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What is a Shadow Box Picture Frame?

A decorative table setup with potted plants and a shadow box picture frame.

Home decor is back in a big way. Instagram feeds are filled with ideas on how to bring your space to the next level. Influencers’ feeds show ideas from “how to make a small space look bigger” to “how to decorate your gallery wall in a new way.” However, home decor is not exactly a new topic. Various ideas for home decor have always been around, but fun and modern ways have made headlines, especially in the last several years.

Picture frames are items in homes that can seem simple or extravagant. Wall decor can be overlooked when first looking at picture items to add to your space. However, new and contemporary frame options can bring your home to the next level in terms of decor.

Shadowbox picture frames are a hot ticket item that allows you to display various things inside of them. By definition, a shadow box frame is a case with a glass front that can be used for displaying items such as jewelry, coins, or other small items.

Related: Floating Frames | Types of Picture Frames | Picture Frame Alternatives | Art Alternatives for Wall Decors

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What Is A Shadow Box Picture Frame?

A shadow box is a glass-front case where you can store items (usually of some sort of significance). They are a great way to make things you already have in your home look more interesting. For example, if you have any type of family memorabilia, decorative spoons, or jewelry, a shadow box is a fun way to display them. Some people even group several shadow boxes together to make a gallery wall with some dimension.


Shadow Boxes are great options for people who have a lot of memorabilia they might want to display in their homes. For example, veterans might want to display certificates and medals in shadow boxes to show visitors their time in service.

Many people use shadow boxes from items such as ribbons, family heirlooms, and also nick nacks from their children or grandchildren. If you are someone who wants to add dimension to your home decor and have memories on your walls, shadow boxes could be a good fit.


Shadow boxes take up a decent amount of space. Due to the purpose of shadow boxes, they need to come out quite a bit off the wall. This can make small spaces look even smaller due to their bulkiness. If you live in an apartment or do not have a lot of wall space you might want to steer clear.

Where To Buy A Shadow Box Frame

A decorative home office setup with a shadow box picture frame.

Shadowbox picture frames can be found at most retailers and craft stores. Some stores, like Hobby Lobby, even allows you to make your own shadow box frames. You can pick out all the materials and sizes which makes your piece perfectly customized to your taste.

  1. Gray Belmont Shadow Box By Studio Décor® — Michaels
  2. Display Case Cabinet Shadow Box for Military Medals, Pins, Patches, Insignia, Ribbons — Walmart
  3. Americanflat Shadow Box Frame Made With MDF & Shatter Resistant Glass for Wall and Tabletop Display — Target
  4. White Wood Shallow Shadow Box – 11″ x 14″ — Hobby Lobby
  5. NIKOC Rustic White Shadow Box Display Case 11 X 14 Inch Wood Shadow Box Picture Frame with Linen Back — Amazon
  6. Oakhaven Shadow Box Linen Display Area Picture Frame — Wayfair

However, this option can be slightly pricey. If you are looking for a less expensive option, making your own shadow box frame is fairly simple.

How To Make Your Own Shadow Box

Things You’ll Need

  • Wide Edge Picture Frame
  • Four 1×3’ lumber pieces
  • Craft board (larger than the frame)
  • Hinges
  • Screws
  • Craft paper
  • Craft glue
  • Wood glue
  • Constructive adhesive
  • Tape Measure
  • Nail Gun
  • Drill
  • Chop Saw

Step 1

Gather your supplies.

Step 2

Decide what you want to put inside your shadow box. You should make sure all the items you have chosen will fit within the frame.

Step 3

Arrange your items on your sheet of construction paper. Playing around with the design ahead of time can save you stress later on.

Step 4

Remove any backing the picture frame came with. Next, use the constructive adhesive to glue the glass to the frame. This will keep the glass from moving or falling out.

Step 5

Measure and cut your wood. Depending on the size of your picture frame you may need to cut the wood.

A decorative playroom setup with wooden elements as well as a shadow box picture frame.

Step 6

Apply a small amount of wood glue along the edge of one of the wood pieces. Nail it to one of the other pieces and continue until you create a box shape.

Step 7

Measure and cut a piece of craft board to attach to the box you just created. If desired, glue a piece of craft paper to give the craft board a more finished look. After the paper dries, nail the craft board to the box for security.

Step 8

Attach the frame to box by adding hinges to one side of the frame and one side of the box. Make sure to mark where you are going to put the hinges. Your box should now open and close.

Step 9

Glue items to craft board in order to keep them from moving.

All in all, shadow boxes can be a great fit to anyone’s home. It is a stylish way to add a focal point to any room. The sleek profile will add a touch of contemporary style to items that may have great sentimental value. Made of various woods and even metals, these fun frames can give something that everyone will love.

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