How to Fill a Shadow Box Display Case

Written by ashley kurz
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How to Fill a Shadow Box Display Case
Shadow box frames have depth, where traditional photo frames are flat. (plastic frame image by Ivan ivashin from

A shadow box display case is a way to exhibit 3-D art on your wall. Shadow boxes to display three copies of the same print were first used during the 19th Century. Eventually the technique evolved into placing real items into the boxes to display groupings of pieces that complement each other or follow a theme. You can purchase shadow boxes online or at most craft stores.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Shadow box display
  • Screwdriver
  • Measuring tape
  • Decorative paper
  • Scissors
  • Spray adhesive
  • Hot glue gun
  • Assorted decorative items

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  1. 1

    Remove the back of the shadow box. Depending on the type of box you have, you might need a screwdriver to remove the back.

  2. 2

    Measure the back board of the shadow box with a tape measure.

  3. 3

    Cut a sheet of decorative paper with scissors to fit the measurements of the back board. Choose a paper that complements the style of your room and the items you intend to add to your shadow box. You can forego decorating the back board if you like the way it looks.

  4. 4

    Spray the interior side of the board with adhesive spray and press the paper in place over it. Allow the adhesive to dry according to the package instructions.

  5. 5

    Set your hot glue gun to medium heat and allow it to warm up.

  6. 6

    Choose flat items such as photos, paper prayer cards, and printed poetry or drawings to place on the back board of the frame. Glue them in place with your adhesive spray, the same way you did with the decorative paper.

  7. 7

    Choose solid objects such as doll house furniture, silk florals or any type of solid memorabilia for the next layer of the shadow box. Glue the objects to the inside of the bottom of the frame itself, as if it were a shelf. Allow the glue to dry for about 10 minutes and replace the back board.

Tips and warnings

  • Use shadow boxes as miniature time capsules to represent special events or periods of your life.

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