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28 Shadow Box Ideas For Your Most Treasured Mementos

Last Updated: Nov 7, 2018

We all have drawers and countless shoeboxes filled with trinkets that can take us back to our most cherished memories. Somewhere in a dark corner of the closet these boxes live and hold our very first concert tickets, brochures to our favorite museum or our accidental collection of vacation postcards that we bought but never sent.

The time has come to use these fabulous collections and mementos to beautify your home or office. The ultimate way to show off all your most cherished keepsakes in shadow boxes, it’s a great way to decorate a bare wall or spice up a dresser — they also make great gifts. Take a look at the DIY shadow box ideas we’ve put together below to get you started. Now, dig those treasures out of hiding, create a shadow box for each and display for everyone to see!

1. For The Graduate

Letterman jacket and graduation shadow box
A graduation is one of the most memorable moments of our lives, full of rewards and filled with anticipation and excitement. After the graduation party has ended, gather the best pictures from these events, the cap tassel and any other items that are meaningful details of that important day. Use any additional photos  to create a personalized desk calendar that features this important life event.

2. Send Love From Afar

Bouquet of pink roses in vase, candle and shadow box
A long distance relationship is the perfect reason to create a shadow box for your beloved. It’s a great way to express love from miles away. Include a special message ­— maybe a reference to the cities you both live in ­— pictures and other items that have sentimental value to you both. Send it with a lovely bouquet of their favored flowers and a personalized candle.

3. For Concert Aficionados

Guitar, flask and shadow box with concert tickets
Music is one of our favorite ideas for a shadow box. Think concert tickets, music festival wristbands, badges and those treasure picks your hero guitarist threw your way. A great conversation starter at home or the office!

This is an excellent idea if you need a DIY gift for a music lover. Include a cool personalized flask with a key message to make it more fun.

4. Baby Love

Teddy bear on box next to shadow box
If you’ve been thinking of shadow box decorating ideas, then this one is perfect for the baby’s room. There is nothing more adorable than everything baby related — like the tiny mouse hat the baby outgrew or that baby mobile you made yourself. Include a special detail that ties in the box content with the rest of the room décor. Arrange the shadow box on the dresser or shelve alongside a customized teddy bear and photo cube for maximum cuteness.

5. Wanderlust Homage

Shadow box on accent table with candle
A sure way to keep magical moments from your latest travel alive is by creating a shadow box. Design it with your dearest memories in mind ­— your most-liked shots, museum tickets or maps for example. Print the country or cities visited cities with the year the trip took place and display proudly.

Here are 23 additional shadow box frame ideas for you to consider.

  • Pets: Gather your favorite pics and accessories.
  • Wedding: Include invitation along with memorable photos.
  • Seashells: Place the shells and sand dollars you have collected at the beach.
  • Love Letters: Arrange sweet letters, notes or cards from your beloved.
  • Child Art: Children’s art is as unique as it is priceless, select a few pieces to show off. You can also include cute stickers to go along with it.
  • Postcards: Select postcards from your favorite places, add airplane or train tickets to enhance.
  • Anniversaries: Lay out pictures, vows and any other items with special meaning.
  • Marathon: Place medal, bib number and add completion time information.
  • Book: Ideal for first editions or highlighting your favorite passage.
  • Jewelry: Place family heirloom jewelry, lockets or pocket watches, along with photos of family members wearing them.
  • Military: A great way to honor a veteran, display military portrait, pins, badges and medals.
  • Vintage Items:  Showcase vintage handbags, brooches or scarfs.
  • Coins: For all coin collectors, consider foreign currency of the countries you’ve visited and include some of your favorite snaps.
  • Hobby: Include a painter’s palette, brushes and sketches.
  • Dried Flowers: Arrange dried flowers from a favorite bouquet.
  • Poem: Display a favorite or meaningful poem.
  • Tiles: Ideal way to display tiles from trips you’ve taken.
  • Awards and Trophies: Think awards and trophies for special recognitions.
  • Movie Tickets: Drop in tickets for all the movie shows you go see.
  • Keys: A great way to display keys of all the homes you’ve lived in throughout the years. Also a fun anniversary gift for your partner.
  • Recipe: A perfect way to showcase your great-grandmother’s handwritten recipe.
  • Fabric: Save a swatch of fabric from your favorite dresses, quilts or scarfs.
  • Sheet Music: Arrange sheet music along with pictures of recitals.

As you can see, there will be plenty of ideas to choose from once you get started. Shadow box ideas can include anything from your family’s artistic hobbies to your own passion for travel. Start by deciding the theme for the project, then choose the appropriate shadow box ­and finally arrange the items you wish to display. No doubt you will end up with a meaningful and beautiful memento for everyone to enjoy.