How to put together your own Shadow Box


I am so in love with the idea of shadow boxes. They are such a cool way to combine memories and implement mixed media. I especially love to make shadow boxes with travel souvenirs. It’s a great way to get all your souvenirs together in one place.

When I look at this shadow box it just makes me happy.



This shadow box is from my very first trip to Oceanside, California. I immediately fell in love with this little ocean town. Mika convinced me we were going for a vacation. Little did I know my husband-to-be was planning to propose, on the beach with an airplane flying a banner. It was the most perfect moment ever!! So you see, this shadow box is important to me. Every time I look at it a thousand memories cross my brain. I believe that’s the point of a shadow box, to capture an experience so well, that anyone looking at it can feel as if they were there with you.

So in this shadowbox I have:

  1. A dried starfish
  2. A white paper doily
  3. My Jared ring box (with my first promise ring in it)
  4. An Oceanside postcard
  5.  A picture of “The Moment”
  6.  A picture months later “67 Days ’till I’m Mrs. Abatti”
  7. A picture the airplane company sent my husband of the area we were to be
  8.  A shell souvenir

The key to creating the perfect shadow box is balance and a good mix of different textures and items.



Each shadow box comes with a box of pins. Now obviously you cannot “pin” a shell to the back of your shadowbox. I decided on hot glue. I don’t want all my items rolling around when I move. I still used the pins to pin the pictures. Make sure before you start gluing you place everything for a trial run. Take a couple steps back and check your proportions. If something is bothering you and you’re not sure what, play around and switch everything around until it looks right.

This next shadowbox is from our honeymoon to Saint Martin. This shadow box was sooo fun to create. This time being prepared, I bought my souvenirs with the thought of making a shadow box when I got back.

The items I used here were:

  1. A real St. Martin license plate
  2. Some fun quilting pins
  3. 6 real pieces of sea-glass we collected
  4. 3 old rusty bottle caps we found
  5. My boarding pass
  6. A postcard
  7. The map we used to get us lost all over the island because we needed GPS (HA)

I literally am attached to each of these mementos from our trip. It was so fun finding particular items with the thought of making a display we could keep forever. I know with previous trips, I have my souvenirs in the most random places. What are we REALLY supposed to do with with all the crap we gather on our travels except hoard it???



If you are looking for a great shadow box I would start at T.J. Maxx or Marshalls. The big ones range from twenty five to thirty dollars. The smaller ones are fifteen to twenty dollars. SO super cheap and doable and a lot of different color and style choices.

This shadow box was made for my brother Dustin, who just bought his first home. My mom and I created it with his manly decorating ascetic in mind.

We used:

  1. Hand cutout “HOME: letters
  2. Thin gold nails we had on hand
  3. White burlap fabric
  4. A picture of his house
  5. Tied twine and a decorative tag with his address written on it
  6. A google maps printout
  7. A small brown box from Michaels
  8. A key to his house


This box turned out so great! What a fun idea for celebrating and documenting a first house.

All over Pinterest we are seeing great ideas for shadow boxes. The baby ones are sooo adorable! Foot prints, hospital bracelets, little outfits, pregnancy tests, pictures from right after delivery, so many opportunities to make it your own!!


My next shadow box project will be from my wedding. A great way to save announcements, save the dates, bouquets, ring boxes, written lyrics, garter, wedding programs and wedding jewelry.

As you can see there are a million different directions you can go using shadow boxes! My dream project would be to create a shadow box for everywhere I travel to. But let’s get real, I travel too much and don’t have enough wall space. Anyways thanks for listening and happy shadow box making. I would love to see the beauties you come up with!!!

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