I watched him as he gathered up his uniform and tucked it under his arm carrying it, and his basic training yearbook, over to the couch for us to see. As I painted alongside where he sat, I listened as he shared stories from his days in Vietnam. The impact that it had on him, on his family.
When I finally had a chance to present him with this gift, a place to proudly display those tangible memories from days that are forever etched in his mind, it was such a joy. A joy to know that something as simple as creating a box, could give honor to these treasures of his.
Do you have a veteran in your life? This DIY Military Display Shadowbox is a great way to help preserve and display their uniforms, metals and so much more.
DIY MILITARY DISPLAY SHADOWBOX TUTORIAL
(this shadowbox is meant to be displayed on a tabletop due to it’s size)
Recycled 18 X 24 picture frame
18 X 24 replacement glass from Home Depot
4 pieces of 3 foot 1/2 inch X 4 inches red oak hobby wood
1 piece 1/4 inch X 3 inches red oak hobby wood
2 pieces sandable plywood (cut to: 1- 18 1/2 X 24 1/2 inches and 1- 18X 24 inches)
Paintable wood glue
Black Semi-gloss paint
Nails (for nail gun or finishing nails)
Loctite Glass glue
Spray semi-gloss acrylic varnish
Brass Letters (craft supply store)
Minwax Stain or wipe-on stain cloths
Nail Gun or Hammer
Miter Saw (or utilize Home Depot’s free woodcutting service)
1. Measure and cut (or utilize Home Depot’s woodcutting service) the larger red oak wood planks into four pieces to create the “box” portion of the shadow box. Sand edges.
2. Apply two coats of paint to inside and outside of box, allow to dry.
3.Apply wood glue to edges of vertical pieces and glue to the inside of horizontal pieces. Nail pieces into place and hold edges tightly together with painters tape until glue is dry.
4. Apply third layer of paint to inside and outside of box, allow to dry.
5. Glue and nail the larger piece of plywood to the back of your box. Paint inside and out, allow to dry.
6. Apply a layer of batting to smaller piece of plywood using fabric glue. Measure and cut black fabric to fit around edges of plywood and tack into place. Be sure to stretch fabric tight for a finished look.
7. Paint picture frame with 2-3 coats of paint, front and back and allow to dry.
8. Insert replacement glass and glue into place with glass glue, allow to dry.
9. Stain piece of wood with two coats of stain color of choice, I used dark mahogany.
10. When dry, glue brass letters into place of the military branch of choice.
11. Cut wood plaque to side and sand edge. Apply stain to the cut edge, allow to dry.
12. Apply 1-2 coats spray acrylic for a durable finish.
11. Glue wood branch plaque onto front of shadowbox with wood glue. Tape in place with painters tape until dry. Place picture frame “lid” on box.
The best part of this project was getting to present it to our veteran! Mr. Glover served in Vietnam and has never had a place to display his uniform and military memorabilia.
It was an honor to give him a special place to do that for everyone who visit their home to see! I want to thank the Home Depot, and The Home Depot Foundation, for giving me a chance to create another project in honor of our veterans! Make sure you check out my DIY Handprint American Flag too!