Creating a shadow box is a creative way to display and preserve objects or memorabilia as a memory keepsake. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a basic pet memorial shadow box.
Materials you’ll need for Pet Memorial Shadow Box
- 14×17 Large Shadow Box Frame
- Glass Jar (for ashes)
- Hot Glue Gun
- Decorative paper or fabric (optional)
- Tape or pins (optional)
Pet Memorial Shadow Box Instructions
- Step 1: Choose a Shadow Box Frame
Select a deep picture frame or a shadow box frame that is large enough to accommodate the objects you wish to display. Shadow box frames typically have a deeper depth, allowing space for the items and creating a shadow effect.
- Step 2: Order Photos
Cull your photos and get them printed at your local one hour printing place.
Culling the images took me a couple of weeks to get through. I have seven years of photos. I spent time going through tons of folders, adding a tag called “Colt” on the images, then I could search by the tag on my Macbook.
I ordered from Walgreens the first time, but ended up with larger images than I wanted. I found mpix.com where they offer a lot more size options. I ordered most of the phots as mini wallets which are 1.75×2.5”.
- Step 3: Arrange and Secure Objects
Arrange your objects or memorabilia inside the frame, considering the depth and placement. Experiment with different arrangements until you are satisfied with the display. You can use acid-free adhesive or glue to secure the objects in place. Allow the adhesive to dry completely before proceeding.
I used a hot glue gun everything in the box. I also used a tack to hold the keychain (in case we want to add it on our keys).
- Step 4: Optional: Add Depth and Layers
If you want to create depth or layers within your shadow box, you can use mounting tape or pins to attach certain objects at different heights. This will add dimension and visual interest to your display.
I found the little glass jar at Hobby Lobby. We filled it with some of his ashes. This is totally optional if this is something that doesn’t interest you.
- Step 5: Close the Frame
Once everything is securely in place and the adhesive has dried, carefully place the backboard with the attached backdrop back into the frame. Make sure it fits snugly.
The frame I purchased is a magnet closure. I might glue it shut just in case, but It is okay for now.
- Step 6: Display and Remember
Your shadow box is now complete! Find an appropriate place to display it, whether it’s on a wall or a tabletop. Avoid direct sunlight and humid areas to prevent damage to the objects and the frame.
Mpix.com also has an optional addition of adding lustre coating to the photos, which protects them from UV damage. It cost $0.46 per image.
This is a basic guide for creating a shadow box. You can personalize and customize your shadow box by incorporating various materials, adding labels, using colored backgrounds, or including additional embellishments based on your preferences.
Doing this diy also helped with the grieving process. Colt crossed the rainbow bridge on May 6, 2023, so it had been less than two months. When I was culling through the photos, I would cry and have to walk away from the project. But it allowed me to relive a lot of happy memories with my sweet dog. And I wanted the shadowbox to capture the beautiful life we tried to give him.
You can take a peek at some of my other DIYs here.