In the craft world, a shadow box is a device that looks similar to a “deep frame” and is used to display three-dimensional images or objects. The craft is thought to have begun hundreds of years ago, when leisure time allowed for the assembling of mementos to be completed. Navy and army personnel also used it to display their badges, medals, and other service reminders, as well as other personal belongings. Hanging or putting items in a shadow box for display has the advantage of appearing neat and finished when they are mounted to the wall or placed on a shelf.
Part 1 Preparing to Build the Shadow Box
1. Make a list of your supplies. To begin, you’ll need a wooden picture frame with a deep or wide edge. The dollar store and thrift stores are great places to find these for next to nothing. In addition to balsa wood, you will need a ruler, double-sided tape, a pencil, paint or something to mark the wood with, a craft knife, craft glue, and backing paper to complete your project. Backing paper can be any type of drawing paper that you have on hand.
2. Make a decision on what you’d like to put inside the shadow box before you begin. The size and shape of the shadow box you end up putting together will be determined by the contents inside. You can put anything you want in there as long as it will fit in the space!
3. Take, for example, the typical shadow box contents. Shells, coral, and pebbles are some of the most commonly used seaside objects. Some people use shadow boxes to create miniature scenes such as doll houses, storefronts, and other miniature settings. Others prefer natural objects such as gumnuts, leaves, herbs, flowers, seeds, pods, and so on. Other examples include: Take a look at some of the other possibilities listed below.
Stamps, spoons, coins, stickers, and other collectibles are examples of this.
In the case of scrapbooking, the shadow box makes an excellent display case for various scrapbooking components of all kinds.
Insects: Do you have a collection of butterflies or beetles on hand? A shadowbox is the ideal display solution for them. Keep an eye out for wildlife, though; a paper or photographic collection can be just as interesting as a live specimen.
Militaria includes items such as medals, insignia, buckles, awards, badges, and other similar items.
4. Prepare the shadow box by arranging the objects you intend to use in it around a sheet of paper. Prepare a design by experimenting with it in advance. That way, you’ll know exactly where to put the glue to hold everything in place. Create a mock-up of the actual objects on a sheet of paper that is approximately the same size as the inside of your frame, or draw an outline of the object onto blank paper to serve as a guide for your final arrangement.
5. Select a frame with deep sides to accommodate your needs. If it does not already have deep sides, it will not be suitable for the purposes of this box. A shadowbox frame can be purchased on the internet or at an arts and crafts store. You can even design your own if you so desire. It’s really just a picture frame, to be honest.
Part 2 Making the Shadow Box Backing Rest
1. Remove any wadding or packaging from the picture frame before using the picture frame. This will typically be a piece of cardboard or press board that is sandwiched between the image and the backing material.. Remove the backing, but don’t throw it away because you’ll be using it soon. You can remove any clips or holders that were attached to it.
2. Create a resting place for the backing. The backing will be placed at the back of the frame, resting on four pieces of balsa wood that have been inserted. Begin by taking measurements around the edges of your picture frame. Following that, mark and measure four pieces of balsa wood according to your measurements from above. They should be able to fit inside the inner edge of the frame at a depth of approximately 3mm/18 inch (0.3 cm) less than the frame sides.
3. Make a cut in the balsa wood. When cutting the balsa, make sure the lengths of the pieces are the same as the frame’s width. The width lengths should be slightly shorter than the other two longer lengths because they must fit inside the other two longer lengths. Put your faith in your measurements.
4. Fix the balsa pieces to the frame with screws. Double-sided tape should be used to attach the balsa pieces to the frame so that it will fit snugly in its new location. The longer pieces should be attached first, followed by the shorter pieces. Then insert the width pieces one at a time.
Part 3 Adding the Backing Paper
1. Remove the backing paper piece from the template. Make sure it will fit inside the frame by measuring it. Keep in mind that the addition of the balsa pieces has resulted in the frame becoming slightly smaller. Make use of this measurement to correctly calculate the size of the backing paper, and then cut the backing paper to the appropriate size.
2. Make certain that your backing paper will accommodate all of your objects. It is for this reason that it is critical to plan ahead of time In order to get a better understanding of how the layout will work, lightly trace the objects you intend to use on the paper in pencil. Stay away from the edges of the paper or you will run the risk of running into the frame.
3. Attach the backing paper to the back of the frame with a glue stick. Attach the paper to the backing by glueing it down with craft glue or spray adhesive. It is important not to use too much glue, as this may cause the paper to become wet and sticky.
Part 4 Creating the Shadow Box Display
1. When it comes to attaching the objects to the backing, stick to your design plan. It’s probably a good idea to make small markers to help you remember where each item was supposed to be placed. Items can be attached using either glue or pins.
2. Attach your objects to the backing with double-sided tape. In the event that you’re using glue, make sure to allow the glue to dry before reattaching the backing to the frame. To secure your items to the backing paper, you may want to add a thin sheet of foam to the backing paper before glueing it in place. This will ensure that the pins have something to stick into.
3. Labels, decorative items, and border lace/ribbon can be added if desired. This is completely optional, but it may go well with the overall theme of your shadow box. Make an effort to enjoy yourself. You want the shadowbox to be visually appealing, and this is your opportunity to incorporate any additional embellishments.
Part 5 Fitting the Backing Into the Shadow Box
1. In the frame, place the backing on top of it. Carefully insert the backing into the frame using your fingers. Rest it on the balsa wood pieces that have already been attached. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure that it sits flat.
2. Attach the backing to the frame with a strong grip. Make use of a strong tape, such as framer’s tape, brown packing tape, or duct tape, to hold your project together. The tape must be strong enough to hold the frame in place for an extended period of time. Put just enough on to keep it sturdy without detracting from the overall appearance of the shadowbox.
3. Suspend your shadowbox from the ceiling. Remember that if you intend to hang your shadowbox, you may need to attach a hanging device at this point, unless one has already been installed previously. Put a nail or a hanging pin into the wall to hold the picture. If there is a section of the frame that is hanging open as a result of the removal of clips or holders, tape that section closed as well.
4. Take pleasure in your shadowbox. Following the placement of your shadowbox in its designated display area, you can take a step back and take pleasure in your accomplishment. Depending on the type of frame you use, you can hang, lean, or stand the frame up to display it.
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