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Fill a Shadow Box with Treasured Mementos

Updated on July 15, 2015

My Awards Displayed in a Shadowbox

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A Shadow Box Makes a Great Gift for Retirement

When I retired, I had time to reflect back on my career. There were awards that I wanted to display and keepsakes too. Some framed certificates could go on my wall and others into scrapbooks. That left memorabilia like pins, badges and similar treasures to figure out.

I didn't want them stuffed forgotten in a drawer. I'd worked long and hard to earn those accolades. A shadow box seemed the perfect solution. I filled mine with those small pieces, grouping them by types. The shadow box looks great surrounded by my other honors on the wall of my home office.

My husband has a similar wall of his achievements on the opposite wall of that room. It's satisfying to look up sometimes and see the photo of me with Laura Bush at the Texas Governor's mansion and next to it, my Paul Harris Fellow award from Rotary. Then I glance at the shiny pins lined up in the shadow box. I even included my long-unseen Sunday School pins and 4-H pins.

Photo Gallery of Things to Place in a Shadow Box

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My brother-in-law's military memories preserved.One of my mother's writing awards.My 4-H ribbons from the county and state fairs.
My brother-in-law's military memories preserved.
My brother-in-law's military memories preserved.
One of my mother's writing awards.
One of my mother's writing awards.
My 4-H ribbons from the county and state fairs.
My 4-H ribbons from the county and state fairs.

It's a Touching Memento for a Grieving Widow

My sister lost her husband a few years ago. Her son-in-law spent hours in his workshop making a shadow box that holds the flag from the funeral. It also had room for Larry's military medals.

It means a lot to her, not just for what it contains, but also for the love that went into creating it.

You can find ready-made flag display boxes. These have space for a folded flag and a place to pin medals.

Tutorial for Making a Military Shadow Box

Mom's "E" pin from Boeing from WWII
Mom's "E" pin from Boeing from WWII | Source
Pins from Mom's time in Kansas Author's Club and other interests of hers.
Pins from Mom's time in Kansas Author's Club and other interests of hers.
These necklaces show Mom and Dad in their retirement years. I had them made at Zazzle.
These necklaces show Mom and Dad in their retirement years. I had them made at Zazzle.

Create a Memory Box as a Tribute to a Loved One

Since I lost my mother in January, I've been thinking of creating a memory box for her. I'm gathering together little things that remind me of how special she was. I'm taking my time with this, as I want to choose the right pieces and lay it out just right.

Some of the pieces that I want to showcase are unique and relate to valuable memories, like the pin from working at Boeing during World War II. Others are inexpensive pins that show her interests, like the KAC pin for her years in the Kansas Author's Club.

The tiny pin showing a vintage car represents the Model A Ford that my dad restored. Mom was so proud of him and his project.

Actually with the velvet backing that many shadow boxes have, it is easy to move things around until you have it just the way you want. You can substitute a different color for the backing to match your d├ęcor or to set off what you have displayed in the box.

Special Occasion Shadow Boxes

A shadow box can display things that you don't want to hide away in a scrapbook.

They make a great gift for a bride or new parents or a graduate. Fill them with treasures or give them empty so they can fill them.

Use Scrapbooking Elements in a Shadow Box

These photos of my father are nicely displayed with a scrapbook style. Scrapbook supplies like special paper and dimensional elements create a nice scene.
These photos of my father are nicely displayed with a scrapbook style. Scrapbook supplies like special paper and dimensional elements create a nice scene. | Source

Display Wedding Keepsakes

Wedding Ceremony Accessories / Baby Shower Keepsake Shadow Box Display Case, Mahogany Finish
Wedding Ceremony Accessories / Baby Shower Keepsake Shadow Box Display Case, Mahogany Finish

The second shadow box with the glossy mahogany finish is the perfect place to display keepsakes from a wedding or the arrival of a baby.

 

A Special Shadow Box for Graduation Memories

MCS Graduation Shadow Box Frame with Tassel Insert
MCS Graduation Shadow Box Frame with Tassel Insert

Recognize scholastic achievement with a shadow box for graduation. It has section just the right fit for them to save that tassel.

 

Tutorials for Making Your Own Shadow Box

I'm not skilled at woodworking, so I bought my shadow box. If you prefer to make one, check out a few of these videos.

Walnut Keepsake Box

Dark walnut deep craft Keepsake Box - 5x7
Dark walnut deep craft Keepsake Box - 5x7

Walnut is such a beautiful wood, so your memorabilia will look marvelous in a box like this one.

 

How to Make a Shadow Box Frame - Video Tutorial

Place Collections in a Shadow Box to Protect Them

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Showcase a Collection

If you collect small items, the shadow box lets you show the collection on the wall. You never have to dust all the little pieces as they are protected by the glass front.

For instance, I collect antique valentines. The lacy ones are quite fragile so a case like this keeps them from harm.

What Do You Want to Display?

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    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 2 years ago from San Francisco

      Wonderful idea for keeping those precious keepsakes out where we can see them. Thank you for sharing the different ways we can use them. You've given me an idea.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      They're a great way to showcase a variety of things. I like the idea of making them for special occasions and/or milestones - like first grade.

    • profile image

      MaggiePowell 3 years ago

      I helped the kids make one for their father. He had a lot of old running medals and awards (and a lot of stories) about running... they took the momentos out of the cardboard box and arranged them so he could enjoy them. Was a great gift for father's day.

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