Crafts,  decorating

Display a Souvenir Pin Collection in a Shadowbox Frame

Did you catch last week’s furniture makeover? It was a fun one!

We turned a hutch into a freestanding bookcase for my tween daughter’s room.

Now there is plenty of room for her books, sketch pads and ceramic animals. There’s also a spot for her souvenir pin collection.

Do you see the collection on the shelf below?

You’re dying to learn more about it, aren’t you? I figured.

We do a fair amount of traveling and at some point (thank goodness) my daughter outgrew the souvenir stuffed animal. Instead, she recently started collecting souvenir pins. They are small, inexpensive and relatively easy to find at souvenir shops.

She also has some pins that were given to her by her grandma.

As is the case with small souvenirs, they need a home or they are quickly lost. Unfortunately, some of these pins can become “lost” in the bottomless pit of my purse and I have had the extreme misfortune to “find” one with the tip of my finger. OUCH!

Each individual pin is not super impressive, but a collection of pins, over time, will look fantastic grouped together.

If you have a collection of souvenir pins or want to start one (who doesn’t?!?), here’s how we are displaying them in a shadowbox frame.

It’s the unsung hero of memorabilia displays.

I picked up a shadowbox frame at Michael’s with my 40% off coupon. If you ever take any advice from this blog, let it be this: don’t shop at Michael’s without a coupon! Even though they seemingly scatter those coupons around like confetti, I still feel victorious when I use one. Go figure.

My daughter hasn’t collected a ton of pins yet, so I didn’t need a huge frame to contain them. I did need a frame that would fit nicely on her new bookcase shelf though.

This particular shadowbox frame had a cushioned back that would allow you to pin something to it. However, the black color of the backing wasn’t blending in well with all the pastel blues in her room. Also, the backing wasn’t quite thick enough to hold up the souvenir pins.

I do love a good crafting quandary. What to do? What to do? It’s much more fun to solve than the ‘what’s for dinner?’ quandary that occurs every dang day.

I solved the problem by adding a layer of cork to the back of the frame.

All you have to do is cut the cork to size and glue it to the back of the frame. In this case, the back of the frame and the padded fabric backing were one and the same. Due to the dimensions of my frame, I bought a roll of cork to use (with a coupon!) for this project, but cork also comes in 12 x 12 tiles.

Cork is super easy to cut, but I find it is easiest to make a clean cut using a craft knife and a ruler for a guide. If you don’t have a self-healing cutting mat to cut on, just use a cutting board from your kitchen.

Preferably, a clean one.

Make sure you use a glue that will adhere the cork to fabric. I used my favorite Elmer’s Advanced ProBond Glue. It’s the never-ending bottle of glue! I first used it to glue sheet metal to a cork board in this project and I still have a third of the bottle left!

Ideally, two layers of cork would have been best in my frame because some of the larger pins are quite heavy. This is something I can go back and add later though if it becomes a problem.

Some of the pins did have a removable back piece that I obviously did not need for this application. I did not throw those backs away though. I put them in a small plastic baggie and tucked them away for safe keeping in my daughter’s jewelry box. Because, who knows? She might decide to wear all her souvenir pins at one time someday. I’ve seen people do that at Disneyland and it always looks very impactful! And potentially uncomfortable on those jarring rollercoaster rides.

Being able to display my daughter’s souvenir pin collection in her room is a personal touch that makes her room unique to her. Plus, I do love an  art piece that can evolve over time as she collects more pins. In fact, it kind of makes me want to plan our next trip…preferably to somewhere warm and sunny.

Happy creating, everyone!


We do like to display our treasures and collections around these parts! Here are some other posts that fit with that theme.

Run races and have a bunch of bibs and medals? Good for you! Here’s how we display them on an old door.

My son collects souvenir pennies – here are all the details on that!

Do you end up with souvenir maps after a trip? Us too! They make great wrapping paper.

When you don’t want to spend a lot on a trip, but want a souvenir – try finding a rock! Seriously. I call them memory rocks…I can’t remember why.

I collect decks of playing cards from most everywhere we’ve traveled to. They are getting surprisingly hard to find! Do people not play card games? Actually, I hardly play card games. My son wanted to download Solitaire on his tablet recently because his grandpa plays Solitaire. When I told him you could play Solitaire with actual cards he looked at me like I was crazy! Kids these days. Although, in fairness, I might be a little cuckoo.


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