling them with the addresses and dates you lived in that house. As time goes by, the box will begin to tell your story in a unique way!
13. Vintage Doily Shadow Box Frame
Do you love collecting vintage handmade rugs of all shapes and sizes? One of our favorite ways to display these pieces of art is in a shadow box, just like She’s Smart did here! This allows people to see how beautiful the pieces you have found are, but keeps them safe and well protected.
14. Vintage Recipe and Mixing Spoon Shadow Box Ideas
Does your family have some secret recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation and become infamous in your local area? This Pinterest idea preserves that recipe in a unique and decorative way that people will love to look at! Take the oldest handwritten version of the recipe that you can trace and combine it inside a shadow box with an old wooden spoon or other kitchen tool that would be used when making the recipe. Now it’s a delicious heirloom and a work of art!
15.Brooch Mural Shadow Box Frame
Have you received countless pieces of beautiful vintage jewelry from your grandmother or aunts? You can wear some of that, but not everything they give you will stay in style. Some might even be broken. You can still keep these pieces and make a great craft piece and use them by creating a mural inside a white shadow box to display as home decor! We love this little jewelry tree from Pinterest.
Some questions and answers
What are shadow boxes good for?
If you’re a sentimental person, you know that not everything can be kept in your memory. Some objects have a story to tell, whether it’s about your life or someone else’s. These items can be kept safely stored in a shadow box. They can also make great gifts for friends and family members as long as you remember to send them along with their story! A shadow box is simply an ornate box that keeps things safe and secure while making them aesthetically pleasing to look at.
What can you make a shadow box out of?
As you might imagine, there are a lot of different materials you can use to create a shadow box. There’s wood, metal, cardboard, canvas—and that’s just for starters. Depending on what you have in mind for your shadow box and how it will be used, certain materials will work better than others.
Can I make my own shadow box frame?
Yes, you can absolutely make your own shadow box frames. But first, let’s understand what a shadow box is: a glass-fronted frame that usually displays photos, small pieces of memorabilia or other small items. The idea behind them is to preserve memories, show off special possessions and make art out of ordinary objects you might otherwise throw away. It’s not as hard as it sounds.
How do you make a homemade shadow box?
The concept is simple enough, but when it comes to creating your own, there are a lot of questions. Do you use glass or some other material? How do you build it? Where do you get all those cool accessories to decorate it with? Well don’t worry; we have some ideas and tips for you to make it as easy as possible. Check out our Steps to make homemade shadow box.
1- Prepare a shadow box project kit.
2- Cut out your shadow box shape. Use a power saw or jigsaw to cut out a square or rectangle piece of wood to serve as your frame. Make sure it fits in your project space and that you’re happy with its dimensions; use sandpaper to get rid of any rough edges.
3- Cut two pieces of wood for your front and back. Attach them to opposite sides of your shadow box frame using wood glue and finishing nails. Allow it to dry overnight so that it’s strong enough to hold up once you start filling it with accessories.
4- Apply sealant or varnish, which gives your project a more professional look and also protects it from damage over time.
5- Fill your box with whatever items you want to display. They can be a variety of sizes, but make sure they all fit in your frame and aren’t too heavy, otherwise they might cause it to collapse and fall apart. You could use anything from a pocket watch, toy cars or family heirlooms.
6- Display your shadow box where you can enjoy it every day!
How do you make a shadow box look good?
The best way to make your shadow box look good is to just have a nice box. You don’t need to put any extra effort into making it look nice or pretty because you are only showing little things that can easily fit in it. For example, If you want something like sewing kits and quilt blocks then a box will be perfect for that. All you need is just wrap your stuff with good paper and then insert them into your shadow box.
How do you hang heavy items in a shadow box?
If you are lucky enough to find a shadow box that’s all one piece, then installation is easy. Simply screw or nail into place as if it were a picture frame. If your shadow box is not one solid piece, and you have separate pieces to hang together, you will need some hardware for installation.
How do you display things in a shadow box?
Well you have to have some sort of structure to start with. Usually people use wooden planks for walls and a frame as well for support. Now, as for what to put in your shadow box, that is totally up to you. What do you want it to display? Be creative!
How do you mount a medal in a shadow box?
The process is a lot easier than you might think. To start, you’ll need some double-sided tape and mounting board. You can find mounting board in arts-and-crafts stores or online. You can also use any wood material that’s more rigid and sturdy than a regular sheet of paper. Cut your medal down to size using wire cutters or an X-Acto knife, then mount it on a flat surface using your double-sided tape.
How do you put a shirt in a shadow box?
If you’re going to display old T-shirts in a shadow box, you need to find ways to affix them. Old shirts may have been damaged or torn before being placed into these boxes, so it’s not as simple as sewing two pieces of material together and calling it a day. There are many methods for displaying shirts in shadow boxes; however, we’ve found that certain methods work better than others for achieving professional results.
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