How to make an envelope box shadow box

Don't throw away those old empty envelope boxes. Use them to make great shadow boxes for displaying your collectibles and photos with these tips and instructions.

Most people use quite a few envelopes after a period of time but instead of throwing away the empty box recycle it into something beautiful for your home. The box has to be in perfect shape without dents or tears. Cut a rectangle out of the front of the box leaving about an inch between the rectangle and the edge of the box. Make a set of the boxes, one with a rectangle shape cut out, one oval and one box with two squares.

Make a background for the shadow box by slipping in a piece of colorful paper, foil, wallpaper, cloth or just painting it. Or you can use something that actually belongs in the display, like the logo from a school football jersey, for the background.

Arrange small personal items inside the boxes. Photos, lockets, strands of beads, achievement ribbons and other collectibles should be arranged where they can plainly be seen through the window. Have a theme in mind, however general. Don't mix athletic items with a birthday party photos all in the same box. Instead make a separate box for each theme. Try outlining photos with ribbon or lace. Make some items stand out more by gluing a small bottle lid to the back of the box then gluing the collectible on top.

The decoration for the box will make all the difference. Beautiful wallpaper, dimensional paint or textured fabric will prevent it from being recognized as a simple cardboard box. Dimensional paints are especially nice for this project since they make most surfaces appear to be made of stucco or rock. Decoupage pictures from magazines onto the box for a personal touch to the shadowbox. Before decorating the outside of the box place a piece of laminate paper over the rectangular opening from the inside. If you save throw-away items for future craft projects you may have a piece of clear plastic like what is found on many store-purchased products to allow you a glimpse of the product. This clear sheeting is perfect for the project so long as it bears no scratches.

For particular themes you can use something else besides the clear plastic. For instance, if the display box contains a soccer theme use netting over the box opening. Do the same for a nautical theme. You don't have to put a cover over the opening. You can simply outline the opening with rope, tiny shells, fabric paint or another craft supply.

Make the box completely different by cutting the opening and attaching a picture frame front with its glass. The frame needs to be lightweight for the box to accommodate it. Only certain shapes and sizes of frames will work for this project so take the measurements of the envelope box, or another box, before purchasing the frame. Arrange the items then glue the glass and frame onto the front of the box. You can glue the back of the frame to the back of the box for a standing shadowbox arrangement. Add a little more flare by using a small object that goes along with the theme of the box to attach to the picture frame corner.

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