I wanted a way to display all of the Lego Brickheadz sets that my family builds. Come see how I built a custom shadow box to show off our collection.
This project began with one of the Lego Brickheadz figures. I wanted each individual space to hold a figure, so I measured one with a lot of extra pieces. Adding a 1/2″ buffer on all sides gave the toys a comfortable space to sit inside. I took those measurements and scaled the shadow box to fit our favorite figures.
For this project, I used some left over 1/2″ plywood. I began by ripping the pieces that would nest together to become the support shelves. This rectangular box was made up of 4 vertical slats and 2 horizontal ones. To get those pieces to snuggly fit together, I used my dado stack on the table saw. I made some test cuts to dial in the settings so that the boards would be cut half-way through. This way, the two boards would sit perfectly flush together when combined. I taped all of the vertical pieces together and cut them at the same time. The same method was used for the 2 horizontal boards as well.
Now that I had a hashtag-looking shelf, I wanted to surround it with walls to make the shadow box. I ripped the four sides 1/2″ wider than the shelves to make room for a back panel. Using my table saw, I cut 45-degree corners on the 4 pieces and glued them together in the rectangular shape around the shelf. Using some CA glue, I glued the shelves tightly into place within the shadow box.
Depending on your style choices, this step may be optional. I chose to block off the back of the shadow box with a 1/2″ plywood panel. I cut the piece to fit and glued it into place behind the shelves, inside the box. If you wanted the spaces inside the shelves to match the wall color, you could simply leave this step out and cut the box walls the same thickness as the shelves.
I am choosing to hide the plywood’s exposed layer lines. This process is called edge banding, we went over it in a previous Bits video. But instead of using pre-glued veneers, I am cutting up some think strips of scrap walnut to attach to the face. The scraps were cut down to 1/8″ thick and glued directly to the plywood edges. I used a knife and a flush-cut saw to miter the shadow box’s corners, matching the wall joints. I sanded the whole box smooth and applied a few coats of spray-on polyurethane.
It looks Awesome!
I know that people collect all sorts of trinkets, I’m no exception. I was really happy at how quick this shadow box came together and how the end result looks filled with Lego Brickheadz. Of course I can always make more to hold our ever-expanding collection. And by using the link below, you can make this shadow box as well! We’ve made a simple set of plans for you to follow to make a shelved shadow box. Even if you aren’t collecting Brickheadz, you can adjust the dimensions to fit whatever keepsakes you are hoping to display.
Get the Shadow Box Digital Plans!
(purchasing via these affiliate links supports ILTMS)
- SawStop cabinet saw
- 8″ Dado stack
- Dewalt Miter Saw
- Orbital Sander
- Shop Fox Hanging Air Filter
- 2HP Dust Collector
- 1 Micron bag
- Flush cut saw
- Box Cutters (for eva foam)
Finishes & adhesives I like: