Art Deco Shadow Box


Art Deco Shadow Box

Create intriguing depth and shadows by cutting and layering seven fretwork designs

By Gabriel Schama

This design may remind you of a rising or setting sun, flowers, snowflakes, or New York City’s Chrysler Building. Create it by cutting layers of fretwork and gluing them together to form one piece.


Making the Project

Cut the blanks to size. Cover seven of them with blue painter’s tape, and attach the patterns with spray adhesive. Drill the blade-entry holes and cut the frets in each piece. Carefully remove the patterns and tape, and sand away any fuzzies. Note: Because it’s easier to cut thicker wood, you may wish to stack three or four blanks for each layer and make multiple projects at once.

To assemble the project, align two bricks or thick scraps of wood to form a right angle. Place the cut pieces on the table in front of you in layer order. Spread some wood glue in a disposable paint tray and rub the paint roller in it to form a thin, even layer. Roll glue onto the back of Layer 7 and place it on Layer 8. (Note: Layer 8 is a 7-3/4″ or 19.7cm square solid backing board). Remove any glue squeeze-out, and use the angle guide to adjust the layers until they’re perfectly square. Roll glue onto the back of Layer 6 and add it to the stack, squaring the edges and removing any glue squeeze-out as you go. Glue the remaining layers. Clamp or weight and let dry, and then spray with lacquer.

CLICK HERE to download the full-size patterns


  • Plywood, 1/8″ (3mm) thick: 8 each 7 3/4″ (19.7cm) square
  • Spray adhesive
  • Tape: blue painter’s; packaging
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood glue
  • Finish, such as lacquer spray


  • Blades: #2/0
  • Drill with bits: 1/16″ (2mm)
  • Paint roller: low nap type
  • Disposable paint tray
  • Bricks or scrap 2x4s
  • Clamps or weights

For more of Gabriel Schama’s work, CLICK HERE to purchase Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts Spring 2018, Issue 70.

CLICK HERE for more great articles from Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts Spring 2018 (Issue 70).

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