Graduation Shadow Box [FAQs]

Are you a recent graduate looking for a fun and unique way to display your achievements? Look no further than the graduation shadow box! This post will explore everything you need to know about these whimsical displays, from their history to how to create your own. So grab your cap and gown, and let’s dive in!

What is a graduation shadow box, and what is it used for?

It is a display case that typically showcases mementos and keepsakes from a graduate’s time in school. These boxes are often more profound than traditional picture frames, allowing for the display of three-dimensional items such as diplomas, awards, and sentimental trinkets.

They are a popular way for recent graduates to celebrate and commemorate their achievements. They make for a unique and personal addition to any living space and serve as a reminder of the hard work and dedication that went into earning a degree.

The history

The concept can be traced back to the medieval era when European nobles would display their family crests and coats of arms in elaborate, gilded frames. These displays were meant to showcase the wealth and prestige of the family and were often placed in prominent areas of the home for all to see.

Over time, the use of shadow boxes evolved and became more commonplace. They were used to display a wide range of items, from military medals to sports memorabilia.

The modern graduation shadow box as we know it today emerged in the late 20th century and has become a popular way for recent graduates to celebrate their achievements.

How to create

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started.

Gathering materials

Before you start creating yours, gathering all the necessary materials is essential. Of course, you’ll need a shadow box, which can be purchased at a craft store or online.

You’ll also need any mementos and keepsakes you want to include in your display, such as your diploma, graduation cap and gown, class ring, and other sentimental items.

Choosing a box

Consider the size and depth of the box. You don’t want the box crowded or cluttered, so measure your items and choose a box that will give them enough room to be displayed correctly.

Arranging mementos and keepsakes

Start by placing your diploma in the center of the box, and then arrange your other items around it. Be creative, have fun with the arrangement, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different layouts.


Choose a prominent place in your home to showcase your hard-earned achievements, such as on a bookshelf or mantel. Using a picture hanging kit, you can also hang it on a wall.

Ideas for what to include

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Your diploma and graduation cap and gown
  • Award certificates and medals
  • Photos from your time in school
  • Programs and tickets from special events or performances
  • Mementos and trinkets that hold special meaning to you
  • Artwork or projects you created during your time in school
  • Notes or letters from friends, family, or teachers
  • Your class ring or other jewelry

Think about what you want to remember and celebrate from your time in school, and choose items that reflect those experiences.

Maintenance and care

  • Avoid exposing your graduation shadow box to direct sunlight, which can fade or damage the items inside.
  • Keep your shadow box away from moisture and humidity, which can cause mold or discoloration.
  • Dust it regularly to keep it looking clean and tidy.
  • If your shadow box has a glass front, clean it regularly with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove any fingerprints or smudges.
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