9 ways to turn old travel souvenirs into works of art

Recently updated on July 19th, 2022 at 01:00 pm

So you’ve been there, done that and (literally) got the t-shirt… but what to do with all your travel souvenirs and special mementos once you get home from your trip? If you’ve got an old box of travel photos or a souvenir collection just begging to be displayed – but you’re not sure how – here are 9 great ways to bring your trinkets out into the light of day and turn them into works of art for everyone to see.

1. Make some keepsake jars

blue mason jars travel souvenirs

The mason jar is an icon in the DIY world and you can even use it for your travel souvenirs. Fill the jars with all the special tokens from your trip like seashells, stones, magnets, tickets, coins, bottle caps and wine corks, then place them around your house for a lovely little reminder of your travels. You could even fill the jars with sand or soil from your trips in colourful patterns – just make sure you don’t take anything from protected areas like national parks! 

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2. Pin your travel souvenirs

travel pinboard collage travel souvenir collection

A pin board or corkboard is a classic way of displaying your photos, postcards, tickets, maps or other travel souvenirs, from concert passes to train rides to money notes. If you want to jazz it up a little, try painting the pin board with different patterns, or attaching some unique fabric to the board. It will turn the average pinboard into something distinct and special to you.

3. … Or put them in a tabletop

You may have thought about hanging your travel souvenirs on the wall, but what about on (or in) your tabletop? You can get a glass-top piece for your coffee table or any table really, and fill it with all sorts of small mementos like photos, brochures and ticket stubs. It’s such a cool and easy way to show off your travel souvenirs and you’ll love looking at all the memories every time you sit down.

4. Create a scrapbook or photo album

woman looking at photo album souvenir collections

You can’t go wrong with a classic scrapbook or photo album! Get all your best art and craft supplies out, because we’re taking scrapbooks to the next level. Check out this and this for amazing ideas on how to take your travel scrapbook or photo album from the average, to a beautiful work of layered, 3D art! It’s all about bright, colourful books that you’ll want to proudly display on the coffee table, rather than gather dust on the bookshelf. 

5. Fill a shadow box with travel souvenirs

A shadow box is a glass-front display case that is perfect for showing off your souvenirs. You could fill it with souvenirs like ticket stubs, postcards, coins, wristbands, wine corks and badges, or glue them to the backboard for a great visual effect. It’s also a great idea if you’re still actively collecting trinkets from your trips, as you can drill a slot in the time of the shadow box and turn it into a ‘piggy bank’ for all your souvenirs!

6. Make a recipe book

travel journal books laptop travel souvenirs

Food is one of the most important parts of travel. If you’ve picked up more than a few recipes while you’ve been eating your way around the world, don’t let them go to waste! Why not create a beautiful recipe book with all your favourite ingredients, recipes and stories about how you found them. You could write in the recipes, glue in your beautiful pictures, and write notes on why these recipes are special to you.

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7. Crack out the needle and thread

colourful rolls of fabric travel souvenirs

Have you got an old piece of fabric or material you picked up on your travels? Maybe you found it in the bazaars of Morocco or the markets of Peru – and now’s your chance to bring it back to life! You could upholster a cushion, make a scarf or a piece of clothing, or hang it as a decorative piece on your wall.

If you’re keen to up your souvenir art game, you could even embroider a map of all the places you went on your trip. It’s a gorgeous way to display your travels and once it’s done, you can clip on small photos or postcards from each stop in the trip.

8. Make a souvenir collection display

Amsterdam magnet wall souvenir collection ideas

Do you collect something like mugs, magnets, keychains or shot glasses from every trip you take? Why not make a special wall with hooks or shelves to show them all off. It’ll become a bright, quirky art display in your house and a great conversation starter. Plus it’s a lovely reminder of all your adventures. If you don’t have a souvenir collection yet, here are some souvenir collection ideas to get you started.

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9. Create a postcard or photo wall

woman hanging photos souvenir collection

If you’ve got a ton of old postcards or photos from your travels, don’t leave them hidden in a box! Why not hang them on the wall, or punch a hole in them and thread them on some string. You’ll have a wall filled with bright rows of images and memories from the places you love.

How do you show off your travel souvenirs? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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