4 Shadow Box Ideas That Will Help You Artfully Display Your Prized Possessions

Use these crafts to showcase everything from family heirlooms to your favorite pieces of jewelry.

hanging wall decorations heirlooms in shadow boxes
Photo: Johnny Fogg

When you think about saving your most cherished items, from trip keepsakes to family heirlooms, your first instinct might be to tuck them away in storage for protection. But we'd argue that they deserve a spotlight in your home—especially since you don't have to sacrifice their safety to display them. The best way to preserve their quality and make them décor focal points is by tucking them into shadow boxes. These are handmade display cases (like ones you would see in a museum!) that allow you to clearly see each item.

There are so many ways to make a shadow box, but here are four of our favorite ideas to spark your own.

Family Heirloom Display Boxes

Anything that holds sentimental value to you is an heirloom—which means everything from vintage notebooks and cookbooks to brooms and spoons are fair game for the above project. Place and secure these cherished items into cereal box display cubes (backed with a mat board for easy mounting) and hang them on your walls to make them a focal point in your home. Keep the boxes away from heat, humidity, sunlight, and pollution to extend the life of their contents.

open memory keeping box
Aaron Dyer

Map-Lined Shadow Box

When you travel, hold onto the ticket stubs, seashells, and tiny souvenirs you accumulate on your trip—and when you're back home, place them into gold-rimmed glass box. If you want to more artfully display your treasures, line the bottom with a map of your destination and arrange the collected items on top. Place this shadow box on your coffee table, so it can serve as a welcome reminder of your epic vacation.

Shadow Box Jewelry Organizer

Jewelry Shadow Box

Some accessories are just too pretty to put away at the end of the day. But with a jewelry holder display case, which you can make using a basic shadow box, you'll be able to admire your favorite necklaces and earrings even when you're not wearing them. Plus, you'll have less clutter and keep everything within reach.

Shop for a shadow box with hanging hardware mounted on the back. From there, add hooks to the inside of the box and follow these steps to finish the craft:

  1. Remove the glass from the shadow box.
  2. Cut a wallpaper remnant to fit the back of the box and adhere with glue.
  3. Create a layout of hooks. Drill holes for screw hooks in the backing. Insert hooks.
  4. Hang shadow box on the wall using attached hardware.
Tara Donne

Heart-Framed Shadow Box

Looking for a fun way to display the creations your little ones bring home from school? Think beyond the fridge and try this craft, which transforms a simple frame into a shadow box with a bit of craft paint. The painted glass gives your mini Monet's artwork more dimension and helps it stand out in a sea of family photos.

Follow these steps to make this heart-framed shadow box:

  1. Carefully remove glass pane from the picture frame.
  2. Using scissors, cut a simple heart template out of paper.
  3. Center the heart template on the glass pane, and start tracing the outer edges of the heart with a large brush and craft paint.
  4. Continue to fill in the first layer from the heart outline, out toward the edges of the glass pane; let dry.
  5. Apply a second coat of paint. If needed, apply a third coat until you end up with an opaque shadow box, allowing the layers to completely dry in between.
  6. Let the painted glass cure for as long as possible. Then, use this to frame kids' artwork.
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