Needing to display vacation photos and keepsakes has never really been on my radar. But after a great trip to Cape Cod with my daughter Jamie, I wanted to showcase some seashells, rocks and a special photo from my vacation.
I love how the vacation photo display shadow box turned out. Isn’t it funny that my favorite picture is with a windmill, and NOT on the beach where I collected the rocks and shells?
I collected the sand from Long Point, Provincetown MA in a water bottle. It of course was very wet. When I brought it home, I put a plastic bag over a tray, and emptied the sand out to allow it to dry. The sand from this area of Cape Cod is very coarse, with many rocks—instead of a lot of shells. I allowed the sand to dry for over a day.
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How to make a rustic frame to display vacation photos
My neighbor Rodney was visiting as I was designing the rustic shadow box with reclaimed fence boards. I was using the glass, mat, and backing from a Ribba Shadow Box frame from IKEA. But the fake wooden (black) frame was a little too modern to suit me. I chose to use the reclaimed fencing instead. I had the pieces ripped to the size I needed. Rodney was kind enough to run the pieces through the table saw to make the grooves to hold the backing and the glass. Do NOT do this on a table saw.
Miter the corners of your board
Because my work table isn’t perfectly level, I used a piece of plywood shelving to make sure that my shadow box would be squared. You may notice one of the grooves is a little more pronounced than the other. That’s because the thickness of the backer board AND mat board is greater than the thickness of the glass.
Make sure your frame is square
A small carpenter’s square is a great way to make sure everything is square.
Glue your diy frame
I used Gorilla Wood Glue to secure everything but the top section—that would allow me to add the sand and shells later.
I like to use irwin quick clamps to hold everything until the glue sets up.
It was fun playing in the sand after it dried out. Look how many rocks there are in the sand.
Add glass to the frame
I put the vacation photo in the mat, then to protect the photo and mat, I added a scrap piece of paper while I put the sand into place.
Insert sand and shells
I made an indentation on the scrap paper so I would know where the photo mat started—you can see the line. See the serrated knife on the right? It’s a very flat long knife that worked perfectly for moving sand and arranging rocks.
Working on the tray helped contain the sand—the spoon and knife were very helpful in making this shadow box allowing me to display vacation photos and keepsakes in a pretty fashion on my mantel.
I love my new rustic shadow box to display vacation photos from my trip to Cape Cod!
The sand, shells and rocks can be rearranged at will by shifting the rustic shadow box frame.
While visiting Cape Cod, I bought some original, reclaimed artwork that needed a frame. You can see how I made a reclaimed wood frame for that artwork in my post How To Make A Reclaimed Artwork Rustic Frame.
I was inspired to make this project after seeing this Ocean View Shadow Box from The Southern Couture. How do you display vacation photos and keepsakes?
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