Limit each box to just one object – and don’t worry, the display piece needn’t be particularly fancy or unusual – that plain white jug might not look like much on your benchtop, but when framed and grouped with a few other objects in simple block colours, it brings new life not only to the plain wall, but to the object itself.

What you will need

  • Thick pine board cut into the following pieces to form a box (hardware stores will cut pieces for you):
    – One 20 x 18cm piece for the back
    – Two 16.5 x 11.5cm pieces for the top and bottom and;
    – Two 20 x 11.5cm pieces for the sides
  • Wallpaper
  • Spray adhesive
  • White paint
  • Wood glue
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Picture frame hanging wire


When selecting your wallpaper to line your shadow box, choose a colour that contrasts with your objects for maximum impact. The design should be striking, but make sure it draws attention without being too distracting – you still want your objects to be the focal point of the overall display.

Cut the wallpaper to fit the back panel and mount with spray adhesive, gently smoothing down with a clean cloth. Paint each piece of wood (including sides, top and bottom, back and all edges) and allow to dry.

Spread glue along the short edges of the side, top and bottom pieces, then nail together, steadying the pieces on the tabletop against a wall as you hammer.

Spread a thin line of glue along the edges of the back panel and place on the box. Nail in place, being careful the nails do not pass through the side panels. Wipe away any excess glue.

Hammer nails halfway down each long side of the box and secure picture hanging wire around these to hang. Note: The final weight of the box and its contents should be no heavier than a substantial painting and frame.