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Making Shadow Boxes and Frames

Ujwal Deshmukh
Achievements, medals, awards and trophies are something that one feels proud of. Displaying these valuables in a shadow box preserves them for a long time.
Shadow boxes can be described as enclosed cases to preserve objects or articles and are designed in such a way that they allow light to pass through it only in one particular direction.
This is done in order to prevent articles from getting damaged due to light. Military personnel are the ones to whom shadow box frames are usually presented on retirement.
These boxes display the person's achievements, medals, etc. earned by him during his career. Their frames can be made at home too. Are you curious to know how to build a shadow box and frame? Well, making them is not at all a difficult task. With the right measurements and tools ready at hand, you can easily build one yourself.

Material Required

For making shadow boxes, you would require two pieces of pine wood, paint, plywood, screwdriver, screws and a saw in order to cut the wood.


  • The first step is to determine the length and the width of your box frame.
  • On determining the width of the frame, you can now go on to cut the pieces which would form the upper and the bottom part of your box frame.
  • You also need to consider the depth of the shadow box. You can ideally choose a 1:4 or a 1:6 piece of pine wood. This size however would depend upon the depth you plan to keep, in order to further convert it into a box.
  • The next step is to cut the two pieces to form the side portions. The length of the wood pieces would be the height of your shadow box frame, so you need to cut it accordingly.
  • Further, in order to build the rear portion of the frame, cut a piece of plywood, the length of which should be equal to the height of the frame and attach it by fixing screws to it.
  • Now fix the side portions of the frame to the upper and the bottom parts of the box.
  • All the pieces of wood need to be even in shape and size. If some unevenness is found, trim the piece to bring it in shape.
  • The next step is to paint the frame with a color of your choice and your shadow box frame is ready.
  • Now, the next step is to make a box out of the frame. This is very simple, as you have already given some depth to your frame so as to keep your articles in it. Therefore now, you just need to build compartments inside the shadow box frame. For this, you can cut smaller pieces of wood and attach it inside the frame and your shadow box is ready.
  • Attach the box to the wall in such a way that the anchor would hold the box firmly. If you don't wish to hang it on a wall, you can place it at a location which makes the shadow box visible to everyone. Here, care should be taken that the box is kept at a location which is beyond the reach of children as the box is made out of wood and is heavy.
Shadow boxes and frames are popular in the United States and there are many dealers in the business of constructing and selling them. Normally, shadow boxes would cost you around a few dollars to a few hundred dollars! Another option to shadow boxes is the uniform display case which is used to display the whole military uniform with the insignia.
Shadow boxes and frames can be made out of wood or even from colored paper; it serves as an innovative substitute to greeting cards and other gift ideas. They will serve as the means to cherish the achievements in his career and relive the precious moments of his yesteryears.