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Fill a Shadow Box with Treasured Mementos

Collecting has been a lifelong passion for Virginia and her collections range from ephemera to tins and Hall china.

My Awards Displayed in a Shadowbox

shadow-box

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.

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

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 décor 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.

Display Wedding Keepsakes

A Special Shadow Box for Graduation Memories

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

How to Make a Shadow Box Frame - Video Tutorial

Place Collections in a Shadow Box to Protect Them

valentines

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?

Guestbook

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on July 05, 2014:

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 on December 18, 2013:

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.

MaggiePowell on December 16, 2013:

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.