What's a "Shadowbox Frame"?
A shadowbox frame is one where you have a 3-dimensional presentation of the items contained within. That sounds a bit clinical, so let's just say that, typically, anything that is not flat that you want to frame goes into a frame deep enough to contain it. A shadowbox frame needs to be deep enough to hold a piece of glass or plexiglass, box strips that line the inside of the frame, a platform upon which your art is secured and, usually, an additional piece of backing board to add rigidity and security to the back of the frame. Frames with a rabett depth of less than 1" are not very suitable for shadowboxes. The rabett is the height of the space under the lip of the frame, or the space inside the frame going from the rear face of the frame to the underside of the front lip.
Below are a few examples of shadowbox frames. Click on the side bar, at left, to see more:
The above is a fully lined shadowbox with two platforms that have risers underneath each to take advantage of the frame's depth. Glass used, typically, is an anti-reflective type that lets you see all the details without glare or reflection, such as True-Vu Museum Glass or ArtGlass UV/WW, both of which are anti-reflective and u/v filtering. Also available is True-Vu Optium Muesum Acrylic, which is a plexiglass version of Museum Glass. It is shatter-resistant and recommended for valuable items or shadowboxes that need to be shipped. It does, however, cost a lot more than Museum Glass.
Here, the client wanted her cameo on a small platform to really stand out, so all dimensions were exaggerated to give greater emphasis to the item in the middle. The shadowbox is a silk-covered mat board by Bainbridge called Tatami Silk.
While this is not a typical shadowbox and falls more in the realm of Plexi Boxes, we wanted you to see that you are not restricted to traditional frames, where the shadowbox frame has to be deeper than the items contained therein. In this case, the frame has a plexiglass box that projects out of the front of the frame and is held in place by means of plexiglass flanges that hook under the lip of the frame. This is called a Flanged Lip Plexi Box. They can be constructed as deep as necessary.