How to mount miniature medals

Written by louise harding
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How to mount miniature medals
Full-sized medals are mounted differently than miniature medals. (Campaign Medals image by Peter Jarvis from

Miniature medals, according to the ACU Army website, are intended as replicas of full-size medals. Worn for formal occasions, miniature medals are half the size of their full-size counterparts. The branch of the military for which the medal was awarded regulates the mounting of medals. Countries have different regulations on the order of mounted miniature medals. Consult with the country and military branch to determine the arrangement of miniature medals. Miniature medals can be swing-mounted, which means medals are on a mounting bar, also called a ribbon mount; or mounted for display in a shadow box.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Mounting bar (also called ribbon mount)
  • Medals with ribbons
  • Shadow box
  • Black-velvet-covered sponge
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive gel circle

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  1. 1

    Twist the clutch backs onto the mounting bar pins if the backs have been removed from the mounting bar. Mounting bars have one or two clutch back pins on the back of the bar. If you try to mount your miniature medals on a bar with uncovered pins, the pins can snag the ribbons, also called ribands, of the medals. According to ACU Army, full-size medals are designed with a pin attached to the medal, but miniature medals have to be affixed to mounting bars. Mounting bars are available to hold from one to 12 miniature medals.

  2. 2

    Consult the appropriate country and/or military branch to determine the order and arrangement of the miniature medals you are mounting. United States military branches for which miniature medals are awarded are: Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy and the Coast Guard. Handbooks are available from the appropriate military branch.

  3. 3

    Slide the ribbon loop over the mounting bar in the order dictated by the regulations of the country and military branch that awarded the miniature medal. According to Heritage Medals, mounting miniature medals is referred to as swing mounting because the individual medals are slid onto the mounting bar and swing from the bar.

  4. 4

    Twist the clutch back from the mounting bar pins and insert the pins through the cloth of the uniform. Attach the clutch backs over the pins over the interior uniform cloth by reaching inside the uniform. According to Heritage Medals, you should never wear medals on non-regulation uniforms because the fabric might rip under the weight of the bar and medals.

  1. 1

    Disassemble the shadow box according to the box's design.

  2. 2

    Measure and cut the black-velvet-covered sponge to fit inside the shadow box. According to Precision Medals, black velvet is the best colour choice to display mounted miniature medals because black reduces shadows and eliminates reflections. Medals and their ribbons stand out vibrantly against black. Black-velvet-lined sponge is available at craft and jewellery supply stores.

  3. 3

    Insert the mounting bar pins through the velvet-lined sponge in the desired position. Twist the clutch backs onto the pins behind the sponge. Velvet-covered sponge intended for jewellery and presentations is firmer and won't sag under the weight of the bar and medals. According to Heritage Medals, always use acid-free supplies and make sure the products state they are colour-fast to avoid fabric bleeding onto the medal ribbons.

  4. 4

    Remove an adhesive gel circle from the protective backing and press it beneath the medal. Press the medal against the velvet-lined sponge. Medals may be allowed to swing unattached, but adhesive circles ensure the medals don't damage the other medals displayed together. Adhesive gel circles are sold under many brand names at craft and hobby stores and are very durable. The gel circles peel away from surfaces without damaging what they've been adhered to.

  5. 5

    Insert the sponge with the mounted miniature medals into the shadow box. Reassemble the shadow box according to the box design.

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