For those who have enjoyed success in a high school sport, Olympic competition, or military service, what to do with their medals is a serious question. Building a shadow box to display the medals not only protects the medals from becoming lost or damaged, it also displays them in an attractive and visible way. A shadow box can be created to display a single medal or multiple awards. Custom shadow boxes can be ordered through framing companies, or can be built from a few simple woodworking supplies.
Cut two lengths of 1-inch by 2-inch lumber 12 inches long, and two lengths nine inches long, using a skill saw.
Square the ends of each piece using the miter box and a hand saw. The finished length of the 12-inch pieces should be 11 inches. The finished length of the 9-inch pieces should be 8 1/2 inches.
Cut an 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch rectangle from the 1/4-inch plywood, using the skill saw. This will be the back of the shadow box.
Create a rectangular frame, using the 11-inch lumber pieces for the length, and the 8 1/2-inch pieces for the width. Square each corner, and use the staple gun to attach the boards to one another. Staple the plywood to the back of the frame.
Stain and varnish the frame to give it a finished look and to protect the wood. Allow the frame to dry completely before working any further with the project.
Cut a rectangle of corkboard 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches. Use the craft knife to shave away at the edges until it just slides snugly into the frame. Remove the corkboard from the frame.
Cut a 9-inch by 12-inch inch rectangle of velvet. Wrap the velvet around the corkboard and use fabric glue to attach it to the corkboard permanently. Allow the glue to dry completely.
Slide the velvet-covered corkboard into the frame. It should fit snugly, but should not bulge. Glue the back of the corkboard to the plywood back of the frame, using wood glue.
Attach frame hangers on the top side of the back of the display case, using 1/2-inch wood screws. The two hangers should be located near the corners, one-half to three-quarters of an inch in from each end of the box.
Use straight pins pushed into the corkboard to hang the medals in the box.