diy wednesdays: cardboard shadow box

our love of knickknacks, thingamajigs and ephemera is outweighed only by our hatred of clutter. which means whenever we pick up yet another objet we’d better find a spot for it. we fashioned this mini shadow box out of a simple cardboard gift box to house a little assemblage whose contents can be changed on a whim depending on what treasures we happen to find lying about. click here for the full project instructions or just click “read more” below.

have fun!
-derek & lauren

here’s what you’ll need:
-gift box with lid
-x-acto blade
-cork tile
-double-sided tape

1. draw a decorative border onto the top of your box and carefully cut out with your x-acto blade.


2. trace the bottom of the box onto a cork tile and cut out with scissors.


3. cover the cork piece with a scrap of fabric, securing on the back with double-sided tape.
4. if your box is deep, you may also wish to line the inside with fabric, which you can also secure with double-sided tape.
5. puncture a small hole in the back of box with your x-acto blade.
6. insert fabric-covered cork piece into box bottom and assemble box.
7. fill with goodies and hang on a small nail through the hole in back!


I love the color scheme on the example. Unique shadow boxes are hard to come by. I never considered making my own, till now!


this is such a cute idea! just like you i love strange cute little things but hate clutter – so i totally get this :) do all shadowboxes usually have cork in them – or is that u just being brilliant?


What a great idea! I feel the same way that items have to be displayed nicely otherwise it’s just clutter laying around. Yet I love going thrifting. This project will help.


hi! the cork is optional- just in case you want to mount things to the back with pins.


This is a brilliant idea. I contain little assemblages in a variety of ways – but ooo I simply love a new method! Thanks.

Love For Sale

This would be neat to do with a shoe box. I have some great heels that came in a shoe box with an interesting pattern on the box, so to make something with it would be great! I think i found just the project!


I’m so glad you shared this…I actually picked up a few shadowboxes on clearance and had no idea what to do with them. Thank you!


Hello :)
I have a very difficult time purchasing anything, even for $1, a buck, if I do not know what I am going to do with it. this means where will it go and enhance our, or at least my life :)
This drives my daughter crazy!!!
So: I very much like your display box idea! A place for all cute little treasures.
With Kindness,


i love this! gave it a shot today since i’m redecorating my room and unearthing so many nicknacks in the process!


This is awesome! I love shadow boxes, but the price in the stores is cost prohibitive. This will be a great way to save a little green- financially and environmentally.


Kim Buchheit

what a great idea! thanks for sharing.

[grace, i just opened my etsy store this week. please stop by when you have some time; i’d love to hear what you think! thanks :)]


i’m afraid my poor xacto skills will preclude me from the decorative border :(

Paper Dolls for Boys

This is genius. It combines reusing stuff already lying around and turns it into a neat display! You’ve got me thinking now, maybe I’ll do a silhouette in the background and display my vintage kid’s toys!
Thanks for the tutorial and inspiration.


This is the DIY bridesmaid gift idea that I have been looking for. I can personalize them for each amazing woman. Thank you so much!


You know, you could also avoid the need for dusting by reusing the flat back of plastic packaging as a window… hmmm…