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Make Your Own Display Boxes

Make Your Own Display Boxes
3 votes, 4.00 avg. rating (79% score)

I wanted to add spring colors to our walls and I had several small cardboard boxes on hand — so I made these display boxes. Display boxes (also called “shadowboxes”) can be arranged on the wall for showcasing a collection of small treasures.  The items in the boxes can be changed out as needed whenever you want new scenery. I chose various dolls to feature in my display boxes (for now) because they happened to be sitting around my art space, but you can display any small collection of vintage toys, trinkets, seasonal or holiday themed items, or nature walk discoveries.

Display boxes hung on the wall

Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
Display boxes hung on the wall


Materials to Make Display Boxes:

  • Recycled cardboard boxes — i.e. boxes used for card games, greeting cards and jewelry.  If you do not have recycled boxes on hand, you can purchase papier-mâché boxes from the craft store.
  • Various patterned scrapbook papers sized 12″ x 12 “
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • String or ribbon

Directions to Make Display Boxes:

  1. Place your cardboard box on a piece of scrapbook paper.
  2. Crease the paper along the edges of the cardboard box (on all four sides). This will create an outline of your box.
  3. Put the box aside and then fold the creases on the paper more tightly.
  4. Cut the four outermost corner squares from your paper.
  5. Trim edges of paper as needed (this will depend on the size of your box).
  6. Apply glue to the cross shaped paper you have made.
  7. Place the box back in the center of the paper and then wrap the box in paper.  Smooth out all the bubbles.

    The initial steps in wrapping your display box with patterned paper.

    Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
    The initial steps in wrapping your display box with patterned paper.

  8. Cut a square or rectangle from another piece of paper to go in the center of your display box and glue it into place.
  9. Flip the box over.
  10. Cut a piece of string to create a small loop for hanging.
  11. Cut a small square of paper to go over the bottom half of the string.
  12. Glue the bottom half of the string to the back of the display box.
  13. Glue the square of paper over the string.

    Final steps in making display boxes

    Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
    Final steps in making display boxes

  14. Allow the box to dry.
  15. Now your display box is ready to hang!
  16. Find a collection of items to put in your boxes and enjoy the new wall art!
    Finding items to go in the display boxes.

    Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
    Finding items to go in the display boxes.

    Display boxes can showcase favorite collectibles

    Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
    Display boxes can showcase favorite collectibles


Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Bonnie Thomas


Bonnie Thomas


Bonnie Thomas shares her ideas and instructions for simple Yankee crafts. Bonnie Thomas works full time as a child and family therapist in Southern Maine and is also an established artist and author. She has published two books via Jessica Kingsley Publishing, titled Creative Coping Skills for Children: Emotional Support Through Arts and Crafts Activities and Creative Expression Activities for Teens: Exploring Identity Through Art, Craft and Journaling. Don't miss her latest book, How to Get Kids Offline, Outdoors, and Connecting With Nature
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