DIY Shadowbox: Michele’s Pink Butterflies

Years ago, I worked as a professional picture framer and I built and assembled shadowboxes quite a bit. I saw a huge variety of items come into my shop for framing… sentimental clothing, sports jerseys, military medals, newborn baby items, license plates, spoons, you name it. Once I even framed a soprano saxophone!

Since becoming a mama, I have seen some wonderful shadowboxes for nurseries and kids’ bedrooms. A shadowbox is a good way to preserve some precious items from when your baby was born and the newborn period such as a hospital bracelet, newborn hat, going home outfit, christening gown or suit, first baby shoes, or a first pacifier. A shadowbox and can also be a great way to commemorate a big event, a family vacation or even just to document something special in your child’s life.

Having a custom shadowbox professionally made can be expensive. The price will vary considerably on the materials used, the number of items in there, and the overall size of the frame; larger will be more expensive. But it will be GORGEOUS and all of your items will be mounted properly with acid-free materials and UV glass will be used to protect everything from fading. Ideally, your shadowbox will look just as lovely in 20 years as it does right now when it’s custom made by a pro.

But, if you can’t, or don’t want to, spend an arm and a leg you can DIY your own shadowbox and hopefully be able to preserve the items in there.

For this pink and lime green shadowbox, all of the materials came from Jo-Ann’s. These are the materials I used:

  • 12×12 white shadowbox frame
  • 1 – 12×12 piece of lime green polka dot scrapbook paper (I managed to only use one sheet)
  • 1 pink floral fabric quarter
  • 1 package of mini clothespins (from the scrapbooking section)
  • 2 painted wooden butterflies (from the wood crafts section)
  • 1 spool of lime green ric rac (from the fabric notions section)
  • acid free double-sided tape
  • Krazy Glue
  • paper cutter
  • scissors

For this frame, the walls of the shadowbox are made of a thin, inner frame that is removable. This is ideal for me, because I wanted to exchange the glass for a piece of UV Conservation Clear glass, ordered from the custom framing counter at Jo-Ann’s or from a custom picture framing shop.

Over time, everything in your shadowbox can fade if it’s not protected. Fabrics fade faster than paper, even if they aren’t exposed to sunlight. Regular home lighting can cause fading over time too. When you are framing something that isn’t replaceable, it’s totally worth spending a few bucks on UV glass to keep your items protected.

When you get your Conservation Glass home, clean it with an ammonia-free glass cleaner and a soft towel and make sure that you are careful with it. The side with UV coating has writing on the edge of the glass, and it scratches very easily. That side will go on the inside of your shadowbox, facing the items.


To get started, I measured the width of the inner frame and cut strips of scrapbooking paper to fit. They were 3/4″ wide. With acid-free, double-sided tape I carefully added the polka dot paper to the side walls. I wanted green polka dot walls for this shadowbox.

I printed the two black and white photos from my computer at 5″ x 3.5″ and then backed them with a 6″ x 4.5″ piece of scrapbook paper. Then I adhered a smaller piece of foam board to the back of each photo to give a look like they are floating on top of the pink fabric.

On my computer, I typed out the letters MICHELE and drew triangles around them. I printed the page out and cut out each triangle. Figuring out the sizing took some trial and error. I guessed on the sizing and lucked out on the second print.

Then I adhered each one to the remaining pieces of polka dot scrapbook paper and trimmed a 1/4″ border with the ruler on my paper cutter.

Then I attached the triangle letters to a piece of ric rac with the mini clothespins. They felt secure enough that I didn’t add any tape to the clothespins.

Next I ironed the pink floral fabric to get the creases out. Then, using acid-free, double sided tape I adhered it to the backer board that came with the shadowbox, wrapping it around the back and securing it with more double-sided tape.

Once I had all of the items ready to go… photos, pennant banner, hospital bracelet, and wooden butterflies, I laid them out onto a 12×12 surface to get a better idea of the layout I wanted.

Then I adhered everything down using my acid-free, double-sided tape. To adhere the ric rac pennant banner, I used some Krazy glue and stuck the ric rac to the back of the board then secured it with a scrap piece of paper. There is no Krazy glue on the banner in the front of the board.

After washing the glass with an ammonia-free glass cleaner, I put it all together, trying to get rid of any dust. I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

Birth photography by Cari Hollis Photography

This was so much fun to make that I’m going to make a few more. So stay tuned for more DIY shadowbox tips, ideas and designs.

3 Responses to DIY Shadowbox: Michele’s Pink Butterflies

  1. Pingback: Awesome DIY Shadow Box Ideas - MotivaNova - MotivaNova

  2. Hello, which font did you take?

  3. Hi Monika! The font I used is called Chevalier Becker Stripes. You can do a quick Google search and find it for free. Good luck!

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