Looking for creative ways to brighten up your home/office with travel souvenirs, here are the best DIY ways to transform travel souvenirs into home decor.
We all love buying souvenirs when we travel. Whether you bought souvenirs because they caught your eye, because you thought could transform them into something else or just with the sole purpose of reliving your trip even when it’s done – there are a million reasons why we as travelers buy souvenirs.
However, not all souvenirs are created equal, sometimes you can find yourself with a number of souvenirs piled in a certain room and it turns out that the idea you had of transforming them into something beautiful and creative didn’t happen.
Whether you ended up not knowing what to do with them, lacked the inspiration to use them for something cool or you just had no idea where to start – now is the time to dust all your souvenirs because this post will give you creative ideas on how to turn your travel souvenirs into beautiful home decor with DIY steps.
A great catch is that they are all quite easy to make and you actually don’t need to have experience in home or interior decor. And also, the complimentary items you’ll need are quite affordable and easy to get from different stores or even on Amazon.
DIY steps to turn travel souvenirs in beautiful home decor
1. Create a Travel Shadowbox
A Travel Shadowbox is a fun way of using travel documents you got from a certain country but not sure where to keep or use them.
Do you have a permit for a really popular and adventurous activity or a city pass card? Why not put them aside to create a travel shadowbox. Other items you can put in a travel shadowbox include a cutout map of that country, country name printouts, subway tickets, paper money, etc.
However, I recommend putting items that are colourful and have some graphics on them so that the final piece doesn’t come out boring and dull.
Things you’ll need to create a travel shadowbox
First, you’ll need to have these items to create a good travel shadowbox.
- A shadowbox. You can buy the size you want depending on the number of documents you have.
- A pair of sharp Scissors – to cut the documents in desired shapes and sizes
- Glue to affix the docs
- Lightbox – to keep it some classy and give it a light touch
- Your travel souvenirs (in this case the documents I talked about above.)
- A wall hanging hook
DIY steps to create a travel shadowbox
- Remove the paper that came with the shadowbox, put glue on the back and glue it onto the shadowbox. (If you bought a shadowbox that doesn’t have a white hard paper, you can make one yourself.)
- Put the cutout letters that form the name of the country at the top of the white paper. (this makes it easier for anyone to notice what the shadowbox is about), For example; U.G.A.N.D.A if the souvenirs are from Uganda but do not glue them yet.
- Then get all the little travel souvenirs you want to put inside the shadowbox and lay them on the white paper.
- Move things around until you like the arrangement and how everything looks. Make sure that you’re putting everything the right way so that they’re not upside down when you hang it up.
- If you like how everything looks, then you can glue them. But right before you glue them up, I’d advise you to take a photo of the general outlook so that you remember which item goes where when its time to put glue.
- After gluing up everything, put back the shadow box in the frame and hang it on the wall to see the incredible artwork you created.
Creating a travel sandbox is surely a creative way to use those little travel items that most people trash. If you have a number of them from different countries, you can create your own little fun travel shadowbox in your living room to keep those memories alive as you improve your home decor at the same time.
2. Create an easy but beautiful travel-themed table centerpiece
Who knew that travel souvenirs could work as perfect travel themed table centerpieces!! This actually is an easy way of turning travel souvenirs into home decor.
Did you travel to Botswana, Uganda or any African country and bought some tiny wooden wild Animals; say elephants or gorillas but don’t know how to put them to good use instead of just dumping them on a rank in the kitchen or your library, here is how to transform them into a beautiful travel-themed table centerpiece.
Things you’ll need to create a travel-themed travel centerpiece
- A transparent glass jar (the size depends on how big you want your centerpiece to be)
- White decorative pebble stones
- Succulent Flowers
- Black wooden African animals
- Some soil
DIY steps to create a travel-themed table centerpiece
- Pour your decorative stones into the white jar slowly
- Add your wooden wild Animals
- Then put the succulent flower
- Play with the arrangement of the wooden animals and the flower till you like how it looks.
- Add some little soil right below the flower. This will give the illusion of grazing animals in the wild.
- And wallah!! you have your travel themed table centerpiece. Yeah, I told you that’s it’s pretty easy to make.
Unlike the first travel-themed souvenir of making travel shadowboxes that you put up and never touch again, this one will need some TLC every now and then by changing out the flower.
But if you don’t feel like changing it, you can go for this artificial succulent flower that also gives a natural look. It will also look good and it’s not easy to spot it out as an artificial flower.
3. Create a wall hanging map with your photos
What the hell is the ”wall hanging map with photos”, I am glad you asked because, to be honest, I think I’ve just created that name myself. But who needs a label if you know exactly what to do. But for now, we’re just going to call it the ”wall hanging map with photos” – I am glad you’re in agreement.
But to give you an idea of what it is – a wall hanging map with photos is basically a map of a certain country/region perfectly scaled and demarcated so that you just add your travel photos from that destination.
Things you’ll need to create a wall hanging photo map
- Your photos printed out in hardcopy
- A well-scaled map printed out. You don’t have to create this yourself, you can just buy one. You can check out some from amazon and see if you can find the destination you want to work on.
- A frame. Some stores that sell maps sell it together with the frame but if not, make sure that the frame you buy is the perfect size for the map.
- Cut out letters of the destination you’re tackling.
- A wall hanging hook
DIY steps to create a wall hanging map with photos
- Get your map and photos ready
- Put the cutout letters of the country/destination on top of the map (depending on how the map you bought was designed).
- Put your photos on different segments of the map without gluing them
- Adjust the photos accordingly until you like how it looks
- When you like how everything looks, reshape the photos for each to take the exact shape of the particular segment where it’s going to be.
- To make sure you remember exactly where each photo was, take a photo of the current look.
- Then put glue on the back of each pic to affix them onto the map.
- Let everything dry out well, and put back the map in its frame.
- And now its time to hang your map with photos. This is literally the most exciting part about transforming your travel souvenirs into home decor
4. Create a money jar
Are you someone that likes collecting coins from every country you travel to? Then why not use that pile of coins to give a spark to your home by creating a decorative money jar. This might seem like a basic way to transform souveniers into home decor in which case it is, but not every kind of home decor has to be complicated and over the top – even a simple thing as coins in a jar is a piece of art.
Things you’ll need to create a money jar
- Coins of different colors from around the world – (a mix of gold and silver-coated coins will be perfect)
- A transparent glass jar – the size depends on the number of coins you have. These home decor glass jars will be perfect.
- Battery-powered string lights (optional)
DIY steps to create a money jar
- Get your colorless glass jar
- If you want to add the Battery-powered string lights, now is the best time to add them.
- Then slowly add the coins in the jar – with a mix of Silver and Gold
- Adjust everything to your liking and your decor money jar is ready.
It’s honestly that simple.
5. Create a travel souvenir shelf
This is by far the most common way of turning travel souvenirs into home decor. It’s all about getting your souvenirs and putting them into shelves and it’s perfect for people who buy big sized souvenirs.
The kind of souvenirs you can put in a shelf can range from art woodwork, city icons like the Eiffel tower icon, big colorful rocks, etc, basically, anything you picked up while on your travels.
Things you’ll need to create a travel souvenir shelf
- Your big sized travel souvenirs
- A shelf. If you have the material and handy, you can make it yourself but if not, you can buy one by checking for a variety from here and get the one that speaks to you. Make sure that the one you buy matches well with your wall colors to create a warm and classy feeling.
- Plain Label Stickers of a color that works well with everything. (optional)
DIY steps to create a travel souvenir shelf
- Put your shelf in the part of your living room where it looks the best.
- Then put your souvenirs in each compartment.
- Arrange the souveniers whereby each complements the other to create something beautiful.
- If you decided to add the stickers, write on the stickers the destination where you bought the souvenir from and add them. No, do not put the stickers on the souveniers themselves but rather below each specific souvenir on the lower edge of the compartment of the shelf. Or better yet, you can just buy stickers that have each country/destination on them. You can check out these kinds of stickers from Amazon if you don’t know where to find them.
6. Create a pushpin travel map
This might not be a physical souvenir but it is a fun way to decorate your home. And since we can’t transfer collected passport stamps to a map, using push pins is a creative way to show where you’ve been to and at the same time accentuate your home’s beauty.
Things you’ll need to create a pushpin travel map
- A map – buy the size that suits you individually. Also, the size of the place you’re planning to hang it influences the size of the map you buy
- Frame – buy one where your map will fit
- Adhesive – to bond the map to the cork.
- Pushpins – buy a variety of colors
- A wall hanging hook
- Smoothing tool- This one is the best seller
- Wood glue
- Cork roll – where the map will be affixed.
- Soft Ply Board – to increase the firmness of the map since the cork roll may not sturdy enough.
DIY steps to create a pushpin travel map
- Cut your cork and plywood wiıth same dimensions as the frame and map you bought
- Affix the plywood to the cork by using wood glue and a paintbrush to even it. (The glue should be applied on the plywood)
- Then apply Adhesive on the alternative side of the cork where the map will be attached. Be sure to put just enough Adhesive so that it’s not visible through the map.
- After fixing the map onto the cork, use the smoothing tool to smooth out all the air bubbles that might have emerged.
- Give the map some time to dry and place heavy stuff on it to make sure that the plywood, cork and map and all attached together well.
- Put the map inside the frame carefully as not to distort anything and let it dry for some time
- After that, figure out your pinning strategy – which colors do you want to represent places you’ve been, which ones for places you want to visit and which ones show your upcoming travels.
- With that step done, now its time to start pinning keeping in mind which color represents what.
- Hang your map and show off your travels through interior design.
- (Optional) If you want to create a simple key for people who might see your push pin travel map, then you can create a simple frame too. You can follow the same exact step I shared above to fix the ”key document” in the frame.
However, if you like this idea but don’t want to DIY, then you can just buy this already made Pushpin travel map so that you can just add the pins to places you’ve been to.
7. Create a postcard journal
For some travelers who don’t want to buy big or heavy souvenirs, postcards are perfect. So if you’ve collected a number of postcards from different cities and just kept them in your purse or somewhere in the middle of a book you never read, now is the time to put them to good use. Think of it as adding value to them as you also add some fun and color to your home.
Things you’ll need to create a postcard journal
DIY steps to create a postcard journal
- Get your postcards. Write a story/ itinerary or your experience in that city at the back of each postcard. Also include the date and any relevant information (that is if you weren’t doing so when you bought them).
- Punch a hole in the corner of each postcard. Make sure that you punch in the same area for each postcard. If your punching machine can handle it, then punch all of them at once.
- Arrange them the way you like – either according to date or color. Basically however you like them.
- Bind your postcards together with a metal ring. You can grab one at stationery shops or buy one from Amazon if you can’t find it there.
- Hang them on your wall hanging hook and job done.
With all those DIY ways to transform travel souvenirs into home decor, I hope you’re feeling more inspired to tackle that project that you’ve been postponing or better yet got ideas on how to use some of your souvenirs that you had tucked away in your basement or closet.
Also, make sure that you bookmark this page as I will be updating it with more DIY ways to transform travel souvenirs into home decor as they come by. For now, go and change up your home to something that will make all travelers and non-travelers jealousy.
But before you go, let me know if these DIY steps were helpful by leaving a comment and share the post so that others can also benefit. And if you know of other ways to accentuate home decor using travel souvenirs, leave them in the comment section too.
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