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Project

Souvenir Box

Gathering and displaying a few treasured things from a trip to France and a vacation in Italy recall the exciting days spent traveling.

Introduction

Why hide mementos between the pages of a scrapbook when you can exhibit them as art? Collect souvenir trinkets, seashells, rocks, postcards, or leaves while on holiday, and then use them to create a three-dimensional display that you can enjoy every day.

The best approach to making a shadow box is to view the world as a child would. Pick up a shiny pebble that catches your eye. Save that concert- or train-ticket stub. If you like the way a foreign coin looks, slip it into your pocket, and keep it for your shadow box. Even a road map, a book of matches, or a subway token will do. A shadow box can present items that you've collected during a trip abroad or those you've discovered while walking along a beach or hiking a challenging woodland trail. Almost anything can be included, but be sure to check local regulations if you want to gather natural items, such as fossils, feathers, or plants.

To begin, you'll need a shadow box. You can make one, buy one, or adapt a picture frame or a plain cardboard box for this purpose. The following instructions show you how. Assembling a shadow box is a lovely afternoon activity when you're feeling nostalgic. Each tiny item you place in the box will remind you of those wonderful days spent exploring the world.

Materials

  • Wooden box with sliding lid
  • Glass cut to lid size
  • Utility knife
  • Balsa wood
  • Small paintbrushes
  • Wood glue
  • Fluid acrylic paint
  • Craft glue, museum wax, or pins
  • Materials tip: To exhibit keepsakes that are best displayed standing up rather than mounted, begin with a wooden box that has a sliding lid. Replace the lid with glass (cut to size by a framer).

Steps

  1. Step 1

    To make a shelf, use a utility knife to cut balsa wood the length you'd like shelf to be and slightly less deep than the box (so it won't touch the glass). Brush edges that will touch box with wood glue, and position in box. Let dry.

  2. Step 2

    ft_aug04msl08.jpg

    Paint exterior and border of box. Let dry according to instructions. Paint inside of box a lighter color. Let dry.

  3. Step 3

    Stand box on its end; glue, wax, or pin mementos inside. Slide in glass lid.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, August 2004

Reviews (13)

  • elaynemay 4 Jul, 2009

    Pottery Barn has carried some very nice shadow boxes with front glass panels that swing open on hinges which allow one to pull out objects to hold

  • mundillo 2 Jul, 2009

    The way you could use your frame is to make a simple box with the dimensions of the back of the frame. If you place small hinges on onside you can then open your shadowbox, to latch it shut you can use a clasp that looks like a question mark. These hinges and clasp can be purchased at any hobby shop. Sometimes these are used as purse closures.

  • craftianna 21 Aug, 2008

    I have a really nice, old picture frame that I would like to turn into a shadow box.
    How do I go about doing this with a regular frame that has no backing or depth
    to it?

  • craftianna 21 Aug, 2008

    I have a really nice, old picture frame that I would like to turn into a shadow box.
    How do I go about doing this with a regular frame that has no backing or depth
    to it?

  • ejkaster 12 Aug, 2008

    If you search ikea, they are under display box. However, I can only find one size 5x7.
    Also, try http://www.craftsetc.com/
    I can't wait to try this!

  • ejkaster 12 Aug, 2008

    If you search ikea, they are under display box. However, I can only find one size 5x7.
    Also, try http://www.craftsetc.com/
    I can't wait to try this!

  • liisamarja 10 Jan, 2008

    i've made 2 boxes for my niece of ours trips to london and nyc. london box has a red double decker driving around on the bottom, nyc has, naturally, miniture statue of liberty on a tiny shelf. walls of both boxes are covered wallpaper style with maps, ticket stubs and pics of my niece in either town, she loves them and proundly keeps them for her friends to see. ikea in finland no longer has shadow boxes so i made a box out of 6mm birch plywood, easy as baking a cake!

  • alltheseasons 4 Jan, 2008

    i just love these shadow boxes they are very very artistic i just have to make one

  • annrishell 4 Jan, 2008

    You can find shadow boxes of varying sizes at Ikea. they are wooden and easily painted. You might also try Michaels or JoAnns in the framing section.

  • michelleseith 2 Jan, 2008

    Where do you find a wooden box with a sliding lid? I am havign a hard time locating one.

  • Whirlygal 2 Dec, 2007

    This is a great idea, I will have to put all of my Italy things together and try it.

  • kristinowen 13 Nov, 2007

    i would like to try this sometime

  • kristinowen 13 Nov, 2007

    i would like to try this sometime