Rock Discoveries

Creating a Floating Artifact Display: Showcase Your Treasures in a Shadow Box

How to Make Artifacts Float in a Shadow Box

Have you ever wondered how to showcase your most treasured artifacts? Whether its a family heirloom or a precious souvenir from a trip abroad, there are many creative ways to display your prized possessions.

One of the most visually appealing and intriguing ways to showcase an artifact is through a floating display inside a shadow box.

Background and Inspiration

In recent years, the trend of shadow boxes has become increasingly popular, especially in the world of art and home decor. Shadow boxes are essentially a framed box with a glass front that can hold and display all sorts of items.

From photographs and old letters to dried flowers and shells, theres virtually no limit to what you can showcase inside these boxes. One of the most captivating ways to display an artifact is through a floating display.

This method creates the illusion of an object floating in mid-air, suspended within the shadow box. The effect is both visually stunning and thought-provoking.

Materials Used for the Project

To create a floating artifact display, youll need a few key materials. Firstly, youll need a shadow box.

Shadow boxes come in all shapes and sizes, so choose one that suits your artifact and preferred style. Next, youll need mounting screws.

These screws will be used to hold the artifact in place inside the shadow box. Lastly, youll need Loctite Fun-Tak Putty.

This putty is an adhesive that will be used to securely hold the artifact in place on the mounting screws, creating the illusion of a floating display.

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Prepare the Shadow Box: Begin by preparing the shadow box for your artifact.

Remove the glass front and any additional framing elements, then clean the inside of the box with a dry cloth. Make sure there is enough space for your artifact to fit comfortably inside the box.

2. Position the Artifact: Once you have prepared the box, position your artifact inside.

Take note of where you would like the artifact to be suspended in mid-air. This will help you determine where to place the mounting screws.

3. Install the Mounting Screws: Take your mounting screws and position them in the chosen areas.

You may need to drill small holes into the shadow box to insert the screws. Once the screws are in place, ensure they are securely fastened.

4. Attach the Artifact: With the mounting screws in place, take the fun-tak putty and adhere it to the back of the artifact.

Ensure that it is centered and properly aligned with the screw heads, then carefully place it onto the screws. Gently press the artifact onto the fun-tak putty to secure it in place.

5. Reassemble the Shadow Box: With the artifact secured in place, reassemble the shadow box.

Replace any framing elements, then carefully reattach the glass front. Ensure that everything is properly secured and that the artifact appears to be floating in mid-air.

The Story Behind the Artifact

Artifacts are not only visually stunning, but they also often carry a rich history and backstory. One example is the story of a hand-held scraper that was discovered through rockhounding in Baja Mexico.

This ancient tool was created by Indigenous people hundreds of years ago and was used for toolmaking. The significance of this artifact lies within its origin, as it highlights the rich cultural history of Indigenous communities in the region.

Hunting for Artifacts

Rockhounding is the act of searching for rocks, minerals, and other geological materials in their natural environment. This often involves traversing through mountains, deserts, and other remote landscapes in search of new and unique specimens.

It is through this process that artifacts such as the scraper are discovered.

Discovering the Scraper

The discovery of this scraper highlights the value and importance of preserving Indigenous cultures and their histories. Through artifacts such as this one, we are able to explore and learn about the rich and diverse histories of Indigenous people all over the world.


In conclusion, showcasing artifacts is an effective way to bring attention to cultural significance, beauty, and rich history. One of the most visually appealing ways to display artifacts is through a floating display in a shadow box.

With the right materials and proper precautions, anyone can create an impressive floating display of their most treasured artifacts. By sharing the story behind these artifacts, we can cultivate understanding, respect, and appreciation for cultures and histories different from our own.

Choosing a Shadow Box

Selecting the Right Size

When it comes to choosing a shadow box to display your artifact, the size of both the artifact and the shadow box are important factors to consider. A shadow box that is too small can cause the artifact to appear cramped and crowded, whereas a shadow box that is too large can cause the artifact to look insignificant.

As a general rule of thumb, choose a shadow box that is slightly larger than the artifact to ensure that it has the room to be showcased properly. But how do you determine the right size of shadow box for your artifact?

Start by measuring the height, width, and depth of your artifact and compare it to the dimensions of the shadow boxes you are considering. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that the shadow box is at least an inch larger than the artifact in both width and height.

This will allow for room to create a floating effect and also provide enough space to place decorative touches such as a label or border.

Considering Depth

Another factor to consider when choosing a shadow box is the depth. Shadow boxes come in various sizes and depths, and choosing the right one can make a big difference in how the artifact is displayed.

The depth of the shadow box will dictate how much space there is between the back of the box and the front glass, allowing the artifact to appear as though it is “floating”. The depth of the shadow box you choose should be determined by the size and thickness of your artifact.

An ideal depth is approximately two-thirds the thickness of your artifact. Keep in mind that if the depth of the shadow box is too shallow, the artifact may appear smushed against the glass, whereas a shadow box that is too deep may not allow your artifact to “float” and may appear lost.

Mounting the Display Piece

Choosing the Right Screws

When it comes to mounting your artifact inside the shadow box, choosing the right screws is crucial. The thickness and weight of the artifact will determine the type of screws required for the floating effect.

These screws will act as an invisible frame to hold the artifact in the air.

Make sure that the screws you choose are long enough to reach through the back of the shadow box and still protrude through to the front, but short enough to not come out through the front of the shadow box.

To avoid the screwhead from protruding too much, you can drill a small pilot hole and countersink the screwhead into the back of the shadow box. Using the right length and size screws will ensure a stable frame that will hold your artifact properly.

Attaching the Artifact

The final step of putting together a float display shadow box is to attach the artifact securely to the screws. The Loctite Fun-Tak Putty or any equivalent product, is the best solution for mounting your artifact to the screws, as it doesn’t damage the artifact.

Unlike glue, it doesn’t cause any sticky residue and allows the artifact to be released without damage. When molding the Fun-Tak Putty, take the size of the artifact into consideration.

Make sure that the putty is molded to fit the same shape and size of the artifact. Gently press the artifact in place, making sure that it is centered and aligned.

Depending on the weight of the artifact, you may want to use additional putty to secure it in place. Avoid using too much putty, as it will affect the floating effect.


Choosing a shadow box that fits both the size and depth of your artifact will ensure a visually stunning and effective display. When it comes to mounting your artifact, using the right screws and Loctite Fun-Tak Putty will ensure a secure and damage-free attachment.

The key to creating a floating display is to keep in mind the illusion of the artifact hanging freely in mid-air, suspended in time, and place, free from any external influence.

Putting It All Together

Assembling the Shadow Box

Once you have chosen the right shadow box size, depth, and screws, it is time to assemble the shadow box. Before you reassemble the box, make sure that you clean the glass, wipe the inside of the box to remove any dust or debris, and check the screws for tightening.

The next step is to carefully align the artifact with the screws that are already in place. Make sure that the artifact is positioned straight and aligned with the screws so that it will appear to “float” properly.

Using the Loctite Fun-Tak Putty, press the artifact gently into place between the screws. Make sure that the putty is molded to fit the shape of the artifact so that it holds it securely in place.

For a lightweight artifact, it may only take a small amount of putty to hold it in place. For heavier objects, you may need to use more putty to ensure the artifact remains securely in its float display.

Handling the Artifact with Care

While handling the artifact, it is important to exercise caution to prevent any damage to the artifact. One risk factor to be aware of is static situations.

In dry conditions, static electricity can build up, which can cause the artifact to become attracted to the glass of the shadow box. To minimize the risk of damage due to static, use a grounding pad to release any built-up static before handling the artifact.

Artifact stability is also a concern when assembling the float display. Similarly, bouncing movement during handling can displace the artifact from its float position and lead to damage or instability.

Therefore, extra care must be taken when moving or handling the shadow box to prevent any unnecessary movement. Lastly, if the artifact is sensitive to humidity or light exposure, ensure that it is protected by suitable methods.

For instance, protective gel or other material may be used inside the shadow box as a barrier to close contact between the artifact and air. A similar barrier may be used externally to prevent sunlight or other harsh lighting from eroding the artifact.


Creating a float shadow box is a unique way to showcase an artifact while creating an illusion of the artifact floating in mid-air. By selecting an appropriate shadow box and using innovative methods to secure the artifact in place without causing any damage, you not only protect the artifact, but also create an engaging display piece that will serve as a conversation starter.

By taking the necessary precautions to handle the artifact with care and protect it from potential risks, you can ensure a display that will last for years to come. Whether it’s for personal use or showcasing in a gallery setting, a float shadow box is a powerful way to highlight the beauty, significance, and cultural value of your treasured artifacts.

In conclusion, creating a floating display in a shadow box is a unique and visually captivating way to showcase your prized possessions. By carefully selecting the size, depth, and screws of the shadow box, and using Loctite Fun-Tak Putty to securely hold the artifact in place, you can create the illusion of an artifact floating in mid-air.

However, it’s important to handle the artifact with care, protect it from static situations and bouncing movement, and prepare the shadow box for any humidity or light exposure concerns to ensure its lasting display. Creating a shadow box float display is a valuable way to celebrate and share the rich history and cultural significance of your treasures.


1. What is a shadow box?

– A shadow box is a frame-like display case that can hold and showcase various items such as artifacts, photographs, letters, and more. 2.

How do I choose the right size shadow box for my artifact? – Measure the height, width, and depth of your artifact and select a shadow box that is at least an inch larger in both width and height.

This will allow for a comfortable fit and enough space to use for added decoration. 3.

How do I create the floating effect on my artifact in a shadow box? – Use screws to create an invisible frame for the artifact and Loctite Fun-Tak Putty to hold it in place securely.

4. How do I ensure that my artifact is handled with care?

– Be mindful of static situations and handle the artifact carefully to avoid bouncing movement. Also, protect it from humidity and light exposure if necessary.

5. What is the significance of preserving and showcasing artifacts?

– Artifacts are not only visually stunning, but also often carry a rich history and backstory that highlights the value and importance of preserving cultural and historical heritage.

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