Useful Shadow Box Information

What is a Shadow Box?

Simply put, a shadow box is similar to a picture frame but has a deeper frame to hold and display collectables, memories and décor. A shadowbox is appropriate for displaying three-dimensional objects, whereas a picture frame can only hold a flat picture. Frames can be made of wood or other materials. Some shadow boxes have shelves or grid inserts for holding and separating multiple objects; some have one large open area. Shadowboxes are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and configurations, depending on what you want to display.

How to Use a Shadow Box

Protect and Display your Treasured Collectables

Military Shadow BoxWhen buying a shadowbox, look for one that comes with a Velcro-friendly backing material and a sticky-back Velcro strip for attaching the objects to be displayed. Simply cut a small piece of the Velcro strip. Using the sticky side, attach it to the object to be displayed. Now, you can place the object anywhere on the Velcro backer board. You can arrange and re-arrange with ease. Make a collage, and then create a new arrangement as you add more items.

Most ready-made military shadow boxes have the Velcro backing. With some military shadow boxes you can order the Velcro backing in a color of choice. The Marine Corps shadow box will use a red backing while the Navy and Air Force shadow boxes will use a blue backing. The Army shadow box will use a black backing. You don't need to use the designated military color -- basic black works well in all shadow boxes. Active and retired military personnel create a large demand for the military shadow box and flag cases.

Certificate and Flag Display Cases with Oak or Walnut FrameThe flag case is a shadow box too. The flag case is used to house the Capitol flag (3' x 5') or the standard 5' x 9 1/2' burial flag also know as a casket flag. Flag cases are made for the size of flag you are displaying. The best flag cases are made of hardwood and have a quality furniture finish. Some flag cases are combination flag case and display case. Pedestals are also available to hold the military flag case. Some flag case pedestals also serve as urns.

Avoid plastic and other inexpensive cases found in craft stores. Although we have nothing against craft stores, with us it's a moral issue. A flag case usually holds the burial flag of a deceased veteran. Housing the American Flag in a flag case made in a communist country is not the best way to honor a Veteran. It is our opinion that a Veteran should be honored with a quality flag case hand-made in America by skilled craftsmen.

Other Types Of Shadowboxes

Shadow Box with 22 OpeningsShadow boxes are an ideal way to display collectables. Some have an open front with shelves or grids, some have acrylic or glass swing doors while others have sliding glass fronts. Some people prefer the open front for showing knick-knacks and small-framed pictures, while others prefer a sliding glass front which better protects the items and eliminates most dust. We prefer the swing door and sliding glass fronts. Shadow boxes with a grid insert work well for displaying small items, for example, for thimble or shot glass collections. These displays come in various configurations. Shot glass displays have become very popular over the past several years. In one case we heard that a bride and groom gave a shot glass display as a gift to their entire wedding party. If you have a number of shot glasses around the house that are full of (empty?) memories, you may want to display them in a shot glass display case.

Some shadow box displays are referred to as memory showcases. These shadow boxes should have sliding glass fronts and, like the military shadow boxes, will have a Velcro-covered back board to display some of your precious memories. Memory showcases are ideal for baby memories, invitations, child and adult handy crafts, scouting memories, collections such as pins, badges, patches and awards.

How to Make Your Own Shadow Box

If you're good at woodworking you may want to search the Internet for shadow box plans. Keep in mind a shadow box is simply a deep frame. A rectangle or square 5-sided box can be made with average skills. Most shadow boxes are 3 inches or less inside depth.

If you really want to have some fun, try using unusual items perhaps found around the house to make folksy-type shadow boxes. No glass needed here -- just some imagination. Try using a basket with a piece of foam core board to line the inside bottom. You will mount the bottom of the basket against wall. The foam core will be the back of shadow box. You can decorate it with with felt, craft paper or sandpaper, Velcro material, wallpaper, scrapbook paper etc. To this you can add dried flowers, pictures, etc. Simply place your treasures in the basket and hang.

You can also make shadow boxes using metal trays, CD holders, drawers with dividers (which will serve as shelves) and cutlery drawers. Cutlery drawers will make a shot glass display or bottle display. If you want details about making your own simple shadow box, see the article How to Make a Shadow Box.

Ready-Made Shadow Boxes

If time is not on your side and you need a ready-made display case for your treasured collectables right now, check out the following ways to display:

Riker Mount display cases.
Plastic display cases
Acrylic display cases
Glass display domes
Utility display stands
Miniature easels
Platter hangers and display stands
Doll stands
Display cases


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