DIY Keepsake Shadow Box For Under $15!

Some people love to decorate with keepsakes and traditionally I have never been one of those people. Perhaps because growing up, my family never had a ton of pictures ticker taped around our house. We lived in this beautiful, old Victorian home built in the late 1800’s and my mom kept everything on the inside very traditional; no big pictures, just a few pieces of art here and there. The same thing went for my late grandmother’s home, but for a very different reason.


Thanks internet, for this picture of my childhood house.

IMG_20151029_215735My grandmother suffered through terrible postpartum depression after my mother was born—so naturally, there were not a ton of pictures of my mother and aunt around. I took a little inspiration from my mom and grandmother for this project, especially my grandmother. When my grandmother passed away at the impressive age of 92, the funeral director gave me a flower from the bundle on top of her casket. I dried it out and decided to keep it—and I have for quite awhile.

I was walking through HomeGoods one day and saw a really beautiful shadow box on sale for $12 and was inspired to craft something that wasn’t just another boring picture, but at the same time paid homage to my grandmother.

The inspiration for your shadow box may be different from mine, as I am remembering a lost loved one, but the concept can be applied to any keepsake. Grab reclaimed, scrapbook, or any kind of paper really, push pins, and your keepsake, and get ready to be creative.


  • Gold calligraphy Pen
  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Shadow Box
  • Push Pins
  • Quote (I found one on my huge Inspirationals board on Pinterest)


  • My shadow box came with push pins and burlap to pin things to. I suggest adding material to the back, that way if you aren’t content with your final product a few years down the line, you can change it out easily.
  • Remove the pins and place them in an area where you won’t lose them.
  • Measure your paper, I left about a quarter-inch of fabric showing around the outside of the paper. Which meant I had to cut my scrapbook paper down some.
  • Grab your calligraphy pen and give your quote a practice run before you try the real thing. Also, when you apply the actual quote to the paper you plan on mounting I would use a ruler—when you are drawing in cursive it’s really easy to write crooked!
  • Once your paper is dry, arrange your paper and keepsake inside the shadow box. I was able to do this with 5 pins, however, you may need more depending on the weight of your keepsake. Mine was just a dried flower, so it really only took one pin to hold up.


I would have completed this project much sooner, but I took a really long time trying to figure out what quote I could use that would epitomize my grandmother. I ended up with something that sounds so much like her and my mom.

“Life is tough my darling, but so are you.”

My grandmother was an amazing lady. She tested as having one of the highest IQs for a female in Ohio when she was a young women. As I mentioned, she battled terrible postpartum depression and because mental health was very misunderstood in the 50s (and now), they tried a lot of things with her, one of which was a treatment that caused her to lose all her hair. She wore her wig with pride, had a sassy demeanor, was one of the most well read people in the world, and took guff from no one. Her best qualities rubbed off on my mom, who is amazing and one of the toughest women I know.

Coming from a family that didn’t believe anything less than exceeding expectations wasn’t always fun, especially when I was younger. Someone once made a comment (not to me, but definitely about me) that “at least their family loved and supported them.“—or at least that was the gist of it, you know how weird social media can be. I…was…furious. I took a hard look at my family, which isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I decided that I come from amazing minds; lawyers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, pediatric surgeons, farmers, teachers…how could I not be proud and encouraged by that?

I am blessed to be from a long line of smart, independent, tough women—and this shadow box will be a reminder of that and my grandmother. ❤


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