How to Make a Shadow Box Out of a Shoebox

Written by rebekah martin
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A shadow box is a type of frame used to display items such as coins, medals, jewellery or other keepsakes. Shadow boxes are often linked with dioramas, in which a scene is created by placing small objects in front of a decorative background or painting. You can create themed shadow boxes, using items from a school year, a wedding or even a party, or make shadow boxes for friends by including pictures or items that remind you of them.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Shoebox
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue or hot glue gun
  • Paper
  • Figures, coins, knick-knacks, etc.

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  1. 1

    Make sure your shoebox is sturdy. Tape up the sides and corners if necessary. Most shadow boxes are fairly shallow, so trim the box as needed so the sides are no taller than 4 inches.

  2. 2

    Cut decorative paper to fit all the sides and back of the inside of the box. Use wrapping paper, construction paper or any special papers that you want to include, such as a program, sheet of music or photos.

  3. 3

    Place the shoebox on its side, either horizontally or vertically, depending on what will be displayed in it. Have the open side face you.

  4. 4

    Glue the paper to the inside of the box. Cut additional paper and glue it to fit the outside of the box.

  5. 5

    Place your items in the box. Lay the box down, open side up, to glue items to the back wall of the shadow box. Arrange items so they can be seen clearly. Place larger items in the back and smaller items closer to the front of the box. Hang beads or strands of items from the top of the box for a distinctive look. Use craft glue or a hot glue gun to adhere items, but ensure that the hot glue gun will not melt or ruin any items.

  6. 6

    Step back and ensure that all the items can be seen.

  7. 7

    Place the shadow box on a table or shelf at a level where it can be seen easily, but not knocked off.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure the items you place in your shoebox are not too heavy for the box to support them.

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