Bullets & Matches in a shadowbox OK?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Apr 8, 2004
Hi Everybody,

Got an order for a crazy shadowbox, some of the items are rolling papers, snack wrappers and other not so politically correct items.
It is going to be fun!!!
My question is they want to use a matchbook and 2 small caliber bullets.
Should I cut off the match heads and close the book or leave everything as is.
It won't hang in any kind of direct sun light.
What do you think,Thank you in advance... B.
It is nearly impossible to get a bullet to "fire" without hitting the firing tab accurately and with the proper amount of force. Sunlight would not get one hot enough to go off, but fire will. If the house is on fire, there is more to worry about than a couple of bullets in a shadowbox.

The match heads I would clip off just for the heck of it.
Yeah, cutting off the match heads probably would be a good idea no matter what else is placed in the shadowbox. Stranger things than a book of matches mysteriously igniting have been known to happen in our crazy world! :eek:

I have done a few retirement shadowboxes for police and military which had bulleted casings mounted in them but these guys have the good sense to hand load the bullet heads in spent casings. (they look like the real mccoy until you see the dented primers.) If they are .22 cal. bullets, that may not be possible because of the construction of the original cartridges.

(Try to handload a .22 LF and you'll understand what I mean.)

Just as a theory, you COULD have a problem if there were a suncatcher hanging across the room AND the sun went through it at just the right angle AND it concentrated a beam onto the shadowbox hanging on the far wall (directly onto the book of matches avec match heads), AND they ignited much as they would using a magnifying glass, AND ............ well, you get the idea.

Anything is possible and I wouldn't want to be in the Guiness Book as the first framer in history to set some guy's house on fire with a shadowbox!!

(Boy, those glue fumes must really be getting to me this afternoon!)

It seems more likely that the chemicals in the matches would damage the other contents than that they would burst into flame.

Is it possible to damage a candy wrapper???

I'll vote with the off-with-their-heads contingent.

I agree with everybody, to a degree. Jerry's right. It takes an almost dead center, hard blow to the primer to fire a centerfire cartridge.

I'd make sure I perfectly understood how, and where they want the bullets to 'mesh' with the matchbook.

You might try wetting the match heads only, then let them air dry. After they get wet, even after they dry, it's very difficult to strike one. And it's gonna be sealed inside a shadowbox anyway.

Dang! I sure hope you post a picture when it's finished! My curiousity is killing me! Good luck.

EDIT! On second thought, after having reloaded thousands of various rounds, I'd be inclined to just do it.
To contain the chemicals in the match heads, you
might dip them in dilute acrylic medium. If they
have any value as a collectible, having the heads
on might help to maintain that. People do keep
large collections of match books in jars, with
little evident damage.