DIY shadow box

I come across lots of little gems like this one when I’m out thrifting; discarded DIY failures (hey, someone somewhere has probably bought mine).  This frame was interesting to me because someone had taken a regular frame and made a shadow box.  I have always thought that it was easily done but never actually needed to do it.  This was my chance!

Elephant shadow box

Goodwill DIY shadow box


First, I took everything apart so I could remove the paint from the front of the frame.  I applied Citrastrip and allowed it to sit covered with a plastic bag for almost an hour.  The bag helps to keep it from drying out too fast.  I used a small putty knife to scrap the paint from the frame.  This took off most of the paint.  To remove any remaining paint/Citrastrip, I wiped the frame down with mineral spirits on a fine steel wool pad.  Once it had completely dried, I sanded it down leaving a little paint behind.  Since I was keeping the frame natural, I wanted to add color somewhere else.

image (1)

Remove elephant


I choose to paper the backboard of the frame in this beautiful pinkish patterned paper from World Market.  It is called Nomad Tiles!  It was meant to be.  I only bought a sheet for $2.99.  I cut the paper an inch larger than the backboard and attached it using 3M spray adhesive.  Then I used hot glue to attach the elephant to the center of the board.  After everything was set, I put frame back together.

2015-03-15 007


After flipping the frame upside down and inserting the glass, place the furling strips along the picture opening on their sides. In the picture below you can see the strips in place.  They extend beyond the actual frame to create a shadow box.  Ignore the mat still in the frame, we decided not to use one.  I just used a glue gun to secure them because the frame was light enough.  If the frame was heavier I would have used finishing nails or E3000 glue. Once the furling strips have been secured position the back board and tape down (no one sees it!).

Here she is finished! I think it looks great on the navy wall.   Definitely worth it!  The frame was $4 and the paper was $3, I can’t imagine I would be able to buy anything this cute for less than $10 anywhere.

Elephant frame after

Elephant frame after