The possibilities are endless when it comes to what you can do with a Shadowbox. We’ve highlighted everything from the traditional to the unique on the blog. If the dates on the blog posts we’ve linked are any indication, shadowboxes were and still are a popular choice when it comes to picture frame design.
We’ve given you the ideas on what to put in them, now we’re back with tips on how to accomplish those projects. We got together with our retail team to give us their top tips on building a shadowbox.
If your ultimate goal is to create a one of a kind shadowbox, then you must have the proper materials to get the job done. According to Ethan Clifton, Frame USA Retail Manager, these are the must-have materials for your shadowbox project.
A traditional way to use our shadowbox is to frame jerseys or clothing items. When you are framing these fabrics, you want to be able to adhere them to the back of the frame. If you don’t, they will end up in a jumbled mess at the bottom of the box as soon as you try and hang the frame.
There are three ways of accomplishing this task, the first is a method that has been done for years but requires time and patience. It involves a regular old sewing kit. You will want to choose a thread that closely matches the fabric colors where you are planning on sewing. You will sew the fabric directly onto the foam core back. Another thing that you can do is order a solid sheet of matboard in a color that compliments or allows for the jersey or fabric to stand out. Whichever backing you decide allows you to accomplish your goal you will want to sew your fabric
Depending on the size of your piece you may find it easier to sew if you wrap it around a piece of foam core. This will allow for the fabric to lay totally flat inside the frame.
A more modern way of adhering fabrics is to use a tag gun. You know those annoying little plastic pieces that come on new clothing and attach the price tag to it? That’s what we’re talking about! You can purchase a gun from most craft stores or Amazon and the tags come in a variety of different colors. When you use the tag gun the actual tag can be almost invisible within the finished piece. If for some reason you are only able to find a certain color, you can always disguise the tag within the folds of the fabric such as the crook of the arm.
- Straight Pins
For those fabrics that may be too fragile to sew or too important to sew you will want to choose a deeper shadowbox that has room for you to stick the piece with straight pins. This allows for there to be very little alterations to the delicate piece. The pins also serve as an interesting element to the overall design, almost as though you have a piece of a museum right on your wall.
- Archival Glue
Jersey’s or fabrics aren’t the only thing that can be framed inside a shadowbox so what about things that can’t be sewed or pinned? Ethan recommends using archival glue on the back of those items. Surprisingly, you probably already have this glue lying around your house; we’re talking about super glue! A little dot on the back of the item goes a long way to ensure that it stays secure.
Now that you have the materials to secure your pieces you’ll want to decide on a layout. When in doubt, center your pieces inside. If you are adhering multiple items, the best way to accomplish a unique composition is to utilize that foam-core again. Choose foam core with a variety of depths. Doing this will allow you to elevate the different pieces to new levels. This tip is especially useful when you are using a shadowbox as a unique art piece to your home vs the traditional fabric framing.
Whatever your idea is, these tips will allow you to frame it like the pros. If your piece is delicate and you don’t want to even attempt to frame it, take it to your local frame shop or if you’re near Cincinnati, stop by and let Ethan and his team do