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GCB tries foam core joinery


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Back again with another foam core joinery project!  This time, I'm trying to make some shadow boxes for showcasing my Reaper Bones figures, as I complete them.

 

So here's the plan: I have a triangular wall space next to my craft desk in the bear cave, and I have three 12" square canvas frames, and no canvas to frame:

 

IMG_4228.thumb.JPG.7e83580316c6f89e55276efbce3821fb.JPG

 

 So I plan to make shadow boxes from them, with enough space to hold small to medium sized figures, with 1 to 2 inch bases.  The inside of the frame has a lip that is just about exactly the width of the thickness of a foam core board:

 

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So, the first step is to remove all of the hardware from the frame:

 

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 I saved the hardware pieces so I could reuse them on the finished shadowbox. 

 

After that, I cut out the back and side panels from a foam core sheet, to a dimension of just under 12 inches square.  It required slightly more than one sheet, but I had a little bit of scrap left over from my last project.

 

IMG_4193.thumb.JPG.b57b3f5fbf1341e7419eba010be7aae8.JPG

 

 Then, like in my previous projects, I trimmed the foam and one layer of paper off the sides and wrapped the remaining paper over to form a solid edge on all four sides, front and back.  I also tried trimming the corners in a foam and paper rabbet that didn't quite work when I went to glue it:

 

IMG_4195.thumb.JPG.43da4ce853f6d0eb6ca4c4667257099b.JPG

 

 I wanted shelves that were a little sturdier than a single thickness of foam core, so I glued an extra  Strip to the front edge, then wrapped the paper around both layers to form a double thick front lip:

 

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 Then I foam glued the whole thing together, and weighted it down to dry:

 

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Final dimensions are 12" high x 12" wide x 4" deep, with three shelves that are 3-1/2 inches deep.

 

Surprise!  The frame was a  tight friction-fit. I thought I made the shadowbox too large for it to fit at first. Here's the finished shadowbox with frame installed:

 

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I kind of consider this shadow box my test prototype. Somewhere more than halfway through, I realized it was going to be too big for the space intended. I think rather than 3-1/2 inches deep, I could go with about 2-1/2 inches deep and fit four shelves in rather than three, and still have room to reach in and pick up the figures.  If I build to those dimensions, I expect I'll be able to make the whole thing out of one foam core sheet.

 

Next up, the production model.

 

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I'm back with the second round of the shelves.  After deciding the previous shelves were too large for the space planned, I went back to the drawing board and redesigned them to be shallower, with four  2-3/8" deep shelves, and a total box depth of 3", giving me about 1/2" for a wall bracket behind.  After much mis-measuring, cursing and re-cutting, I assembled the following:

 

IMG_4361.thumb.PNG.09c72b934bbeafd9bc58f81ef9b958fc.PNG

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Not bad looking, really.  It accommodates human height characters with enough space to reach in and pick them up, and can fit up to 2" wide bases with no problem.

 

More for my records than anyone else's interest, here's my final dimensions:

 

Back:  (12" - 0.375") x (12" - 0.375") = 11.625" x 11.625" (x1)

Shelves:  (12" - 0.375") x (2.375" + 0.375") = 11.625" x 2. 75" (x3)

    includes 0.375" trim & fold on front edge

Top & Bottom:  (12" - 0.375") x (3" + 0.375" + 0.375") = 11.625" x 3.75" (x2)

     includes 0.375" trim & fold on front & back edges

Left & Right:  (12" + 0.375" + 0.375") x (3" + 0.375" + 0.375") = 12.75" x 3.75" (x2)

    includes 0.375" trim & fold on front, back & side edges

 

The wall bracket is the same one originally from the picture frame. I didn't want to have the weight of the frame and figures tear the shadowbox apart, so I quickly glued several Popsicle sticks into one solid block, screwed in the bracket, and glued the assembly inside the back at the top middle.  This way, the weight is supported by both the back and top of the shadowbox, and distributed across a larger area:

 

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Now to do this just twice more, and I'll have all three shadow boxes ready to put on the wall.

Edited by Grumpy Cave Bear
Random picture placement.
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So, I finished the other two shadow boxes over the weekend and hung them all up.   Here's the result, with a few (mostly unfinished) figures put up:

 

IMG_4396.thumb.PNG.56df08d416551b86fb4c8204eaa1df93.PNG

 

I can put in about 8-10 human sized figures per shelf, and the weight of the Bones minis is negligible, so perhaps about 32-40 figures can be displayed on each of these, or 100-120 figures altogether...

 

Here's what the shadow boxes look like in context:

 

IMG_4395.thumb.PNG.eed76ee1b795c093ceee9c375d070142.PNG:

 

Those black borders are perhaps a bit bold against the background wall.  If I find they bother me too much, I may spray them a lighter color, or even white.  Cleaning the rest of the room will help fight the cluttered look.

 

Not pictured of course, was the shoebox on the floor that held these minis, and that I was finally able to pitch in the trash.  This is much better looking!

 

That's all the foam core projects I can think of for now.  If I think of anything more, I'll be sure to post them.  But for now, I'm going back to more traditional projects for WIP.

 

 

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