Creating memories is what life is all about. Memories remind us of the important people and places we hold dear to our hearts, filling our lives with happiness and joy. We anxiously await the coming of the “next big thing” in our lives: our first job, marriage, the birth of a first child, or that epic vacation we’ve been dreaming about taking for years. Yet, when the occasion finally arrives, the whirlwind of emotions, conversations, and excitement can make it seem like it passes by in a second. When we revisit these moments the following day or week later, we can’t even remember what hit us!
Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. – Dr. Seuss
One way to keep the memory of these momentous occasions top of mind is to forgo boxing away high-school diplomas, baby photos, travel souvenirs, and other keepsakes to collect dust in the attic and instead, put them in places of honor in your home! From shadow boxes to displays of sand from the exotic beaches you’ve visited, we’re sharing 5 DIY home décor ideas.
1. Gallery Wall
Gallery walls are an ideal way to add interest to your homes’ walls while highlighting memorable occasions from your life. For a more formal layout, choose similar sized frames filled with black and white photos. To create a more bright and eclectic layout, try switching up the frame types and incorporate photography, art and other mediums. If you’re someone who likes to mix up their home décor often, try a less permanent fixture that allows for you to more easily swap out images, like clip-on picture frames hung on wire or use clothes pins and an empty frame to create a feature piece.
2. Shadow Boxes
Are your walls already filled up with traditional picture frames from various adventures? Try thinking inside-the-box with how you display your memories, with shadow boxes. Shadow boxes are the perfect way to highlight several items from an event in one frame. To create your shadow box, lay out the items in the arrangement you prefer and use an appropriate adhesive for each material. Hot glue for plastics, wood or heavier materials works best, while double-sided tape is sufficient for paper and lighter items. We recommend tacks for fabric to keep them secure and to allow for future use if desired. When hanging your shadow box, visit your local hardware store to make sure you have the proper support to hold its weight in the type of wall you are hanging it. If you prefer, many shadow boxes have a large enough base to display on a shelf.
3. Display Case Coffee Tables
If you have more keepsakes than a shadow box will hold, you might consider opting for a display case coffee table. To make one of these tables, spend a weekend exploring your neighborhood’s garage sales or thrifts stores to find an old coffee table that could use a little elbow grease. Then, create a case out of an old window, or simply use the top to epoxy different images on the surface of the table. Display coffee tables function essentially the same as a shadow box, but you can add more items and don’t have to worry about weight, layout and adhesive because items are placed into the box instead of hung horizontally.
4. Travel Boxes
If you love the idea of preserving your keepsakes, but don’t want them to be displayed for all to see, travel or keepsake boxes are for you. These decorative boxes will keep your treasured mementos organized and out of the attic, and even add to your home’s décor on their own.
Pick up an unfinished box at an arts and crafts or hardware store and decorate its exterior to your artistic preferences. We love the simple look of painting the outside of the box a solid color and creating a clean, stylized label for each. Once dry, place your keepsake box on a bookshelf or mantel, it’ll look great and no one will know what’s hiding inside!
5. Memory Jars
Just like jars are used to preserve various materials, you can use them to preserve memories! Memory jars bring moments back to life by creating mini-scenes from the past – beach vacations, family reunions and weddings, among other celebrations. Create your memory jar by first selecting a jar; a mason, apothecary or any other glass container works fine. When planning the placement of items, add heavier items first so they sit at the bottom and place lighter item such as photos in the jar last. Because you can see through the jar, think about what the display will look like from all angles. As a finishing touch, add a label to your jar to identify the date and location of the memory. Place your memory jar(s) as stand-alone pieces or in pairings of two or three to decorate your mantel or bookshelf. You can also apply the same idea to holiday tree ornaments for a seasonal twist!