The Making of a Great Shadowbox

The making of a great shadowbox is the combination of specific objects that have meaning for you, the right arrangement of them, a great design, quality materials and proper execution.

It’s way more than just slapping some things in a box and hanging it on the wall.

We just finished a great example of taking everyday objects, putting them together artfully and making a truly unique lasting keepsake.

Our client had some mementos from a recent weekend trip to Boston that celebrated his girlfriend’s birthday that he wanted to bring together in a shadowbox to give to her for her actual birthday.

He thought about doing it himself, luckily he brought it all to us instead! (:

He had tickets for a hockey game, a football game, their hotel keys, a napkin from a restaurant amoung a few other things…. and 3 photographs (for purposes of this blog they have been photoshopped) from the weekend.

Together we laid out what he had and figured out the general lay-out and style.  For this sports inspired project, we chose a turf-like green fabric mat.

When he mentioned a love for industrial looking things, I brought out Larson Juhl’s new Anvil line... more specifically their deep aged steel moulding that looks like old railway rails.  (The line also has a moulding inspired by rebar!)

boston shadowbox lay-out

Objects that are going to make up our Boston shadowbox in their general placement. The mat and frame sample are at the bottom

As everything was an object to be mounted on top of the matboard –except for the 3 photographs– I suggested that instead of cutting openings in the mat for them and having them be below everything else,  that we instead treat them as objects too.

In order to do this, I dry mounted the photographs (and the paper tickets and the hotel emblem as well) onto fallouts of 8 ply chestnut matting to give them a nice bevel around them and some height.

Everything was then arranged on the matboard and mounted:

Boston shadowbox mounted


After cutting and joining of the frame, inserting the Museum glass and shadowboxing the edges the above then became this:

Boston Shadowbox

Finished artwork ready for presenting to the birthday girl!


Interested in the “Industrial Chic” Anvil line of picture frame moulding?