Use string lights to upgrade a shadowbox into artistic accent lighting

Looking for unique accent lighting that doubles as art? This shadowbox filled with string lights and nautical notions adds a warming glow and plenty of style to any room. Place it on an end table in your living room with some driftwood or coral, or use it to spruce up a spare bedroom and make guests feel like they’re enjoying a day at the beach.
This project uses decorative netting, rope and a miniature plastic crab to bring a seaside vibe to the shadowbox. The finished product is a subtle way to decorate a beach house or any room that leans toward a tropical style. However, you can switch out the nautical accents with any accessories of your choosing. For example, use colored fabrics and small toys to make a shadowbox for a child’s bedroom, or fill the box with miniature cooking utensils for a fun addition to your kitchen.
- Shadowbox
- Pencil
- Scissors
- Decorative netting
- Decorative rope
- Miniature plastic crab
- Clear string lights with white cord
- High-temperature glue gun
- Hot glue sticks
- Brass tacks
DIY Everywhere
1. Remove the back of the frame and the decorative inset from the shadowbox. Draw a small square in the bottom left corner of the frame's back. Draw an identical square on the back of the decorative piece. Cut out the squares. This will allow the string light cord to pass into the box while the back is on. Turn the back and the inset right side up.
2. Cut a piece of decorative netting roughly 6 inches wide by 6 inches long. Position as desired on top of the decorative inset. In this project, the net is placed diagonally across the top.
3. Cut a piece of rope that’s about 1 or 2 feet long. Tie a knot in one end of the rope.
4. Use a brass tack to hold the upper left corner of the net in place. Put a drop of hot glue next to the tack, then press the knot into the glue. Allow it to dry. Trim the end of the rope.
5. Gather the net in the upper right corner, then tack down. Reinforce the tack with some hot glue. Repeat with the bottom right corner of the net.
6. Loop the rope and glue it down next to the first tack from step 5. Tie a knot in the other end of the rope, then glue it down next to the second tack from step 5. You may want to loosen the knot slightly and press the top of the tack through the loop in the rope. Trim the end of the rope.
7. Position the miniature crab on the net as desired.
8. Gather the string lights and place them on the inset near the bottom. Make sure the plug stays behind the frame back and inset, and that the cord passes through the squares you cut in step 1.
9. Flip the lights and inset over, then place everything inside the shadowbox. Shut the back of the frame.
10. Your new shadowbox is ready to light and display!