Shadowboxes are a type of frame that can be used to display more than just one image. If you are wondering how to make shadow boxes, the process is quite simple and there are several ways that these warm home decor items can be customized to meet your personal design style.
To build a shadow box from scratch, you need some glue, plywood and a picture frame. This is a great way to cycle up an old frame or breathe new life into a shiny corner of your home.
Step 1 – Measure twice, cut once
To start your shadow box, measure the inner edge of your frame and your outer edge. If you work with an eight by ten frame, the inside would be eight and ten, but the outside could be ten to twelve. You create a plywood box that is larger than the inner measurement but smaller than the outer measurement. So for example, in the eight to ten frame scenario, you want to create an eight and a half out of ten and a half inch plywood. You can be as prepared as you want with several layers and levels.
The depth of the drawer will be determined by the depth of the plywood. We recommend that you make a box that is about three to four inches deep. The deeper your box, the more likely you are to visually lose objects in it. Three to four inches is a good middle ground, but you can certainly go smaller for a small frame and larger for a large frame.
Once you have measured, you can cut your four pieces of plywood to the right size, so that you can trust the edges of the pieces can be glued together in a nice box.
Wine boxes are a good source of material for this type of project. In fact, many of them are quite sufficient to be viewing booths on their own.
Step 2 – Glue, glue, glue
Glue your plywood box together with wood glue and let it dry. Then glue the back of your shade box to one side of the wood structure. You can use the back of the frame or a suitable size plywood.
Remember that people will be able to see this back piece, so we recommend that you paint it to match the frame or a nice neutral color that will not fight for attention with the objects you will place inside.
You can paint your pieces of wood or leave them plywood, but people can also see these side pieces from certain angles.
After pasting your box, remove the glass from the frame and glue the frame to the box. Wait until everything dries before placing objects in the frame.
Step 3 – Press time
Once your frame is assembled, give it a go. Make sure everything you can see is sanded, painted or primed. If you need to repaint or touch something, it’s time to do it.
If you need to install a bracket to hang the shadow box, install it now. If you do not want to use a hanging console to install your shadow box, you can use a picture frame command strip.
How to design a Shadowbox
Collect everything you might want to put in your shadow box. If you make shadow boxes to commemorate travel or special life events, place each object, image and memorial on the floor so you can see all your options in one place. Place the tallest and largest objects on the back of the frame and place the smaller, more indistinctly shaped objects on top. You can fill in the boxes or leave them relatively empty – the choice is yours.
Some design rules that can help you take your box from bla to ta-dah involve using groups of three and using objects of similar material in your box. However, the rules are made to be broken, so go with your gut when it comes to what looks good.
Add your shadow box to a collage wall in other homemade frames to complete your home decor on a budget.