It’s art. It’s history. Shadowboxes show off memories and mementos all
Janelle Smith with 7 Gypsies shows the choices for shadowboxes are
exploding, and how to style one of your own.
They are specially designed to let light pass through one angle, so objects
inside are protected from light damage.
Meaningful objects can be preserved in shadow boxes such as: personal
items, family relics, one of kind items, items that are dimensional and of
course photographs. Going beyond the preservation aspect, shadowboxes
are used for documentation, to tell a story. You can create collages or
‘scenes’ with papers, photos and objects to illustrate your story.
Whether you want to preserve a memory or display a special day there are
many different styles that can be used. The most basic style of shadowbox
is a simple frame with a recessed back and a glass covering.
Because this is such a fun and meaningful way of displaying memories, we
are seeing new styles emerge. A more modern or casual interpretation of a
shadow box are ones that have multiple sections/openings to add objects
of different sizes. Adding great visual interest but can be a bit more time
consuming to make.
They all look great hanging on a wall, leaning on a shelf, fireplace mantel,
or easel. They become interactive pieces of home décor that contain special
meanings. Shadowboxes can play a homage to the things we find
personally meaningful or have significance in our lives, or connect us to
There really are no rules for putting a shadowbox together. The focus
should be on telling a story/documenting something of importance: a
family vacation, event, family history, etc.
Take advantage of the “box” by layering flat backgrounds/photos and add
dimensional objects. Keep this in mind with you purchase a shadowbox –
pay attention to how deep it is.
For shadowboxes that can be changed or repurposed use a semi-
permanent or repositionable roller adhesive for the background.
Permanent roller adhesive works well for most paper backgrounds
For fabrics, cork, metal use mod-podge
Embellishments or dimensional items can be adhered with wet glue like
There are many things that can be used as a background:
Pages from a book
hardware: screw posts, upholstery tacks
specialty: decorative corners, loops, studs
found items: keys, bottles, pressed flowers, hospital ID bracelets
Janelle presented how to make a mini shadowbox. It is a great starter
option for shadowboxing. It’s small, simple and doesn’t take a whole lot to
complete it. It also makes a wonderful handmade gift great for the
holidays! Think grandparents, friends, sisters, teachers, wedding, baby….
wallet sized photos
2×2 paper squares
7 Gypsies is a memory, scrapbooking, and journaling company. Their
products are sold at crafting stores all around the state as well as online.
You can find a specific store close to you through the store locator on their