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Quick Project: DIY Shadowboxes

I have a large collection of African art and souvenirs that I pick up at craft fairs. To display these I wanted to make up some shadowboxes. Here's a way to make your own basic shadowboxes.



SupaWood [MDF], plywood strips or 44mm pine for the sides of the box

Hardboard, evowood, 3mm supawood or plywood strips (30mm wide) for the front frame

Hardboard or evowood board for the backing

Rust-Oleum Chalked Ultra Matte paint and paintbrush

Bosch Tacker

Wood glue

Glass pins or thin wood to support the glass

4mm glass cut to fit

Tape measure and pencil

You can buy everything you need for this project at Builders Warehouse, and have glass cut to size at most stores.



1. Cut the strips for the box sides to the required length. The ones for the shadowbox shown here are 210mm x 170mm, but you can make your shadowbox any size you want. Use wood glue to make the box, clamp if you can, and leave overnight.

2. Cut the backing board to fit and staple in place with the Bosch Tacker. If you often do projects that require stapling, the Bosch Tacker is definitely a tool to consider. It doesn't require a lot of pressure to operate, so there is less strain on your hand.

3. Sand the box frames before painting. I used Rust-Oleum Chalked ultra matte paint for the shadowboxes. This chalk paint finish gives a luxurious, ultra matt finish and dries fast. You will need to apply 2 coats. Find the full range of Rust-Oleum products at Builders. You also need to paint the 3mm frames that will go on last, after fitting the glass.

4. To hold the glass in place, I mounted glass pins around the inside edge, 4mm from the top. These glass clips came as part of my picture framing kit, so if you don't have any of these you can substitute with small panel pins, or glue a small ledge inside the frame to support the glass.

5. Before fitting the glass, stick down the artwork or collectible you want to display. I used Prestik and hot glue to secure the pieces.

6. Now you can glue down the frames around the edge. These hide the glass support pins and any gap around the edge of the glass. After applying a thin bead of glue around the edge, press down firmly and let the glue dry.


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