How to Build a Medal Display Case


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.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Hand saw
  • Miter box
  • Skill saw
  • Craft knife
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Fabric glue
  • Wood glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Stain
  • Varnish
  • 1-inch by 2-inch lumber, 4 feet long
  • ¼-inch plywood, half sheet
  • ½-inch corkboard
  • Velvet
  • Straight pins
  • Frame hangers
  • 1/2-inch wood screws
  • 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.

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  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images
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