Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How To Create a Shadowbox for Heirloom Jewelry

Create Your Own Shadowbox to Display Heirloom Jewelry

I have had a few very special pieces of jewelry, mostly pins and brooches, for quite some time.  Each pin or brooch has come from one of my grandmothers, great-grandmothers, or my mother.  Instead of keeping these beautiful family heirlooms hidden in jewelry boxes or drawers, I decided to find a way to display them in a shadowbox.

Heirloom Jewelry Shadowbox Project Supplies 

In order to begin my project, I needed to collect together all of the jewelry I wanted to display along with a few additional supplies.  Most importantly, I needed to find an affordable shadowbox frame large enough for my project without being too large.  I found just what I needed on clearance at Target, luckily, and the rest of the supplies I had at home.

  • Target RE Brand 12" x 12" Shadowbox Frame ($12.00)
  • Jewelry Cleaner
  • Superglue
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Velvet Fabric (13" x 13")
  • Faux Fur Fabric (10" x 10")
  • Needle and Thread
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Safety Pins
  • Flat Head Screwdriver
  • Newspaper
  • Vinegar

Putting the Shadowbox Together

Putting the project together took about 3 hours from start to finish, and it was a project that required some spreading out.  I worked on the bed and floor in my well-lit bedroom.

  1. The first step was to clean and layout on the back of the shadowbox frame all of the pieces of jewelry I wanted to display.  
  2. Next, I took a digital photo to remind myself of the layout before moving the jewelry.  
  3. I cut my velvet fabric using the back of the frame as a template, then I ironed it on a very low heat setting.
  4. I aligned the velvet fabric with the back of the frame, again, and began pinning the jewelry to the fabric.  Any jewelry that had no pin was pinned with a safety pin or sewn with loose stitches to the fabric.  
  5. I added all the pins and pieces to the velvet fabric, then placed the faux fur in the center of the back of the frame for padding before gluing the top edge of the pinned velvet fabric along the top edge of the frame back.  I glued only the top edge in case I needed to disassemble and reassemble the shadowbox for any reason.
  6. I cleaned the glass of the frame with vinegar and newspaper, then assembled the frame by laying the spacer (that keeps the back of the frame an inch from the glass), the glass, and the frame on top of the back and jewelry.  
  7. After all the pieces were aligned, I used the flat head screwdriver to fold the tabs to hold the back in place.
  8. Finally, I created a template with the names of the jewelry owners to tape to the reverse side of the back of the frame.
I will be able to hang my shadowbox with our family photos in the living room, easily, because the frame has a well-attached hanger already through the back of the frame.  I'm very excited to display and enjoy this project.  If you try this yourself, please let me know how it turns out in the comments section!

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