Even travelers with extraordinary willpower come home with all sorts of souvenirs. The question is, how do you display these treasures once you finally return home? Some items, like Turkish rugs, Argentine silver jewelry or hand painted Mexican vases have obvious places and functions. But what about all the other stuff, the trinkets, tickets, maps and other paraphernalia you've accumulated on your travels?
Here are some unique display ideas to ensure your travel trinkets are treasures and not just clutter in your home.
Many people like to buy magnets on their travels around the world, but did you realize you can turn all sorts of souvenirs into magnets after you return home? With plain button magnets and a little superglue you can create magnets out of anything from novelty bottle openers to cool stones to small toys. Just make sure that what ever you are magnetizing isn't too heavy to stay stuck. Why not collect interesting bottle caps from around the world to decorate your fridge one day?
In a similar vein, collecting Christmas ornaments on your travels is a great way to relive your adventures every December. Lots of lightweight objects can be turned into ornaments with a little glue, a hook or a fancy ribbon. Items like old keys, seashells and even small stuffed animals are all perfect candidates for ornaments. You could also buy clear ball ornaments at any craft store and fill them with small photos, tiny accessories or even sand (not too much though, or the ornament will be too heavy).
Scrapbooks are a classic way to catalogue your photos, tickets, maps and the other paper goods you collect on your travels. You can make yours as simple or elaborate as you like: from pre-designed store-bought affairs to plain blank paged books filled creatively with memories. Pick a book with acid-free pages to best preserve your keepsakes and be sure to label everything and to include some of your favorite memories in writing.
Here's a great idea for putting your travels front and center in your living room: a glass topped coffee table displaying pictures, maps and other flat keepsakes. You can also buy a sunken table with space for everything from seashells to dried flowers to small knickknacks. Your table can be as cluttered or neatly arranged as you like, and it's sure to start a conversation or two.
Decoupage is deceptively simple and can look very cool when you're done. Use this French technique of covering small pieces of paper in shiny lacquer to decorate anything from coasters to memory boxes to even furniture. Anything with a flat, non-porous surface can be decorated this way. It's easy to get started and a great way to use up maps, brochures and other pretty pieces of paper.
Everyone loves to frame pictures from their trips, but why stop there? Use the frame itself as a canvas to give your photos some real character. Use the decoupage technique mentioned above to frame a picture with old maps, or simply superglue some small charms or souvenirs to the frame.
How do you preserve your travel memories and knick-knacks?
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Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.
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