So, together John and I figured out how to turn any fat frame into a shadowbox frame, and it's a lot easier than you think. All you need are a few simple tools, some acid-free foam board, and four glazier points. (I'll explain what those are in a minute.)
We used this 5x7 frame from Ikea, which costs a whopping $2.99:
First, open up your frame and use pliers to yank out the metal brads or staples:
Next replace the glass and backer board, and measure the depth from the board to the edge of your frame, like so:
This measurement will tell you how wide to cut your foam core strips.
Don't cut the foam core with scissors; it will crush the edges. Instead, use a craft or utility blade. To keep the blade from wobbling while you cut, brace it against a level or other straight edge with your finger, like John's doing here:
Next mark your foam strip's length against your frame:
Cut the strip, and then glue it to the interior side of your frame. Make sure the nicer edge of your foam strip is facing down towards the glass, and the rougher cut (if there is one) is facing up towards you.
Gluing the final piece in place.
Now replace your art, hold the original backer board in place, and take a peek:
Not bad, eh? See how crisp the inside edges look? You'd never know that wasn't part of the original frame! (This is when I realized the paper behind my art has discolored, btw. I'll have to replace it soon.)
We're not done yet, though; we still have to secure our frame's backer board.
You could just duct tape the thing on, of course, but John and I wanted a stronger and more elegant solution, so we eventually decided on glazier's points.
Glazier points are small metal triangular pieces used in installing glass panes. You can find them in any hardware store, and they're crazy cheap. (Maybe a dollar or two for a big pack.)
To place the points, first mark where you want them to be on your frame with the backer board in place. Then remove the backer board and use a utility blade to notch a small slit at each mark:
Once you've made all four slits, replace your art and backer board again and use a large flat head screwdriver to carefully push the glazier points in place:
When you're done, the back of your frame should look like this:
And that's it! If you ever need to change your artwork, you can just pop the points out again with a screwdriver.
My "before" art card still needs new paper, but here's another ACEO in my finished shadowbox frame:
I couldn't be happier with how this turned out - and now I'm off to do the rest of my frames!
I hope this helps if you ever find yourself in need of a cheap and easy shadowbox. And as always, please send me a picture if you try this out yourself!