How to Construct a Standard Mineral Display Case

Written by sheharyar khan
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How to Construct a Standard Mineral Display Case
Display your mineral collection by making a mineral box. (mineral image by Marek Kosmal from

Mineral display cases are not just needed to showcase mineral collections, they are essential in the appropriate maintenance of gems and stones. These cases protect the rocks from environmental factors such as heat or acidity. They also facilitate easy labelling of the rocks which can otherwise be easily confused. A standard case is made out of a simple wooden box with frames for each rock. This project is an aesthetic as well as practical necessity for any mineral-collector.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Prefabricated wooden shadow box
  • Scissors
  • Styrofoam sheets
  • Felt fabric
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Plexiglas
  • Sandpaper
  • Table saw
  • Power drill
  • Goggles
  • Hasp hardware
  • Hinges
  • Screws
  • Tape/glue
  • Label card

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  1. 1

    Buy a prefabricated wooden shadow box that is large enough to accommodate your minerals. These boxes are divided into rectangular frames that will serve as openings for the rocks. Make sure a single mineral easily fits into an opening. Apart from the length and width of each frame, notice the depth too since the mineral should not be placed too deep within the box nor should it be protruding out.

  2. 2

    Measure the dimensions of the different frames using a ruler and cut these out from the styrofoam sheets and felt fabric. Within each opening place the styrofoam sheet first, followed by the felt fabric. Push these down into the frame and remove any bumps. You may vary the colour of the fabric depending on the colour of the mineral. Dark-coloured rocks should be contrasted with lighter coloured fabric whereas light-coloured rocks will be more prominent on darker shades of fabric. If the frame is too deep, stack a few layers of styrofoam under the fabric to obtain the desired height.

  3. 3

    Make a lid for the display case using a sheet of Plexiglas. Measure the required dimensions of the lid with a pencil and a ruler. Using table saw, cut the Plexiglas to the appropriate measurement. Sand the edges using sandpaper. Drill holes into the Plexiglas for hinges and safety hasp using a power drill. Using screws attach the hinges and hasp onto the shadowbox and Plexiglas thereby making a lid for the case.

  4. 4

    Finally label each of your mineral. You can write/print the details onto a card and stick it to the cushioning felt fabric using glue. Another more prominent way of labelling would be to stick the back of the label card to a slightly larger piece of tape and then attaching this piece onto the lid right above the respective frame. Make sure the card is not too large as it will block the rock itself.

Tips and warnings

  • Try to use a plain shadow box so that the minerals get the most attention, not the case.
  • Wear goggles while cutting and drilling the Plexiglas.

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