Shadow boxes are a creative and unique way to encapsulate your memories and artwork, whether it be from a special trip away, a scrapbook-esque mixture of trinkets and photos or a decorative floral arrangement. We love shadow box displays as they are always truly unique to the creator plus the very low cost to make, which makes them wonderful gifts to give to friends and family.


We have put together a hefty round-up of our favourite shadow box ideas from a range of talented designers and trusted retailers, we are sure you'll find something to inspire your shadow box project. There are many ways to put together a shadow box, you can make your own frame, buy a frame or buy a completed shadow box ready to give as a gift or keep for yourself. However you'd like to take part in this special craft you can see below for a mixture of DIY shadow box ideas, shadow box frame ideas and shadow boxes to buy.

What should you put in a shadow box?

  • Floral arrangements, perfect for wedding celebrations
  • Keepsakes, photos and trinkets
  • Love letters, cards
  • Awards, medals or certificates
  • Clothes, football shirts etc
  • Money, corks, bottle tops
  • Ticket stubs, plane tickets, travel momentos
  • Almost anything...

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Shadow box frame: our top 10 favourites

First things first, you're going to need to find a frame that suits you and your shadow box project! We've put together this list of our favourites, you'll find high-quality shadow box frames in all sizes and shapes to get started on your unique shadow box idea.

1. Rustic-style shadow box frame

How gorgeous is this rustic style frame for shadow box artwork, it would make a wonderful frame for travel-related shadow boxes, items like scraps of plane tickets, photos, or a small jar of sand from your favourite beach. It is a very versatile box frame and is available in two different colours and sizes, the front of the frame swings open for easy access and is secured with a pretty metal hook. The frame is backed with a linen fabric backing which makes it easy to attached unusually shaped memorabilia.

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shadow box frame - rustic wood

2. White shadow box frame

This sleek and modern shadow box frame beams simplicity, making it the ideal frame for floral or wedding-related shadow box ideas. If you're looking for a gift idea for a newlywed couple, or something to honour your own wedding this frame will be the perfect housing for pressed flowers, wedding photos and anything else wedding-related from the big day. Why not try adding the date of the wedding for that extra touch of personalisation?

shadow box frame - white

3. Light up shadow box frame

If you're looking for something with that extra special touch these fabulous light up frames sure do feel magical! Perfect for almost anything inside, add photos, flowers or even medals and trophies or a special piece of jewellery you don't want to hide away in a drawer. Available in three colours and embellished with warm white LED lights around the edges, what's not to love!

shadow box frame - light up

4. Pine shadow box frame

This handmade pine box frame is high-quality and modern. The box frame will arrive as a kit for you to assemble, don't worry though it comes with super quick and easy instructions to follow. This frame would be suitable for most shadow box ideas, we did love the one we saw on the reviews in Etsy of the shadow box containing clay versions of themselves, how creative!

Buy now on Etsy, from £22.00 (available in a variety of sizes)

shadow box frame - pine

5. Ornate shadow box frame

This gloriously ornate frame will really take your shadow box ideas to the next level, if you're looking for something really special, look no further! The antique gold finish would really emphasise the items you decided to put inside, it would work well with particularly special items, casts of baby's hands and feet, first booties or special medals and achievements would also work well in this frame. This handmade shadow box frame really will be a for-life piece in your home.

Buy now on Etsy, from £47.95 (available in a variety of sizes)

shadow box frame - ornate

6. simple shadow box frame

If you want to keep it simple, low cost and straightforward, this white shadow box frame from The Works would be ideal. The 15x15cm frame would suit smaller projects, such as photos and smaller memorabilia. The wonderful thing about this shadow box frame is that it would fit in well with most peoples decor, so would make a good gift.

Buy now from The Works, £4.00

shadow box frame - simple

7. Colourful shadow box frame

If you want to add a pop of colour to your decor these fabulous small shadow box frames will do just that! Choose from a variety of colours, sizes and quantities with these fabulous frames.

Buy now from Etsy, from £7.00

shadow box frame - colourful

8. Wider shadow box frame

Perfect for displaying a larger amount of memorabilia, from photos to trinkets and everything in between, you won't run out of room quickly with up to 20 inches in width of space! You can find a range of colours too, we love the pale pink for a babies room, how about framing their first booties, or a handprint cast? The front of the frame is made of perspex too, which might be more suitable for a child's room than glass!

Buy now from Amazon, from £15.00

shadow box frame - wide

9. John Lewis shadow box frame

Looking for a plain and simple shadow box to really accentuate the contents, then this is the frame for you! Low cost and well made you won't be disappointed.

Buy now from John Lewis, £4.00

shadow box frame - jl

10. Papermania 12 x 12 Shadow Box

This multi shadow box is perfect for those of you who have lots of trinkets to display, due to its multi-compartment style it works well for not just one theme but a number of themes. Why not display your Lego Minifigure collection?

Buy now from LoveCrafts, £8.99

shadow box multi

10 DIY shadow box ideas and inspiration

Naturally now you've got your frame you're going to need some shadow box ideas and inspiration to get the creative sparks flying! Read on to get inspired with our favourite ideas from talented designers. We're sure you'll find something you love!

1. Botanical shadow box ideas

Now we're starting our list with a bang! This glorious idea from Better Homes & Gardens demonstrates how to create your very own hanging succulent garden. Since succulents require little upkeep, just a spritz of water every now and then, they make the ideal plant for this project. You can find the step-by-step tutorial over at their website, all available for free.

Find the Botanical shadow box ideas tutorial from Better Homes & Gardens

shadow box ideas - succulents

2. Holiday shadow box ideas

Remember your top travelling moments or your favourite holiday with these sweet shadow box ideas. If you already love to scrapbook, you'll be an expert at this. However, if you're a newbie, then just collect up things like travel and experience tickets, photos, trinkets and souvenirs and arrange them in a shadow box to create this lovely keepsake. Full instructions over at HobbyCraft.

Find the Holiday shadow box ideas at Hobby Craft

shadow box ideas - travel

3. Paper flower shadow box ideas

The idea display for a newlywed couple this sweet floral arrangement will definitely be a crowd-pleaser! On their website, you'll find a walkthrough of how to make it, plus where to find ready-made paper flowers for your display. If you wanted to add that extra touch of homemade and you have a Cricut machine you could add your own personalised message to the glass.

Find the Paper flower shadow box ideas at Hobby Craft

shadow box ideas - floral

4. Memory shadow box ideas

Shadow boxes are almost made to encapsulate memories and trinkets, that's why we adore this sweet baby box! Celebrate your little one's by gathering up their first shoes, cutest baby grow, maybe even a lock of their hair and arranging them in a shadow box to proudly display. So much better than storing all those precious items in a drawer somewhere!

Find the Memory shadow box ideas inspiration at Orgainze With Ease

shadow box ideas - baby

5. Sand memory shadow box

Since you are not allowed to take sand from the beach (yes it is actually illegal, due to removing the natural defence against the ocean) plus disturbing the eco-system. So we'd recommend buying sand online as it is fairly inexpensive, then you can go wild on creating sand crafts! This lovely shadow box will give you memories of sandy toes and warm sunshine.

Find the sand memory shadow box idea at Mom Dot

shadow box ideas - sand

6. Wine cork shadow box idea

Now, who doesn't love a glass of vino with their other half? Whether you are celebrating something special or having a fun night just the two of you, save your cork in this adorable shadow box to remember all the celebrations. Why not write the date on the cork to remember what each popped cork celebrated! To create the text on the front of this shadow box a Cricut Joy has been used, however, this isn't a requirement you can use glass paint or markers if you prefer.

Find the Wine cork shadow box idea at Leap of Faith Crafting

shadow box ideas - wine

7. Scrabble tiles shadow box

Scrabble tiles are a classic personalisation method in crafting, and we can see why! They look adorable. You can pick them up cheaply on Amazon or any craft store, and you can write whatever you like!

Find the Scrabble tiles shadow box tutorial from Cut out and Keep

shadow box ideas - scrabble

8. Baby shoe growth chart

We can't really think of a much more adorable way to show your kids growing than this! Keep their first pair of shoes and the two following ones and see the difference in size - you wont believe it.

Find the Baby shoe growth chart tutorial from Todays Creative Life

shadow box ideas - shoe

9. Shadow box using Cricut

If you do indeed own a Cricut machine, the possibilities with shadow boxes are endless! Follow along with this fabulous tutorial and create a lovely woodland scene.

Find the shadow box using Cricut tutorial from Jennifer Maker

shadow box ideas - cricut

10. Love shadow box

Spread the love with this sweet rose petal filled shadow box. Making the perfect gift for your Valentine can be tricky, but this homemade and thoughtful gift is sure to impress. You'll also find a free cutting template for the vinyl, or personalise it yourself.

Find the Love shadow box from Clumsy Crafter

shadow box ideas - love

10 shadow boxes to buy

If you don't fancy getting full DIY on the shadow box front, or don't own a Cricut machine for that personalisation, you might want to purchase one from a talented designer! More often than not these are low cost and can be personalised in whatever way you would like. They will also have a very professional look, if that is something you are after.

1. Ticket stubs shadow box

If you are a household that loves cinema, gigs, events and so on you need to have one of these boxes in your life! Drop your ticket stubs at the top of the shadow box and remember all the good times! The box is finished in stylish black wood, so would look elegant in any home, and the top of the box is cut out so you can fill it with not just ticket stubs but corks, bottle tops or any other trinkets. With this box, you'll also receive some vinyl stickers to personalise it.

shadow box ideas - tickets

2. Personalised baby shadow box

Celebrate the birth of a new baby with this sweet personalised shadow box frame. Choose what you'd like to have written inside, for example the birth weight, time and date make for a special gift.

Buy it now from Etsy, from £26.00

shadow box ideas - baby

3. Floral shadow box

Forget slaving over the Cricut machine making your own flowers, leave it to the professionals and get this personalised shadow box filled with pretty flowers and personalised with anything you'd like. There is a nice choice of flower and text colours too!

Buy it now from Etsy, £25.00

shadow box ideas - floral

4. Personalised letter shadow box

This colourful creation would brighten up any kids room! Personalise with a letter and name and receive it ready to hang up. Parts of the design have been curled upwards creating a 3D effect and revealing a gorgeous shiny background.

Buy it now from Etsy, £14.99

shadow box ideas - name

5. DIY shadow box

Are you looking to create most of the contents yourself but don't own a Cricut machine? Then check out these amazing shadow box kits, which contain the frame, and flat packed flowers ready to be folded. This way you are able to arrange your own flowers for a completely unique look.

Buy it now from Etsy, £25.00

shadow box ideas - diy

6. Harry Potter shadow box

If you know someone who is totally mad about Potter then this magical shadow box might just be for them! The paper cut silhouette shows the Hogwarts castle, Hedwig, wizards on brooms and much more. It also lights up, bonus!

Buy it now from Etsy, £25.99

shadow box ideas - hp

7. Wedding guest book shadow box

Put a twist on the traditional guestbook with this wooden hearts shadow box. Your guests can each sign a heart with a special message and drop it into the box. This makes a lovely keepsake from your big day and is ready to display at home for years to come.

Buy now from Etsy, from £45.59

shadow box ideas - wedding

8. Disney light up shadow box

One for all you Disney fans out there! This beautiful light up shadow box would add a touch of magic to any home. Personalise it to celebrate weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and much more!

Buy now from Etsy, £30.00

shadow box ideas - disney

9. Pebbles family shadow box

Celebrate your family with this cute handmade pebble shadow box complete with personalisation and a painted backdrop! You can personalise however you wish to celebrate a variety of occasions, you can even include your pets. The seller also has a whole host of other pebble designs to choose from, if you had something specific in mind.

shadow box ideas - pebbles

10. Heart balloon shadow box

The perfect gift for valentine's, impress your other half with this adorable heart balloon shadow box which can be personalised with names and dates too! The design looks 3D thanks to the pretty folded hearts.

Buy it now from Etsy, £15.00

shadow box ideas - hearts

We hoped you enjoyed our round-up of the best shadow box ideas, and have found something to spark your imagination. whether you're going DIY or have fallen in love with another designer's work, one thing is for sure you'll love admiring it once it's up on your wall! If you are looking for similar projects or inspiration try our paper cutting templates, which work fabulously for shadow box projects. We also have lots of other crafts for you to try, get inspired with our favourite round ups: 5 minute crafts, latest craft trends or free craft patterns.


Katie Dolan
Katie DolanDigital Assistant, Gathered

Katie Dolan edits our needlework sections, focusing on our embroidery and cross stitch articles, as well as making videos for our arts and crafts projects. Katie runs her jewellery business, Ophelia Jewellery Art, on Etsy, where she sells beautiful resin-pressed flower earrings. She has a wide range of craft interests including embroidery – she particularly loves all things pop culture and a less traditional approach – The Simpsons and Rick & Morty are among her favourites to embroider. She has recently completed a silversmith workshop and hopes to expand her jewellery business with these new skills. When she’s not crafting, she’s usually fuelling her Harry Potter addiction with a Sunday film marathon and a couple of butter beers!

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