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How to Make Shadow Boxes

Design on a Dime host Kristan Cunningham shares how to make illuminated shadow boxes to showcase simple holiday greenery.


three 16" x 20" picture frames (without backing or glass)
1" x 2" pine
rope lighting
plastic U channels
chiffon fabric

Figure A


  1. Cut the 1" x 2" pine into 12 pieces and attach four pieces to the back of each frame to create a "lip" around the perimeter of the frame (figure A). This will house the rope lighting.

  • Drill a hole in the bottom of the box to accommodate the rope lighting cord.

  • Figure B

  • Secure plastic U channels inside the box and thread the rope lighting through each (figure B).

  • Figure C

  • Hot-glue chocolate-colored chiffon fabric to the inside of the frame, which creates a screen for the display elements (figure C).

  • Figure D

  • Cut chocolate-colored mat board the same size as the back opening and attach a pine branch or holly berry branch to each. Attach the board to the back of the box with screws (figure D).

  • Figure E

  • Cover the edges of the box with two-inch decorative ribbon (figure E).
  • Cut a piece of ribbon and fold into a loop to hold the box to the wall. Cut another piece and attach at the bottom to form "tails" to conceal the lighting cord.

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