Preserve and display memories and keepsakes

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s August 2017 issue. Never miss an issue, check out SFM’s digital editions, here article and photos by Amanda Bowe Are you looking for ways to fill your blank walls? Skip the impersonal, big-box store options and go for something uniquely tailored to you. Bring the outdoors in, preserve summer memories, and display keepsakes with these ideas and tricks:

Pressed leaves and flowers in basic store bought frames

To create, cut leaves, stems, and flowers from plants, and then press between sheets of paper under heavy books. Allow one or two weeks to dry, before you set them on frame glass. Place a sheet of paper behind dried botanicals. For smaller frames, sheets of a newsprint or sketchbook work well. For larger frames, cut mat board to size. Secure the frame back, sandwiching the botanical between the glass and back.

Vintage printer tray filled with nature finds

Look for a vintage printer tray at an antique store, thrift shop, or online shop such as Etsy. Attach a hook to the back, hang, and then fill it up with rocks, sticks, feathers, and other treasures the kids (and you!) bring indoors. Fill small glass bottles (available at craft stores) with sand or smaller rocks to display on the shelves.

Pressed baby clothes

Kids grow so quickly, it's hard to believe those teeny tiny newborn clothes ever fit them. Rather than hiding them away in a box, pick out a favorite outfit or two and put it on display. First, break out the iron to remove the wrinkles. Fold in a way that the items will fit in the frame or shadow box, pressing the folds with your iron. If framing the outfit, place on the glass, add a piece of mat board behind and then attach the back. For a shadowbox display, simply pin in place.

Custom house or wedding venue paintings

Commemorate those special places with a custom, watercolor painting. It will be a cute keepsake for years to come. I've started painting house portraits, and you can also search Etsy to find an artist.

Plaster molds in shadow boxes

Pour sand into a glass baking dish, wet slightly, and press a hand, foot, or paw into the wet sand. Fill the impression with plaster (available at craft stores) and allow it to dry. While waiting to dry, wrap the back of a shadow box in fabric, and then glue the dry mold on the back. For bonus points, add a nameplate and date to identify the person or beloved pet.

Enlarged engineer prints mounted on foam

Enlarge your favorite photos as super-affordable, black and white engineer prints (available at print stores). Use spray adhesive to mount the print to a thick piece of foam, neatly cut to size, and then paint the edges in an accent color to make the print pop.

Float mount a pretty print

If you have a stash of pretty pictures or art prints, try this easy trick to 'float' mount the art. Buy a piece of foam core (available at dollar stores) and cut it one inch smaller than the dimensions of your art print. Adhere the art to the foam with spray adhesive, and then attach to a piece of mat board before popping into a standard frame. about the author...Amanda Bowe is a mom to two boys, a DIYer, crafter, and thrift store addict.  She is also the author of Our Humble Abode (ourhumbleabodeblog.com), a blog dedicated to all things home improvement and DIY.