How You Can Make Your Own Super Easy DIY Shadow Box

Many years ago, I worked in a picture framing shop. As a professional framer, I built many types of shadow boxes in different sizes.

People use shadow boxes to preserve sentimental items, from baby hair to sports jerseys. You can even preserve your wedding flower in a shadow box. They’re also a great way to capture a major event or milestone.

When a shadow box is done properly, it can over 20 years. In a previous life, I worked as a professional framer and had a first-hand appreciation of the work and the quality of the material that goes into making those long-lasting shadow boxes.

The items will be mounted flawlessly with acid-free materials and covered by UV glass which will prevent fading over the years. It’s obvious that you get what you pay for.

But getting customed shadow boxes made by professionals may not be within everyone’s budget. Especially for those really large items, it can cost a small fortune.

That is why I want to share with you how to make this DIY Shadowbox for my mom, who loves pink and butterflies.

As an ex-professional framer, I am sharing with you what items you can save money on and where you don’t want to cut any corners.

If you’re looking for a special, one-of-a-kind gift, or a way to preserve your own memories, try making a shadowbox!

They’re not as difficult as they may look, and the results are always impressive.

How to Make a DIY Shadow Box


For this pink butterfly shadowbox, I got most of my supplies from Hobby Lobby:

  • A 12×12 shadowbox frame in white
  • One pink floral fabric quarter
  • One sheet of 12×12 yellow polka dot scrapbook paper
  • One package of mini clothespins
  • One spool of green ric rac
  • Two painted wooden butterflies (from the wood crafts section)
  • Acid-free double-sided tape
  • Krazy Glue
  • scissors
  • paper cutter
  • A piece of UV conservative clear glass (I got it from Jo-Ann’s custom framing counter)

Top Tip:

To prevent the items in the shadow box from fading, it is important to invest in a UV conservation glass. I got mine from a custom framing counter.

Pick a shadow box frame with removable glass, so you can replace it with the UV-conservative glass later.

Before installing the UV-conservative glass, clean it with an ammonia-free glass cleaner and with a soft cloth. Handle with care, as it is delicate and can be scratched easily.

Make sure the side with UV coating (with writing on the edge of the glass) faces inside the Shadowbox.


  1. Measure the width of the inner frame to be covered by scrapbooking paper. Mine measured to be 3/4″.
  2. Trim the yellow polka dot scrapbooking paper to the measurements.
  3. Tape the scrapbooking paper to the shadow box as the background using double-sided acid-free tape.
  4. Printed out 2 black and white photos from my computer in 5″ x 3.5″. Then I made two 6″ x4.5″ scrapbook paper backgrounds for them.
  5. To make 3D effect, I stuck a small piece of foam to the back of each photo.
  6. I made the letters “MICHELE” and some decorative triangles on my computer before printing and cutting them out. It took me a few times to get the size right.

So here you have it, how I made the DIY shadow box of pink butterflies for my mom.

I hope this is a cheaper alternative to the professional shadow box while still preserving those beautiful memories for as long as possible.

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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

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