How to Make a Shadow Box Frame – DIY Tutorial

How to Make a Shadow Box Frame

What is Shadow Box?

A shadow box is a type of picture frame that has a deeper depth than a traditional frame, allowing for the display of three-dimensional objects. It is often used to showcase items such as medals, awards, and other memorabilia. A shadow box frame is an appealing way to display cherished memories and keepsakes. Whether you want to showcase a collection of mementos, preserve a special moment, or create a personalized gift, making your shadow box frame allows you to add a touch of creativity and sentimentality to your space. Follow this step-by-step guide to craft your shadow box frame.

Materials and Tools to Make a Shadow Box Frame

Creating a shadow box frame requires a few materials and tools to ensure a smooth and successful construction. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:


  1. Wooden Shadow Box Frame: You can purchase a pre-made shadow box frame or create your own using wooden boards. Ensure that the frame has enough depth to accommodate the items you plan to display.
  2. Acrylic or Glass Pane: Depending on your preference, you can use either acrylic or glass to cover the front of the shadow box. Acrylic is lighter and less prone to breakage, while glass provides a more classic look.
  3. Backing Material: Choose a sturdy backing material such as foam board or cardboard. This will serve as the background for your display.
  4. Decorative Paper or Fabric: This will be used to cover the backing material for added visual appeal.
  5. Adhesive: Use a strong adhesive to secure the backing material to the frame and to attach your items in place.
  6. Craft Knife or Scissors: To cut and shape materials as needed.
  7. Measuring Tape or Ruler: To ensure accurate measurements for cutting materials and arranging items.
  8. Pencil: For marking measurements and guidelines on materials.
  9. Sandpaper: To smooth any rough edges on the wooden frame.
  10. Paint or Stain (Optional): If you want to customize the color of your frame.



  1. Saw: To cut wooden boards if you are creating your own frame.
  2. Miter Saw (Optional): For making angled cuts on the frame if desired.
  3. Glue Gun (Optional): For a quick and secure bond when attaching items.
  4. Screws or Nails (If creating your own frame): To assemble the wooden frame.
  5. Clamps (Optional): To hold the frame pieces together while the adhesive or glue dries.
  6. Paintbrushes (If painting): For applying paint or stain to the frame.

Having these materials and tools on hand will make the process of creating a shadow box frame more efficient and enjoyable. Adjust the list based on your specific design preferences and the items you plan to display in the shadow box.

Steps to make a shadow box frame

Step 1: Prepare the Frame

Prepare the Frame

If you’re using a pre-made frame, ensure it’s clean and in good condition. If you’re creating your own, assemble the wooden boards into the desired shape and size, securing them with wood glue or screws.

Step 2: Cut the Backing Material

Measure and cut the backing material to fit the interior of the frame. This will be the background against which your items will be displayed.

Step 3: Cover the Backing Material

Use decorative paper or fabric to cover the backing material. This adds a personal touch and enhances the overall aesthetic of the shadow box.

Step 4: Arrange Your Items

Arrange Your Items

Before securing anything in place, arrange your items on the backing material to find the most visually pleasing layout. Experiment with different placements until you’re satisfied.

Step 5: Attach Items to the Backing Material

Using adhesive, carefully attach your items to the backing material. Ensure that everything is securely in place before moving on to the next step.

Step 6: Seal the Shadow Box

If your frame has a front-opening, insert the acrylic or glass pane and seal the frame. If it’s a back-opening frame, attach the backing material to the frame using screws or adhesive.

Step 7: Hang or Display

Your shadow box frame is now ready to be hung on the wall or displayed on a shelf. Choose a location where it can be admired, and where the sentimental value of its contents can be appreciated.

Creating a shadow box frame is a delightful way to showcase memories and tell a story through your cherished items. Get creative, and let your imagination guide you as you design a unique and personalized shadow box.

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