In the past I’ve had mixed feelings about shadow boxes, they’re used to display memorabilia, sports jerseys or shell collections, that sort of thing. I’ve come around on this style of frame for wall displays now that I see them in a new light. If the subject matter of the shadow box is simple, I’m in.
I wanted to change up the mantel scene with a creative new art project. I decided on palm leaf shadow box art after spying this black and linen version at Pottery Barn. I gathered some faux palm leaves and an artificial monstera leaf, painted them shiny black, mounted them on linen and displayed them in shadow box format to create high contrast dimensional art.
I found a smaller shadow box at Michaels (art on the right) but couldn’t find an affordable large size shadow box for the palm leaf trio, so I made a shadow box using an IKEA RIBBA frame and trim from Lowe’s. Details on how below.
There are several shadow box art displays you can buy, many of them at a high price. My inspiration was the black palm leaf from Pottery Barn, but it costs $399.
gold palm / white palm
golden palm trio
Those other versions are expensive too, so I decided to recreate the look (and add my own spin) for a lot less. My cost was $50 for each piece.
Supplies to recreate: faux palm stems; spray paint; shadow box or IKEA RIBBA frame + ¾” trim from home improvement store; linen fabric; spray adhesive; masking tape; hot glue + hot glue gun; garden shears to trim faux stems.
I found some larger scale artificial palm stems. I had the palm leaf trio already, I estimate the same size similar to these costs between $5-8. The monstera leaf was $13 with a coupon from Michaels. I spray painted all of them gloss black and let them dry overnight.
The shadow boxes are backed in linen fabric (find it at any fabric store) and secured with spray adhesive. Spray the adhesive to the thick board backing that comes with the shadow box or frame and smooth the fabric so it’s flat. Secure the edges of the linen to the back of the board with masking tape.
Arrange the painted stems on the linen board at the angle you prefer then glue the painted stems to the board.
I bought at 16×20 shadow box at Michaels for the monstera leaf so I just reassembled it. For the larger piece, I made the frame with an IKEA picture frame.
The RIBBA frame has a wide edge so if you add lattice trim to the interior you can create a shadow box with either ¾” or 1” with wood strips from a home improvement store. I bought 8 ft. of both the 1” lattice and the ¾” pine bead because I wasn’t sure which would work better. Turns out, both work.
Using the 1” lattice will give you more space for your dimensional artwork inside the frame but you’ll need more masking tape on the back to secure the linen covered back to the frame.
I chose the ¾” pine bead so I could set the linen covered back inside the frame. I painted it black to match the interior of the frame and glued it to the inside of the RIBBA frame.
The trim allows you to set the linen backed board on top of it to create a shadow box for dimensional art. The RIBBA frame size I used was 19×27”, but you could make a shadow box with any size RIBBA frame.
Once I set the linen backed board inside, I secured the back with masking tape.
That’s the process to create a shadow box with an IKEA frame. Paired with the shadow box I bought at Michaels, the two make an interesting dimensional art display!
This project would look equally as beautiful in white too!
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