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How to Display Military Medals in a Shadow Box in Seconds

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

how to display military medals in a shadow box

Military shadow boxes are meaningful mediums to preserve and honorably display military tokens, such as badges, medals, insignia, certificates, etc. It is one way of celebrating a service member’s recognitions and thanking his or her contributions to the country.

With such value, it is important to invest time and effort in your military box. That being said, you will want to learn how to display military medals in a shadow box. There is no single standard placement of medals because they come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. However, this article will give you a general guide on mounting and hanging. Read on to find out!

How to Display Military Medals in a Shadow Box – Military Shadow Box 101


The proper way to display military medals includes three main steps:

  • Arranging
  • Mounting
  • Hanging

Step 1: Arranging

Prior to arranging, you will need to gather everything you want to put in the military shadow box. For this, there are no set rules. But generally, you will have badges, medals, insignia, and certificates. You can also keep uniforms and photos inside.

While compiling your tokens, be sure to cross-check with official records. You do not want to accidentally forget about a medal or two! This military shadow box will shed light on your military story, so make sure that it is complete.

There are many ways that you can arrange your military tokens. Our suggestion is to first categorize what you have by type. Then, among the different types, classify them by date. Following this, order them by precedence or rank.

This step is incredibly important if you want to comprehensively showcase your accomplishments. You do not want your display to be all over the place. It should be easy to follow, especially if you intend on showing it off to those who are not too familiar with military recognitions.

Your priority is having a good, well-thought-out structure. Just like the impressive structure in the military, your military shadow box should be organized logically. This will also ensure that it is not an aesthetic eyesore.

To assist in your arranging, cut the sheet of paper that you have prepared to the dimensions of the inside of your military shadow box. This will serve as a template platform for you to plan out how you will be placing the tokens.

You can use a marker to draw the outline on the paper or place the tokens directly on the paper to envision. We suggest going with the latter approach because seeing it visually will be very helpful. For instance, you might realize that you want to change your method of ordering.

We also recommend that you experiment with a few different arrangements and take photos of each of them. So, you can compare all of them together in the end and pick out your favorite. Trust us, and you will save more time and effort by doing it this way.

If you are struggling to narrow it down and select the best, consider going over it with a non-service friend or family member. Since they will not be influenced by an understanding of technicalities in the military, you will get valuable insights, particularly regarding comprehensiveness and aesthetics.

Another thing that you remember to do is be meticulous about spacing. Even though this seems trivial, it will make a big difference in your final product. It might even be the deciding factor between a swoon-worthy military shadow box and a sloppy one that does not deserve a spot on the wall.

The spacing should look proportionate to the size of your entire box and should be consistent throughout. This means that:

  • The space on the top, bottom, and both sides of the box should be the same.
  • The space between each of your medals should be the same.

Once you have finalized an arrangement for your military tokens, proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Mounting


In this section, you will pick up instructions on how to mount military medals in a shadow box. Have the following ready:

  • Hook & Loop Fasteners – It is best to get ones with adhesive backs. If you have a lot of medals to display, the most economical choice is purchasing an entire roll.
  • Glue Gun – You will only need this if you cannot get fasteners with adhesive backs.
  • Scissors – You will use this for cutting the fasteners to an appropriate size. A sharp and durable pair will make your job easier.
  • Tissues – To dap away any excess glue or wipe residue on your hands when using a glue gun.

Begin with one medal. Flip it over, so the bottom is facing up. Place the hoop and loop fastener with adhesives back on the flat surface of the medal. Make sure the fastener covers the entire length but is not protruding out from the medal.

Then, use a pair of scissors to cut the fastener to the said length. Peel the adhesive back of the fastened to stick it onto the medal. If your fasteners do not have adhesive backs, use a glue gun to stick it. Do not forget to preheat the gun by plugging it in and letting it sit for 3 to 4 minutes.

When handling the glue gun, be careful to not hurt yourself. Also, press the trigger of the gun gently so there is not too much glue that will overflow and ruin your medal. If you use a glue gun, we suggest you have some tissues ready to dap away excess or wipe your hands when needed.

Repeat the same steps for all of the medals, regardless of whether you are peeling the adhesive backs or gluing with a gun.

Step 3: Hanging

Onto the last step, you will actually hang medals in the shadow box.

  • Ruler – To measure out your drawn layout and align your medals precisely.

Arrange your medals with fasteners attached according to your previously determined order/layout with the help of a ruler. Check that the spacing is consistent and your medals are straightly lined.

To complete, peel the remaining side of the fasteners to fix onto the board panel of the military box. You should now have a beautifully organized display of your military tokens!

Check out this video for tips:


With that, you have reached the end of this article on how to display military medals in a shadow box. Hopefully, it has been helpful.

If you have other questions or thoughts on this topic, feel free to let us know in the comments. We are always delighted to hear from our readers!

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