“Looking for antiques is what we love. Most anytime that we’re traveling, the car seems to find where there’s an antique shop.
A perfect Saturday afternoon for me consists of rummaging through antique stores and flea markets. I can get lost for hours in all the items that were once a cherished piece for someone else. Items with a history have always intrigued me. I was recently up in Peterborough NH visiting my in-laws where I visited the antique storefilled with collectibles of every sort. They had a vast inventory of french linens, gorgeous iron and zinc garden ornaments and vintage crystal doorknobs to name a few.
I wandered into a corner of the store where I found an old apothecary cabinet filled with, for lack of a better word, Tchotchke. There were old postcards, coins,train ticket stubs, Danish bicycle tags, even old eyeglass lenses! This was a treasure trove of history that needed to have it’s place in the sun! So, I picked up a couple and decided to frame them in shadowboxes for some 3 dimensional art installations that you all can replicate at home.
Don’t we all have that box or closet of stuff that we have collected on vacations, dinner’s out, school and beyond that we save for, well just to save? Why not turn that stuff into something? Anything can be turned into 3 dimensional art. How about board game pieces or matchbooks or keys? What about airplane wing pins kids used to get when flying? Or how about a napkin from a favorite bar or restuarant? I bought a couple eye glass lenses, some old domino pieces and some really cool Danish bike tags.
Follow these steps to make your shadowbox art.
1. Buy a cool shadowbox frame.
I bought mine at Target for the cool price of $9.99!
2. Assemble your supplies
1 shadowbox frame
Note on Shadowbox: I brought my frame to a glass supplier and had him cut a piece of glass to fit as the back panel. I liked the transparency of seeing through the glass to the wall that the piece can be hung on. But you can easily use the backing that comes with the frame.
Stickers (to mark center points)
3. Measuring for placement.
Find the center point on the back panel the items will be adhered too. My glass was a 10″ square, so 5″ was the center point. I had 3 items to place on the glass so I placed the other 2 equal distance apart on either side of the center item.
4. Adhering the items to the glass.
Before placing the items, apply some sticky dots to the item. I used a adhesive called Glue Dots. You can purchase them at most craft stores or online at website
5. Placing other items.
Once all your items have glue dots on them, simply place them equal distance from the center point.
6. Putting your frame back together
Now that your items are placed, turn the back panel over and place it in wooden frame. On all frames, there are metal pieces on the back that are needed to keep the back from falling out. Because I used glass as my back panel, I didn’t want to see the metal pieces from the front so I took some jeweler’s pliers and bent each one back and curled the end in.
Head out to an antique store or your closet of collectables and see what tchotchke you might find and turn it into art!
“I’m the oldest antique in town.” Norman Rockwell