Shadow Box Framing (of a dental casting)


Feb 9, 2004
Manila, AR
Hi all, I have a peculiar thing to put into a shadow box and need some ideas on how to fix it

It is a dental impression of teeth!!!

Has anyone attached one before in a shadow box?
What would I use?
Thanks for any help

(edit: added descriptor to subject line of topic)

[ 10-15-2004, 01:03 AM: Message edited by: Marc Lizer ]
Yup, I did a shadowbox for the Dental Assistant program co-ordinator at the college where I taught and, if you are talking about the mouth casting of a full set of teeth, I did one that was cast in some kind of plaster looking stuff. There was a ridge around the base of the teeth at the gum line and I looped a piece of monofilament around that area, tied it fairly tight against the casting, and ran a couple of pieces of mono from that loop down behing the casting and through the backing board. It held the casting tight and you couldn't see the mono after all was said and done.

(And that was far from the grossist? part of that shadowbox that I had to deal with!!)

..................... Don't ask.

I'm not really sure what it is, since I dont' know what alganate is. But I would guess some type of plaster. It is very hard and clicks somewhat like cement.
Thanks, Debbe
Hey Framerguy!
Well, there doesn't appear to be any part of this I can loop anything through to attach it. It is
very solid job.
Is there any type of glue?

I'm not sure what yours looked like, but mine although I guess for an impressions looks good and to each his own, but it is pretty gross handling this thing! Kinda makes me want to gag!
But hey, it brings in the money!

Thanks again

Well, every mouth is a bit different but I had a ridge right at the gum line of the casting that stuck out far enough that I could wrap a piece of monofilament completely around the whole set of teeth. (Kinda like all the way around at the junction of the teeth and the gums. Yuck!)

Great idea, Ron! Why not just thread the floss through the gaps between the teeth as intended, then use the excess to stitch the whole thing to the backing? Tell the customer you were designing in "extra realism". You will be called a creative genius.
Sounds like a project you could really sink your teeth into...

I have a shadow box to do for a dental hygentist but the teeth she wants in the box are made from wax which she carved in school... I have no clue how to mount these!!!

Can you mount the wax castings on the bottom rail of the shadowbox? If so, maybe you could fasten them down with hot wax. It wouldn't be a solid "permanent" mounting but all you need on that bottom rail is a way to keep them in one place.

The florist next door to me has a wax pot that she heats up to affix floral arrangements together.

(Well, she does SOMETHING with that hot wax!)

You could drip some melted wax from a taper onto the rail and set the impressions into it before it hardens and that might hold it enough to get the box hung in place.

(I wouldn't suggest bouncing it around in the back of a van for half a day in the hot sun before the customer takes it home though.)

Dense, heavy objects will always be most safely
displayed if they are set in partial sinks, so
that the sink will take most of the weight of
the object. The materials mentione in the other
posts can be used to hold them in such a sink.
Dental floss does have the advantage of being softer than monofilament. Wax with wax makes sense, since similar materials should not react
and since it is so hard to get anything else to
stick to wax. None of the materials that is to
be framed, here, seem to be valuable in a monitary
or historic manner, so preservation is not paramount. The plaster item should be kept away from acids, from wood or wood based materials.

I dont' know what alganate is
Alganate is material used to make the mold of the mouth. Plaster is then poured into the mold to create a model that appliances etc. can be built on.

PS Father-in-law was an orthodontist.
Alganate is a compound made out of seaweed. It is available in powder form. When water is added, it thickens and then hardens (within 1-2 minutes) into a semi-rigid material that can be used as a mold.