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Shadow Box | IKEA Hacks

#3 of our most popular posts is a a look at a simple way to create some stunning room decor.

I was finally ready to start creating my wall collage in my office. I had a mish mash of things that I wanted to hang, two of which I needed to make a shadow boxes for. One was an amazing print I picked up at the OCAD student art store, and the other was vintage pencil tins my husband and I had found at an antique store (many many moons ago) and had done nothing with. So, with a bit of trial and error (there may have been a 4 am crash one morning, where upon I had to start all over again!), I created the shadow boxes and completed my wall collage.

By: Janet


Total Time Required: 1 hours (after materials collected)

Materials and Tools Required: 

– IKEA Ribba frames,  Michaels, Price varies

– 1 piece of self-adhesive foam core, Staples, $8.99

– Cutting matte

– Crafting knife / exacto blade

– Needle nose pliers

– Duct tape

– Scrapbook paper (if required)




To Start: Remove the matboard and backing board from the frame (you can leave the glass) and, using your needle-nose pliers, pull out all of the metal tabs from the frame edge.

Next: Making the Shadow Box Spacer Put all of the material back into the frame including the backing board. Measure the distance from the back edge of the frame to the backing board. This will be the depth/height of your spacer. Measure along  the inside edge of the frame. This will be the length of your spacer. Use these measurements to cut two foam core spacer pieces, remove press board and insert into the frame. Then measure the two remaining edges from the inside edge of your newly placed foam core spacers and repeat process.


Then: Inserting Your Artwork You can have a bit of artistic creativity here. My OCAD print had beautiful scalloped edges I wanted to emphasize. Instead of mounting flat in my shadow box I used some scraps of foam core to elevate it from the back of the frame creating a bit of drama with the shadow. With this frame my print was larger than the matte provided with my Ribba frame so I just reused it. With my vintage tins, they were the wrong shape for the Ikea mat so I used some vintage looking scrap book paper I had laying around to give it some extra flair. Good luck and have fun!

Shadowbox6 copy

Finally: Securing the Back This is where I ran into trouble. IKEA frames are incredibly hard so it’s difficult to secure the back. I tried putting back in the clips that I removed earlier, no luck, I tried hammering finishing nails, again no luck, I tried carpet tape because it’s really tacky (this was the 4 am crash I heard when the front fell off the back of the frame). Finally I tried the ever-elegant duct tape. So far it’s been a week and the frames are still secured nicely to my wall. I hope this tutorial helps you to get things on your walls as well, good luck and have fun!

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love it 🙂 I am trying to put together a monogram wall at the moment…but with only 3 ‘s’ so far it’s not going too well lol – I don’t think less is more quite works in my case 😉

    February 28, 2014
  2. Janet #

    I really had no idea what I was doing, I just grabbed a bunch of different sizes, shapes and frame styles while at Ikea. My office is small so I kept them to white, then I laid them out on my floor to figure out what was the best arrangement. It was nerve wracking hanging the first frame because then I was committed!

    February 28, 2014

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