DIY Shadowbox: T’s Fire Truck

As I shared in a previous post, I used to be a professional picture framer. I shared a pink and lime green butterfly DIY shadowbox earlier. Now I want to share one I made with a fire truck theme for a little boy.

Over the next few months, I will try and post a handful of different DIY shadowbox designs and ideas. If you don’t want to just keep your precious newborn items stored in a box, a shadowbox is a wonderful way to preserve and display them.

All of these materials were purchased at JoAnn’s using a couple of coupons to keep costs low.


  • 1 – 12 x 12 black shadowbox frame
  • 1 – 12 x 12 piece of blue chevron scrapbook paper
  • 2 – 12 x 12 pieces of solid red scrapbook paper
  • big, wooden letter T
  • toy fire truck
  • hospital bracelet
  • newborn hat
  • photo paper
  • acid-free double-sided tape
  • foam board
  • paper cutter


For this ready-made shadowbox, I wanted to just have a piece of scrapbook paper for a background, so I peeled off the spongy material that came with the backing of the frame. It peeled off very easily.

This shadowbox frame had a small removable frame that acted as the walls of the shadowbox. I love these shadowboxes because they make it easy for me to replace the glass with UV Conservation Clear Glass that I buy from a custom framing shop.

I wanted the walls of my shadowbox to bed red, so I measured and cut strips of red scrapbook paper to fit and adhered them with acid-free, double-sided tape. I tried my best to make sure the seams were snug in the corners. It involved measuring and trimming a few times.

For the infant hat, I cut a piece of acid-free foam board that was roughly the same size as the hat, and inserted it inside the hat to give it a little volume. I made sure it was slightly shorter than the hat so you couldn’t see any foam board at the edge. I stuck a couple of straight pins into the back of the foam board to secure the hat to it. 

Using a needle and white thread, I sewed the hat down to the backing, hiding the stitches in the fire truck applique and underneath the folded section of the hat.

When mounting clothing that cannot ever be replaced (like your baby’s 1st newborn hat or going-home outfit), I really prefer to use pins and sew them down to the backing instead of simply using adhesive. It’s more conservative and it’s reversible if you ever need to remove them from the frame with no risk of adhesive residue being left behind. 

In the event the backing of the frame is simply too solid to poke a needle through, then you can do one of two things: 1. Use double-sided, acid-free tape. 2. Replace the backing with a piece of acid-free foam board. 

I printed the two black and white photos from my computer at 3.5″ x 5″ and snipped the corners with a punch that does round corners. Then I backed them with a piece of 4″ x 5.25″ scrapbook paper. I cut a smaller piece of foam board and adhered it to the back of each photo so it will look like it’s floating.

Next I laid out all of the items on the background paper to get an idea where I wanted everything placed.

With some acid-free tape I adhered the big letter T to the bottom wall along with the hospital bracelet and toy fire truck.

I cleaned the glass with ammonia-free glass cleaner and carefully put the frame back together. 

Birth Photos by Krista Lucas Photography

All done!

2 Responses to DIY Shadowbox: T’s Fire Truck

  1. I love this idea and have wanted to do it for a long time, but was never sure how to do it. Thanks so much for the DIY. Now I can do one of my own!

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