View Full Version : Where to find shadow box molding stock?

06-19-2016, 05:31 PM
Hi all, haven't been here for a while but I've been busy. :) I hope you all have been doing well.

I've been putting together some shadow box displays, but the boxes are kind of expensive- $13 to $18 a piece at places like Michaels, and that's for the littlest ones they have (6x6).

Because they cost so much I've been making them from scratch, and I've managed to make some fairly nice shadow box frames from 2"x1/2" pine stock, but finishing them is quite a bit of work.

So....I'm looking for a source of raw stock for making shadow boxes, preferably something that's melamine-covered or that comes with a good, durable painted finish.

Long digression follows...
Making the frames is easy- I take a 2"x1/2" stick of finished pine (8' long) and run it through the table saw with the 2" side flat, cutting a 1/8" groove along the entire piece about 3/16" or so from one edge (this is to make a groove for the glass).

Then I run the entire stick across the router, milling a 1/4" deep inset on the back side for the backing board to fit down into.

Finally I use a miter saw and cut it into pieces 6" long or so (for a square box). When assembled the glass fits snugly in the groove and is kind of "sealed in" when the four sides are glued together. I glue them together with a 90-degree clamp.

I like this method/design because when it's glued together the glass is locked into the frame, it can't fall out, and the glass/groove technique helps to align the pieces nicely. They actually turn out pretty nice if I do say so myself. :)

It's not so bad to do all that and it's inexpensive, about $1 to $2 for the box and glass. (I have lots of scrap glass laying around and I just cut it to size.)

But like I said about 5,000 words ago, finishing the boxes is a pain in the butt. I have to mask off the glass (both sides) and then sand, prime, sand, prime, sand, prime, sand, prime, sand, prime, sand, prime, sand, prime etc etc until I hate the entire universe and everything in it. Then I finally spray paint the finished assembly inside and out.

I could save a ton of time and turn out a much nicer box if I could find a source of melamine bar stock or something similar, but searching around on the net hasn't revealed any good sources.

So, with all that said, does anyone have any suggestions as to where to find some inexpensive shadow box frame stock?

06-19-2016, 08:59 PM
What about moulding? Think chair rails, crown moulding, floor moulding, door and window frame moulding, etc. It comes primed ready to paint and you have the added benefit of choosing plain or a design. Would something like that work? I've used some of the narrower ones for custom picture frames.


06-20-2016, 06:31 PM
I think what I might do is buy some of these:


...and then mill out a frame to go around the sides, hiding the fact that it's a plastic box. Or maybe paint the inside of the frame to give it some depth. I'll probably run out this week and buy a couple for test pieces and see how they work.