Making Travel Shadowboxes

Each year around our anniversary, I pull out our wedding and honeymoon photo albums to spend a few blissful moments reminiscing. I realized two things: 1. We went crazy with the cameras and took an excessive amount of pictures on our trip to Paris. 2. I’m incredibly grateful that we had the good sense to save every tourist brochure, every ticket stub, and many receipts from our wanderings.

Our pictures are neatly displayed in an album, but the mementos somehow got shoved in the back of a tourist guide book that was practically covered in cob webs inside a basement cabinet. I’m not kidding you guys – there was screaming involved in the recovery mission! As I started thumbing through the pile of museum passes and ticket stubs, it struck me that these mementos are just as beautiful and meaningful as our photos, and they deserve to be presented as such.

I was inspired to organize our souvenirs into a shadowbox after coming across this project picture from Athletes Abroad on Pinterest. Cute, right?

Courtesy: Athletes Abroad
Courtesy: Athletes Abroad

I spent an afternoon assembling my own personalized shadowbox and as I was working, I got a few more ideas for mementos to save when we travel to Iceland next month.

Here’s a list of materials to create a shadowbox:

1. A picture frame that has some depth between the glass and background. I used an 8×8 frame. (Craft stores also call them memory boxes)
2. Scrapbook paper to use as a background
3. Photos that can be cut into letters or shapes
4. Museum passes/ticket stubs
5. Paper restaurant menus (don’t steal the actual menus!)
6. Drink Coasters
7. Wine corks/Beer & Liquor caps from the local bottles and brews
8. Stickers that evoke a memory
9. Gift shop knick-knacks like key chains/magnets/small figurines
10. Hotel note pads
11. Dinner credit card receipts to remember a special meal

I started my project by choosing a nice grey polka-dot background that wouldn’t overwhelm my mementos. Cut your paper to fit the frame by tracing around the cardboard backing.

Use pictures or brochures to cut out the letters for your travel location.

Since I’m not a big crafter I had no idea there was such a thing as glue dots. They are AWESOME! The dots securely hold your mementos in place against the background paper, and it’s super easy to work the dispenser!


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