How to Frame a 3D Object





Introduction: How to Frame a 3D Object

Ever had something other than a picture you wanted to frame? This Instructable will assist you in that endeavor.

Step 1: Define the Scope of the Project

The first step is to gather what you want to frame. This will give you an idea on the size of the items you are going to fabricate. I am a knife collector and I had amassed a group of 'Lion Head' hunting knives made in Germany in the 1950ies and 60ies that I wanted to frame.

Step 2: Plan the Frame and Gather the Material

Once you have ALL the items you want to display, you must deside on just how big you want to make the frame and obtain the amount of material needed. The frame is made up of two components, a 'picture frame on steroides' called a Shadow Box and an Insert that holds the items to be displayed. Being a woodworker, I decided I would make my project out of wood. I arranged the display items in a visually pleasing manner and measured just how big the Insert needed to be. I then cut a piece of 1/4 inch plywood remembering that I would need 1/2 inch extra to go under the Shadow Box's overhang. I then built the Shadow Box. Although I have the power tools to work wood, this project can be made using only hand tools.

Step 3: Cuting the Insert

Once both Components are built, it is time to mount the Display items. Arrainging them on the Insert, I traced around them and cut their outlines out in a Jigsaw, however I could have just as easily used a Copeing Saw . At this point, what happens next will depend on what you are going to mount. If all the items in your display are 1/4 inch thick or less, all you would need to do is glue a second 1/4 inch piece of plywood to the back of the Insert, finish it in a pleasing manner and glue it into the Shadow Box. If the items are thicker, you will have to use thicker material and hollow it out as needed. I recomend only going the thickness of Dimentional Lumber, 3/4 inch at a time. The Lion Head Plaque I used is set in only a 1/4 inch but the knives are set in over 1/2 inch so I needed to glue two different thickness of wood to the back of the Insert in the proper locations. I used a Dermel with a Router Attachment to hollow out but, some hand wood carving tools would have worked as well.

Step 4: Putting It Together

Once the Insert and Shadow Box are complete, I put the Insert into the Shadow Box. Using a few small blocks of wood, one on each side, and some Contact Cement, I mounted the Insert to the Shadow Box. Again, what happens here depends on how and what you are displaying. My display was open, and I was going to add the display pieces later. If you were going to close the display with a front of glass or plastic, you would have to have your display pieces in their places at this point.

Step 5: Final Things

To make the knives stand out a little, I painted the inside of the cut outs with flat black paint. I then mounted the Lion Head Plaque using its wall mount and wood screw and put the knives in their holes.

Step 6: Last

To hold the knives in their holes and to protect the blades from people touching them, I made a cover out of plastic and screwed it to the Insert

Step 7: Thing Thought of Later

Because I was mounting 3 hunting knives and a cast iron plaque, I needed to use wood for the 'holes' however, if what you are mounting is light weight, you could apply Expanding Foam to the back of the Insert. This would be easier to hollow out than wood.



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    13 Discussions


    I love your mounting instructions as I never would have guessed they were made like this :) I also have the knife on the far right of your 3 knife picture with 'bone like' handle but mine has a green stripe and has a similar carrying case to the other knife in your other picture.

    I just received this from my mother who said it was my grandfathers and suspected it came from Germany when he was there during WWII. Do you have any historical knowledge that you could share or suggest I look?

    Thank you so much. Dana

    for a really simple backing if your not good with woodwork follow this page to make a backing using an old shirt and expanding foam. (not my idea but i love it)
    great ible. i love it :)
    also if you searched around you could find old glass by the roadside to use for the front :)

    Forgot to mention, almost all the material for the project is recycled. The wood for the Shadow Box is from an old crate and the plywood for the Insert is 65 years old and comes from a torn down house.

    1 reply

    I also do leatherwork projects and you could recycle an old leather jacket or bag and use the leather as the background in the future........leather mans it up and in my experience goes with just about any type of project to give it flare.

    My husband and I both love and buy each other knives regularly! Not to mention the ones passed down from his dad and my dad....I am a DIY female and know my way around tools and repairs however, I have for years been trying to figure out a way to display his collectable knives as well as find a way to eliminate the daily tables at home and the welding shop being littered with all the knives we I love this idea for his collectable knives and agree with the other member about having access to them for use if you choose because my husband uses a different knife everyday like wearing different clothes. I would love to see a display rack for daily knives to be stored so that I don't accidently scoot it off that table and it go flying to the floor blade first.......I wont go any farther with that one, I am sure you will figure it this is the first display I have seen even close to what I have been wanting to make or design......Thank you I would love to see the current ones you have since you are a collector......I have searched relentlessly over the years for something like this and have not been successful

    I have made knives before but these are German made from the 1950's and 60's.

    Nice work. I've been wanting to do something similar for my own knife collection. You've given me some ideas here. I think the wood grain looks good. When combined with the fact that you didn't completely block access to the knives, the wood gives the feeling that you occasionally pull the knives out and use them.

    1 reply

    My BIGGEST problem is with ALL the collections I have, Air Line Wings, Star Trek Pins and Patches, Police Patches and Knives, I have almost run out of wall space! One thing I hope someone gets is to NOT just have knives in the display. Thats why I looked for a Lion Head Plaque to complement the Lion Heads on the knife pommels. I have a collection of WWII German knives, most reproductions but one orignial 'marked' bayonet that I want to group together and I have accumlated a few German pins and badges to go with them.

    Thanks for the kind words. On the subject of the Insert, there are MANY treatments that can be done, I just have a weak spot for wood grain pattern. Even the rather plain ones in plywood. I made another display with a piece of railroad track and a spike and went to the scrapbooking store and got an approperitely printed paper and glued it over the plywood. Unfortunately, I could not find a patterned paper I liked for this project.

    Looks nice! I do agree that treating the interior plywood insert in some fashion would make the knives and plaque "pop" a bit more. Simply staining the plywood might have the desired effect, but lining it with a bit of dark felt or velvet would be the classic approach.

    I never knew that they cut out holes for things like these. I m with Nikon, though. Some other type of backdrop, other than the plywood, would be nice.

    Pretty decent simple shadow box you got there, and made with recycled materials too. My only gripe is the inset isn't grabbing my eye with some contrast to the frame. What I would do is visit the craft/fabric store, get some nice dark colored felt. Cover the top layer of the inset with the felt, around the cutouts, then another piece on the bottom layer, then glue AND screw the layers together. Then either paint the frame or perhaps a nice stain and clear coat.