Put Precious Keepsakes On Display In A Shadow Box

Whether you’re displaying a couple of memorable photographs, meaningful items, or keepsakes from a significant memory, a shadow box can be a creative and beautiful way to show them.

But where to begin?

Whether you’re a true DIY crafter or looking for an off-the-shelf item to personalize, shadow boxes can be as simple or unique as you make them.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Gather your Mementoes

What are you framing? The silverware and menu from a first date? Baby’s rattle and first pair of shoes? Grandma’s quilt squares? Tickets from your favorite concert?

Do you see where we’re going here? Just about any precious item can be displayed in a shadow box.

Start with the frame

Now that you have your items, you have a good idea of the size and shape of the box you’ll need. For maximum impact, don’t crowd your things. Give them space to be interesting on their own.

Often you can repurpose old picture frames into shadow boxes. If you need a unique size or shape, construct your frame from scrap wood and a bit of hardware, then decorate to your tastes.

And there’s nothing wrong with a ready-made box from the frame shop or craft store.

How will you embellish?

This is where you can get even more creative. Explore the scrapbooking aisle for interesting embellishments, background paper, fun little items, and other things you can include in your shadow box.

Or embellish with items you have around the house. Trinkets, buttons, broken jewelry pieces, and more all make great additions. And don’t forget that because your frame has depth, you can use the inside edge to display items, too.

Add some photos, too!

A shadow box is also great for photos. Mat them with colorful paper and use a spacer to give them depth.

Include an interesting background

As we mentioned before, the scrapbooking aisle is full of excellent and exciting papers you can use as a background. But don’t stop there! How about a map? A newspaper? Pages from a book or magazine?

And don’t forget the glass!

Do you have (or know a friend who has) one of those vinyl lettering machines? Consider embellishing the glass of your frame with a significant date or phrase. You can also use markers designed for use on glass to write it yourself.

Get ready to assemble

Now comes the fun part! Arrange the elements of your shadow box to create a pleasing layout. Add or subtract items as you see fit. When you’re satisfied, snap a quick photo for reference.


Using craft glue, glue dots, or hot glue, carefully assembly your shadowbox, referring back to your photo. Work slowly and neatly, and occasionally hold the box vertically to ensure everything is staying in place.

Display it!

Hang it on a wall or stand it on a shelf or piece of furniture. It’s totally up to you!

One more thing…

Shadow boxes make thoughtful gifts. They show that special someone that you care about their precious memories as much as they do.