Building a Shadowbox for an Heirloom

My Crappy House
by My Crappy House
4 Materials
6 Hours

My grandma made me an afghan when I was born. (She actually started it thirty years before I was born, but that's a story you can read in the full blog post right here.)

Thirty years, plus however old I am (old), means this afghan is a bona fide antique and it was falling apart. So I had this idea to just save a piece of it for display and let the rest go. Having it in a bag in a closet certainly wasn’t doing it any justice. I talked about it with my mom and she thought grandma would approve.

I carefully separated the corners and some border pieces so that I could reassemble it all into a mini version for framing.

I actually crocheted the pieces back together myself, so there’s a little bit of my work mixed in here with grandma’s. I think that’s pretty neat.

While I did want it behind glass to protect it, I didn’t want it squished, so I needed a shallow shadowbox. (A shallowbox?) I decided to make one myself, because I can literally do anything. (Yes, even brain surgery. I wouldn’t offer any guarantees on the result, but I could do it.)

I started by picking out some molding I liked and making the frame face.

Then I made another frame out of pine to give me the depth of the box.

Then I ripped down some one-by-twos on my table saw to give the glass a place to sit and made a spacer for the “box” part of the shallowbox. I made you this little gif to show how it all comes together…

(If the GIF below isn't working, you can just click over to the blog to see it in action. The link is at the end of this post.)

I nailed, I patched, I sanded, I painted, I procrastinated, I sewed, I glued, I drilled, I screwed and here’s the photo you’ve been waiting for…

Just kidding. That’s the back. Here you go…

Grandma’s Afghan on Display

(Why, yes! I did make that afghan on the embarrassingly unmade bed! I got the crochet gene from grandma too. But not the bed making one.)

Guys, I did something really cool with the remainder of grandma’s afghan, but this post is kind of long now, so I’m going to save that for my next post. (Linked right there for your convenience...)

Suggested materials:
  • Decorative wood trim   (Home Depot)
  • Wood pieces for base   (Home Depot)
  • A piece of glass   (Hardware store)
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My Crappy House
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2 of 8 comments
  • Mary Njus Mary Njus on Feb 20, 2022

    My son is half Norwegian and half Mexican. I have some hardinger my mil made. Wish I had an afghan made by her. She was a very talented seamstress. She made my, as well as both sisters in law wedding dresses. Norwegians don’t like wasting things so I know your grandma would be pleased.

  • My Crappy House My Crappy House on Mar 12, 2022

    Thank you for this. I think she would be too. A handmade wedding dress is so special. I'm sure you cherish that piece of your mother in law