shadow box to preserve military honors

Designing a shadow box to hold military pins and medals

This frame measuring 16 x 16 inches was created for one of our Veterans who served in both the Army and Air Force.  A dramatic black velvet background was chosen to display this unique collection of medals from each of the two branches of service. They were displayed in order of their branch and significance.  A simple 3/4-inch faced and 2-inch deep Mahogany moulding was turned into a shadow box by lining the side walls of the frame in the same manner as the background was created.

 The black velvet was adhered to a backing of 1/4-inch acid free foam board, the sides were made the same but as strips to fill the space between the glass and background while also holding the glass in place.  The medals had various pins and clips that were pushed through the foamcore and either clipped at the back or held in place with glue.  The layout was, of course, the hardest part as each piece had to be lined up and spaced to create a pleasing order.  UV filtering glare proof glass was used to both protect the color of the ribbons and make for clear and easy viewing.  This one was a challenge in its complexity and the number of components to be displayed.

  • Charles Kemp

    I think it is really cool to have a pin box like this. There is a lot that you can do with them and really make them look like time capsules. I think it would really change how your memories are.


    One word of advice with these Shadow box medal displays – If you happen to live in a humid area or will be storing these items in a basement / garage it is advisable to include a small sachet of Silica gel within the frame. This will “soak up” the moisture in the air and prevent the medals from tarnishing or corroding.

    If you are having trouble identifying the medals you possess may I take the opportunity to propose you use where you can compare your medals to originals. If you cant find the particular medal or badge you possess there is an active “Unidentified” section where the community will be pleased to share their knowledge!