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Glass containers are great ways to display small souvenirs or found objects, Perley-Harter said. Decorative jars, vases, old-fashioned canning jars, pretty bottles — all can be grouped into effective displays.
Imagine a trio of different-size containers, one displaying interesting stones, one holding sand and seashells, and a third filled with beach glass. Or picture a rack of antique test tubes, each containing sand from a beach you’ve visited. You might even label the containers with the location they represent.
Karen Starr, an interior designer and co-owner of Akron, Ohio’s Hazel Tree Interiors, makes leaded-glass pyramids specifically for displaying small keepsakes. One on display in her store holds seashells collected by her late grandfather, but any tiny objects would work, she said.
A tiered cookie stand can also hold small travel mementos, said interior designer John C. Antro of Green, Ohio. It has the advantage of adding a little height to the display.
Create a vignette
Filling a shadow box with travel keepsakes turns your souvenirs into art. You can buy shadow boxes from craft stores, or you can make your own out of any sufficiently deep box — even half of a vintage suitcase.
Arranging your knickknacks into a pleasing display takes some skill, but Jon Haidet of Hazel Tree Interiors said he can create a composition from items clients bring in. Antro suggests making a three-dimensional artwork by decorating a framed vacation photo with a related memento — for example, gluing a seashell onto a picture of a child picking up that shell. The effect could be made even more dramatic by hanging the picture on a wall mural made by enlarging that same photo, he said.
Or make a mobile from objects you found on vacation, such as driftwood and shells, he said. Hang a few vacation photos among the shells if you like.
Decorate a tree
Don’t want to display your souvenirs year-round? Consider bringing home keepsakes that can decorate a Christmas tree.
You don’t have to limit yourself to ornaments. Almost any small object can become a tree decoration — figurines, cookie cutters, plates, dolls, spoons, you name it. Tie on a ribbon, glue on an ornament hook or just perch the item on a branch or secure it with a wire.
Displaying souvenirs that way keeps them special, since they come out of storage only once a year. And hanging them on the tree offers the perfect chance to reminisce about a vacation.