Heirloom Shadowboxes

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 104 Posts

Here's a way to get your family mementos out of old shoe boxes in the attic or jewelry boxes in your dresser drawers and into display boxes where they can be enjoyed every day. Shadow boxes are not so difficult to make and will save you big bucks on the price of buying them ready-made.

Heirloom Shadowbox with an old wathc

Find a picture frame that you like and one that suits the item you want to display. Since I was going to display vintage items, I distressed the frame a bit to match.


Take the back off of the frame and use it to measure width and length that your shadow box will need to be to fit into the frame opening.

You also have to measure the depth of the box based on the size of the item you will be displaying. My parents' watches were fairly flat, as was the skeleton key, so the depth of these boxes was only about an inch deep.

I constructed one of the boxes out of balsa wood from the craft store. The other one is made from an old cereal box. The balsa wood is glued together, but the cereal box is only taped, much easier to make and adjust size if you need to.

Decide on a covering for the box. Nice craft paper cut to size or fabric works well. I chose to use fabric because I had the colors I wanted on hand at the time. I used craft glue to attach the fabric to the box.

Heirloom Shadowbox being covered with fabric.

After it was completely dry, I attached my display items into the box with sharp needle and thread or fishing line if you don't want it to be seen easily. Then fitted the box into the frame opening using some hot glue to hold it in place. If you measured well, you won't need much glue; the box will be snug.


Now it's ready for the wall.

Heirloom Shadowbox with a skeleton key.

By ~gloria from upstate NY

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April 5, 20120 found this helpful

June, this is such a great idea. Thanks for sharing it!


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 104 Posts
April 6, 20120 found this helpful

My pleasure. Thanks for your kind words.
I'm working on another one. I have some other small items that I need to bring out of storage and enjoy.


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