Shadow Boxing


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Feb 23, 2004
Kennebunk, Maine
I'm working on a shadow box and there are a couple of items that I'm a little stuck on:

One object is a small 2"x3" metal frame containing an old sentimentally valuable photo. I added an unbuffered 2ply mat, 4ply backing and UV glass to the mini-frame so we're good there, but I'm torn about how to attach it to the suede backing.

In the presentation, this mini-frame needs to be elevated by a small piece of foam board.

There are no little loops or anything on the frame to wire it through so I'm wondering if I can... ahem... glue it to the backing? I'm thinking of lining the inside on the mini-backing board with aluminum barrier tape so that migration won't be an issue. Will 969 hold? Will hot glue crystalize and give? Will, ahem... silicone hold and/or off-gas?

The other object is a dilapidated pocket watch which also needs to be elevated and I'd like to avoid Mylar IF I can. Since it's broken beyond repair, I tried a magnet, but it's not quite strong enough. I'm concerned about it popping off with one good jar or even turning the frame over to shoot the brads.

Any thoughts?
Could you sew the objects down with monofilament thread?

How about mylar strips? I know you said you didn't want to use mylar, but some strips might do the trick.

If the little frame has a backer, maybe you could use Cornerweld glue. I don't think it would off-gas as much as silicone does.

For the pocket watch, what about that netting framers use for mounting golf balls, etc.? I forget what it's called. Jim Miller wrote an article in a recent framing magazine that mentioned it.

If the little frame is going inside the shadowbox, it wouldn't need glass, right? And since you are supplying the backing, I don't see any reason why it couldn't be glued to the foam board. Without glass, it will be lighter and easier to glue.

I would probably sew the watch with monofiliment - a six-pound test should be strong enough to hold it and fine enough not to be noticible. I've tried stabilitex and tulle. Nobody - not me, not the customers - liked the look of it.

Originally posted by Kittyfaces:
... I'd like to avoid Mylar IF I can...
What problem do you foresee with the use of clear polyester film, such as Melinex 516, which replaced Mylar-D in 2001?

I've tried stabilitex and tulle. Nobody - not me, not the customers - liked the look of it.
There are appropriate -- and inappropriate -- uses for every product available to us. What did you mount with Stabilitex and tulle that was unacceptable? Also, what suitable alternative did you select?

When mounting lightweight, matte-finish or textured items such as papers and fabrics, my experiences with Stabilitex and Crepeline have all been good. Tulle is good for things that nearly match it -- like white tulle on a golf ball.

I can't imagine good results with any of these fabfrics on a smooth, shiny object such as a watch.
a word of caution on the usage of "sew the watch with monofiliment".....that stuff actually becomes brittle and breaks down after a couple a time. Forego the 'you cant see it' of mono with "it anit ever gonna break" of one of the 'super' braids, such as SpiderWire(comes in a green & gray that can be marker colored to various colors)... that stuff is 30# test & 6# diameter--thats only slightly larger than( some 'heavy' sewing threads--Ive actually had 3 people in a 22' boat in a 5mph current hanging from my rod-caught a tree limb- and it didnt even phase the stuff!!!). only drawback I can see--it doesnt like sharp corners(but then what tiedown does???).

final thought--abrasion is not the ONLY reason the fishing pros respool every night of a tourny -- its that they do NOT trust the integrity of the mono line(from being pulled on by all those great big nasty 1#-8# fish!!!)---and that means all size--up to 15-25# test(those are pretty fat lines).
I have done many shadowboxes with old objects like these in them.

I usually sew them down. A grayish brownish cotton/poly thread blends in with any metallic object. I have sewn pocket watches, knives, forks, spoons, hat pins, eyeglasses, pocket knives and hat pins this way with great success. Does the pocket watch have a knob or ring on top? There ya go, if it does.

With old frames, I have also used a backing on the frame with two horizontal slits. I threaded a strip of mylar through the slits and threaded those through corresponding slits in whatever is behind it. You could wrap the mylar strips around the slightly smaller piece of FC backing and tape it like heck to the back of it. Then glue that fc to the backer. It is easier than it sounds.

edie the stitchandb!tch goddess
In support of what was just said, the cotton thread has many advantages. It is softer than
synthetics and is less UV vulnerable. It is easier
to tie and it can be secured with water-based