Mondrian Shadow Box




Introduction: Mondrian Shadow Box

Following my mantra of "only 90 degree cuts", here's my interpretation of one of Piet Mondrian's famous works. But doing something on canvas would require that I paint nice straight lines with colors abutting each other. Not. Gonna. Happen.

So how to be creative within the context of my inabilities? Do a mash up of a Mondrian with a Shadow Box.

Easy-peasy. Cover the paint sloppiness with square dowels.

Anybody can do this. Anybody. Really.


Pick your favorite Mondrian work. Print it out. Double the scale or triple or whatever.

Get a 1/4" board of whatever type that will cleanly accept paint. MDF worked for me.

A bunch of 1"x1" dowels sufficient for the frame.

A bunch of 3/4"x3/4" dowels for the "innards".

Angle clamp. Wood glue. Wood filler. Sandpaper.

Glossy interior water based paint in colors to match. Get the black in spray paint. (Hmmm, consider spray paint for ALL the colors.....)

Short paint rollers- as small as you can get. Avoid brushes since you want a finish as smooth as possible.

Brad nailer (staple gun). I had a compressor. So easy!

Picture frame hardware to hold the MDF into the 1"x1" frame.

Step 1: Assembly

Pencil-in the black lines of the artwork to your pre-cut MDF board.

Cut the 1"x1" dowel frame to enclose the board. Use the angle clamp and wood glue. Shoot the brads while in the clamp.

Carefully cut the 3/4"x3/4" dowels to fit the pencilled-in black lines of the artwork. Brad-nail them in place, flush with the front of the 1"x1" frame.

Wood fill and sand as necessary.

Remove the MDF and paint to match Mondrian. Go over the lines since it won't be seen. I did three coats. Just keep going til it looks good.

LET. IT. DRY. Like a couple of days. Don't push it.

Flip the frame upside down. Run some wood glue along the back side of the 3/4" innards. Flip the MDF painted board upside down atop the frame. Set some heavy stuff atop it all to get good glue adhesion. (You might even consider some short brads hand-tapped thru the MDF to the innards from behind. Drill pilot holes first). For the corners, I used some small brass hardware I had, but I bet some heavy duty duct tape will do the deed too. Tack on a picture hanger.

That's it!

Ooh. Classy.

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    2 months ago on Step 1

    Do you have more photos of the process?


    Reply 3 months ago

    Hey Jessy. I published my ZenCube about a year ago in anticipation of a backyard contest, only to find out that to enter, it has to be published within the dates of the contest. I understand that Instructables would probably inundated with entries….are there any contests that don’t have this requirement?


    Reply 3 months ago

    Sadly, not currently! The only contest that normally allows entries outside of the time frame is Halloween. :)

    We do have a page for upcoming contests now, though! Might be a nice way to plan ahead in the future:


    Reply 3 months ago

    Thanks! And it's easy too.


    4 months ago

    Very cool! Love the Mondrian-inspired art piece! Thank you for sharing!