How to Display Baby Clothes: Shadow Box Tutorial
How to Frame Baby Clothes
Many parents like to hold on to various items from their baby’s childhood, including drawings, toys, and sometimes clothing. Although keepsakes are usually kept tucked away in a box, some parents prefer to use them as decorative accents for their child’s room. You can display your child’s baby clothes in a unique way by framing them.
Choosing and Preparing the Baby Clothes
Choose clothing that represents something special.It can be clothes in which the baby was baptized, the clothes in which she left the hospital, or a piece of clothing that is particularly beautiful and sweet. The item could have sentimental value for you, or you could choose a piece that you think is the prettiest or cutest.
- Add the important details. In addition to clothing, you can add a photo of your child wearing those clothes. You could also put the shoes that went with the clothes on display next to the item of clothing.
Wash and press the baby clothes.It is very important that the baby clothes be thoroughly washed and dried before they are framed. Even something that is not visible, such as perspiration, can ruin the clothes over time. If it is possible, the clothes should also be pressed to remove any wrinkles so that they look impressive inside the frame.
- When pressing the clothes, do not use any chemicals, as these could cause the clothes to become discolored over time. Instead, a light spritz of water can be used to remove stubborn wrinkles.
Pick a type of display frame.There are two basic ways to frame baby clothes, which will be covered in the next two sections. It is mostly a personal choice as to the desired appearance of the finished display. However, you also needs to take into consideration the thickness of the clothes.
- First, the parent can use a regular picture frame. This method can be used for very thin or small pieces of clothing. If the parent chooses to use this method for framing larger baby clothes, only a small section of the clothing will be visible. Very thick clothes do not work well in this type of frame because they are too bulky when folded to fit the frame. Using a picture frame is covered in Method 2.
- Another way to frame baby clothes is to use a shadow box with a glass front. This will display the entire front of the article of clothing and can even be used to display an entire outfit. This is also the better method for framing baby clothes that are thick and hard to fold. Using a shadow box is covered in Method 3.
Using a Picture Frame
Choose which side of the clothing you wish to display.When using this method, you will need to decide what view or part of the clothing you want to display.
- For example, when framing a shirt, the preferred view is usually the front or back of the shirt, depending on designs or images that may be on the article of clothing.
Pick the right sized frame.You should try to purchase a picture frame that is the right size. The best way to tell what size is needed is to fold the sleeves and other parts of the shirt (or other article of clothing) to make it a rectangle with only the desired display section visible on top. You will then need to measure the edges of the folded article of clothing. These measurements will need to coincide closely with the measurements of glass that is visible.
- It is important not to use the measurements of the outer edge of the frame because doing so would cause part of the article of clothing to be hidden inside the edges of the picture frame.
- If a frame of the exact size is not available, it is better to choose one that is slightly larger and expand the displayed area of the shirt or article of clothing.
Purchase a piece of matte backing board.Purchase a section of matte backing board from a craft store. The article of clothing needs to be unfolded and then refolded around the matte backing board so that the desired display view is centered on the backing board.
Attach the item of clothing to the backing board.In order to keep it from sliding around or drooping in the frame, the article of clothing can be pinned or tacked in place with a needle and thread. Using tape or other adhesives could cause discoloration or damage to the piece of clothing. Once the piece of clothing is attached to the matte backing board, it can be gently inserted into the frame and the framed article of clothing can be hung on a wall.
Consider displaying hats and other smaller items.A picture frame can still be used if the piece of clothing is a hat or other small item that cannot easily be folded into a rectangle. In this situation, the piece of clothing can be centered in the middle of the matte backing board, which will serve as a backdrop.
- In fact, several smaller pieces of clothing can make a very interesting display when they are arranged within a single, slightly larger picture frame.
Using Shadow Box Framing
Understand the benefits of using shadow boxes instead of picture frames.Using a shadow box is similar to using a picture frame. The main difference is that there is no need to fold away parts of the clothing in order to display other parts more prominently.
- Another bonus for using a shadow box is the fact that it is much deeper than a picture frame. This can give your display an interesting three dimensional look. For example, puffy sleeves on a dress can be slightly filled with tissue paper in order to give a fuller, more natural shape to them. If tissue paper is used for filler, it should be white so that it is less detectable. If colored tissue paper is used, there is a possibility of the color bleeding onto the clothing.
Choose the right sized shadow box.In order to purchase a shadow box that is the right size, lay out the clothing the way you want it to be displayed. Measure the clothing once it is laid out. It is important to add at least an inch to every side so that there is a perimeter of the shadow box backboard showing around the clothing.
- The backboard in most shadow boxes is lined with felt that may come in various colors. Choose one that compliments the clothing yet is subtle enough that it does not draw the attention away from the clothing.
Mount the clothing to the shadow box’s backboard.There are usually instructions about how to properly open the shadow box so that it is not damaged. Once it is open, the backboard can be easily pulled out so that the clothes can be mounted.
- The clothing should be mounted to the backboard in the way that it is to be displayed. This can be done with pins. You can also gently tack the clothing in place, or sew it in place with thread.
- If an entire outfit is being displayed, parents often leave spaces between the pieces to mimic where the baby’s head or other body parts would be if the outfit was worn.
Check the positioning of the clothing before sealing the box.Before sealing the clothing inside the shadow box, stand the backboard against a wall to see how well the clothing stays in place. Look at it from several angles to be sure that it has the desired appearance.
- If everything is fine, the backboard with the attached clothing can be reinserted into the shadow box. Close the shadow box and hang it on the wall.
Hanging Framed Clothing
Hang the frame or shadow box on a nail.The framed clothes should be hung on a nail that is firmly in the wall to prevent it from falling if it is bumped. The parent could use wall anchors to give additional support, especially when displaying larger shadow boxes.
Avoid overcrowding the wall.If more than one picture frame or shadow box will be displayed in the same room, it is important to space them out so that they do not look crowded and make the overall display unattractive.
Don’t place the clothing in a location where it will be exposed to direct sunlight.It is important to avoid hanging framed clothing where it will be exposed to direct sunlight. Aside from the fact that the sunlight would reflect on the glass and make the clothing difficult to view, the glass can magnify the sunlight and cause discoloration to the clothes over time.
Video: Display your baby's first shoes in a beautiful frame - Full version
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