Display Case for Marble Collection


May 31, 2005
I was chatting with my printer guy yesterday, and he mentioned he'd been thinking of having his marble collection framed in a shadow box. So I went home and immediately began researching options. I found several marble display boxes online that have hinged plexi or glass fronts, onto which I think I could stack a frame. I don't need to reinvent the wheel, since these are already available, but that's probably all I'm willing to do for him. Anyone have any other ideas? Thanks!
I've never framed marbles, but now that you mention it, I want to try these possible mounting methods:

1. Make sleeves of clear polyester film, just slightly larger than the marbles. The sleeve could be quickly and easily fashioned out of a strip of clear film, perhaps 3" wide, with its edges creased lengthwise and poked through long slots in the mount board. You could make several sleeves of different diameters if necessary, and they could be placed vertically, horizontally, or at odd angles. For removal of the marbles, plug the ends of the sleeves with something -- maybe a cotton ball or a cork? The frame lid could open, allowing the marbles to come out one end of the sleeves when the frame is tilted.

2. Another method would be to make a "nest" for each marble in a matboard background and hold them in place with regular glass. Acrylic or coated glass, such as UV filtering or anti-reflection, would be scratched by the marbles. Or maybe glass would scratch the marbles...?

3. If the frame is not too large -- say, no bigger than 12" square -- a third method might be to cut perfectly round holes in a piece of clear film, about 25% smaller than the marbles' diameter, and rig the sheet in a strainer to hold the marbles from above. That would be like transparent nests cut into the clear film.

Whatever works, this would be a fun project to display in the shop, to demonstrate how versatile framing can be for hobby collections.
Thank you very much for the topic link, Kit! I forgot to check archives, as well as the regular "search". (I had initially thought of using tulle, but discarded the idea. It would be okay for golf balls and other opaque objects, but wouldn't work with clear ones.) There are a lot of other possibilities offered in the link, and they would look better than the ready-mades.

Jim, thanks for the additional ideas. Do you think it might be possible to cut & snap out circle nests from sheet acrylic, then hold the marbles in place with 2 sheets of glass? I don't think I could safely draw measurements on the acrylic, tho'. Hmmmmm....
May we have the link to which you refer, Wendolene? I like to see the methods of people who have been there & done that. It fuels inspiration & avoids reinventing the wheel, so to speak.

Yes, I think acrylic would be a convenient choice for circle nests, if you could use a large drill or some kind of grinding attachment to make the nests. You could use colored acrylic, too.

For layout, you could draw everything on the masking paper/plastic, and drill right through that. Clear glass or another layer of acrylic could hold them in place.
Thanks, Jim. Kit gave the link in the second post in this thread. I have never used colored acrylic, but I'll check it out. 'Appreciate it!