Military shadow box is such a precious thing for the military members. It can prove their achievement as well as their recognition during the military service.
The more medals they get, the more experience and performance they have. Some think that it will be useless if they are not displayed.
Perhaps, not to mention its exhibition is the time to show off, but this is one of many ways to respect hard works and sacrifices for the beloved country and nation.
There are some designs for military shadow box, from the simple to the sophisticated ones.
Wooden framed box is the most common; it usually has glass cover at the front part.
For the classic style, the box is all made of wooden material including the coverage.
How to display it is by opening up, while the medals are hanged on both sides. However, if you want an exclusive one, stainless framed box is also preferable.
One box represents one department of military services. The design depends on this factor as well.
Each military department has its own medal characteristic, and the types of medal from each level is also different.
This kind of awards are, for example, the Bronze Star Medal, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the U.S. Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and Army Service Ribbon.
Outside the medals to appreciate the services, there are special awards given due to a risky mission, such as in the Vietnam War and the Global War on Terrorism.
From the achievements displayed in the box, we know that it contains historical moments.
It is such a pride for the soldiers who will always remember about the bitter sweet story in the past.
They will be happy telling the stories to the family, his children or colleges, and also everyone seeing this at home. Therefore, it can be said that a military shadow box is not merely a display but full of history.
To have this military achievement display, we can have DIY shadow box. Here are some steps to build a military shadow box.
STEP1: Getting Started with the Contents of Military Shadow Box
First thing you need to know about building a military shadow box is all stuffs displayed are the copies, not the original ones.
This is purposed to avoid unexpected damage like missing, broken, or get some dirt spots.
So, it is better you make an imitation. For example, you have to copy DD-214, the discharge statement or certificate from the military service, and the certificate of your records.
For the medals, you can create the imitation in the medal duplication store.
While you put the imitated ones in the box, you keep the original stuffs in the footlocker.
However, some people agree with this idea and some don’t. They tend to show the authentic inventories in the displayed box.
Such thing is allowed but make sure that they are saved enough to be stored away with the locked place.
The next thing is you have to prepare the contents. One box usually contains medals, rank insignia, name tags, service stripes, and unit patches as well.
In the Unites States, it has Army Institute of Heraldry that produce and approve all those stuffs.
Each of them has a license and the item is created only one. Therefore, if there are two similar medals owned by one person, one of them must be the copy.
Furthermore, a question comes up on how if the military shadow box is designed or created as a gift for an active member, for example from Armed Forces.
What you need to do is asking the human capital division in the army for the biography of the member or the official records for verification.
But even so, basically the department will automatically provide each member with such letter including the badges and awards.
Besides the medals and other appreciations, the shadow box sometimes shows the documentary photos.
They are not always put in the box, but tend to be placed in the big frame with more than one photo.
It may tell the journey during the military service from the beginning until they are discharged.
We can see how a person grows up in his/her duty for government; wearing a uniform, holding a weapon, standing in the war field, and gathering with some friends in the camp. The past is in the past, but the memories are forever.
Because the things to be kept in the box are not only few, we have to prepare more than one box or frame.
We can group the medals, certificates, or photographs, so that they look neat and tidy. It is better to manage them based on the chronological order.
STEP 2: Deciding the Right Design
Previously, it is mentioned that there are various designs for military shadow case.
The first one is about the material. The box made of wood, as the most common one, looks classic and elegant.
The natural performance from the wooden fiber makes it gorgeous, just like a treasure box that contains many mysterious things to tell.
Some designs have the frame rustic, some others use furnish to create glossy and shining coverage.
Woods which are usually used to make a box is silk wood or teak wood. If you want light-weight box, silk wood is more recommended.
However, if you like the tough one, you better choose teak wood.
Another material used for the case is metal, for example stainless steel. Unlike wooden material, stainless is resistant towards insects and extreme temperature.
It is also more durable and lighter. Those materials look good combined with the glass cover.
The second one is choosing the right size. In the prior section, you already decide how many contents will be displayed, including the size of each item.
Remember, do not force all items to be placed in one box. You have to avoid to make it looked bulky. Make sure that each other item has a distance; not too far and not too close.
One example of service from Medals of America is providing some size range, such as “The Classic” (12”x16”), “The Big Traditional” (16”x20”), “The Second” (8”x10”) and “The Gift” (5”x7”).
You can adjust the design to what you need or what you like. Even you are allowed to have your own box’s size if you do DIY project.
The third one is about the colors. Each corps in military forces has their own specific color that identifies their characteristics.
In U.S. Armed Forces, for instance, blue is for air force, red is for the marine corps, black is for the navy, and green is for the army.
The color choice is important since it determines what corps the person belongs to. We cannot arbitrarily pick any color we like. So, which one is your choice?
The fourth is the type of builders. One box loads one type of awards, for example only for ribbons or medals.
It may ease you to have the military shadow box. You only ought to consider about the size and color.
Besides owning the awards loaded in the box, we can also personalize token of appreciation as a gift to our beloved one by using plate. The plate is designed and even crafted to perform beautiful award as well.
The writing written on the plate contains the corps name, location, time, and also name.
Sometimes it is added by quotes or motto from the institution or the corps. Name is usually in the middle line, the year of service is in the next line, and then followed by the corps name.
If it is a special award, the plate is written the mission or conflict in which the member had been involved.
One plate is for one award. So, in case the person has had multi-service, all is not written on the same place since it may destroy its aesthetics.
For the plate background, it has a shadowed pictured that identifies the department.
Meanwhile, the front part is shining since it is made of ceramics or brass. The writing is not easy to remove due to the special pen or tool that makes it permanent.
If you order the plate made in a factory, they use machine to create the writing pattern, while ordering from the artists, they use beautiful handwriting that looks like manufacture.
STEP3: Preparing Tools to Execute the Military Shadow Box
In the third step, you are suggested to prepare the tools to build a military shadow box.
This is the most interesting part since you have to pay much attention to the details. It also requires creativity so that the box looks elegant yet attractive.
After planning the design, there are some tools to be prepared. Here they are:
1. Hook / loop fasteners
Used to glue and fasten the items on the display board, so that they not easily fall down.
2. X-Acto knife, scissors, or razor blade
Used to cut the hook-and-loop fasteners (Velcro, the example of the brand name). Unlike common knife, it has unique shape which is thin and sharp.
3. Ruler and tape measurement
Used to measure the alignment of the items which you want to display, for example the size of badges, ribbon, medals, insignia, and so on.
They are adjusted to the alignment of the board to hang them, so that the items are not too close to each other or have too much distance.
4. Gloves and Cleaning Cloth
Both are to keep the work clean. Besides, gloves can be used to avoid our hands from the scratch because of sharp tools.
5. Small crafting hammer
Used to knock the nail and to strengthen the material so that the box becomes rigid and tough.
6. Picture hooks, nails, and hanging wire
Used to hang the shadow box on the wall. It requires carefulness careful because the hook is not strong enough, the box which is heavy will easily fall.
Besides, we should consider the height between the floor and the box itself.
The purpose of hanging the box is to display the military appreciation, so just put it on the average height in which people feel comfortable to enjoy looking at this.
7. Glass cleanser and soft fabric.
The glass cleanser is usually in a form of liquid which is sprayed on the glass cover.
After spraying the cleanser, sweep the surface by using soft fabric unless the glass will be scratched.
8. Furniture cleanser
The basic principle of furniture cleanser is actually similar to the glass cleanser.
It is used to clean as well as to keep the material shining and free from the dirt.
Different kind of furniture material has different cleaning components.
Therefore, when buying this from the store, we should ask the shopkeeper which one is the good one for your shadow box.
Another Option to Save More Time: The service from Medals of America
Preparing something special for someone we love makes us spirited, like creating our own gift in a form of military shadow box.
On the contrary, sometimes we do not have much time to make it happened. However, it does mean we are effortless.
To solve this problem, let’s ask Medals of America. They have everything we need with various designs for the shadow box.
It has been 40 years Medals of America exist and give the satisfying service for people. There are a lot of models available on the website.
All is proudly dedicated to the active or former military members.
Not only serving with many interesting designs, is Medals of America also ready to assist you in making the DIY project.
You are allowed to consult your dreamed design with the specialists.
It is an honor to serve the nation of United States by providing military awards.
We salute them who have dedicated themselves to keep the country passionately. That is why they are deserved to get the best. Salute!