Today I’m going to show you how to make an easy shadow box out of an old picture frame and thin plywood. Step by step directions will allow you to make your own repurposed frame shadowbox in an afternoon.
Thrift Store Picture Frame Project
As I mentioned in episode #2 of my podcast, Thrift Store and Curb Shopping, picture frames are one of my top 5 items to look for while junking!
Thin plywood used to make an easy shadow box
To begin, I grabbed a large frame from my stash of thrifted frames, and cut some thin plywood to size. On large frames like this, there is a lip all the way around that offers the perfect ledge to hold the thin plywood. The easy shadow box is already on it’s way!
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Use wood glue instead of nails
I added Gorilla Wood Glue around all the edges (lip) of the frame to make the easy shadow box.
Then I added the wood glue to the edges where the thin plywood meets.
Clamp the sides of the shadow box until the glue sets up
I clamped and braced the boards until the wood glue had time to set up on the easy shadow box.
The thin plywood looks so much nicer in the little lip of the frame than a thicker piece of wood does such as a 1×4 or 1×6.
Add bead board as the back of the shadow box
I used a scrap piece of bead board for the back of the shadow box. Of course I used more Gorilla Wood Glue then weighted the back until the glue set up.
How to add scrap wood for hanging
Because the plywood is very thin, I didn’t have enough thickness to attach my favorite d rings for hanging. I used a couple of scrap pieces of wood and some Gorilla Glue Construction Adhesive to secure the wood to the back of the thin plywood. I used two pieces, one at the top and one at the bottom.
In this image, you can see I’ve painted one, before I remembered to take the picture.
Off White Easy Shadow Box made from a Picture Frame
I’ve been quite lazy with my staging lately—in case you didn’t know I always stage my projects outside on a portable wall. It’s been really hot, the garage is crowded and the gray side of the wall needs repainting.
This easy shadow box sold very quickly. I think I should make some more of these. So do you hoard love frames as much as I do?
Here are a few more shadow boxes I’ve made out of picture frames:
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