DIY Way to Display Vacation Memories

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This summer had a few fun family adventures and location visits. I’m an avid collector of sand, shells, and anything natural that reminds me of the location. I usually keep a little jar filled with a bit of sand, from each trip, but I had the urge to do something different this summer.

As we bring summer vacations to a slow close, I wanted to create something to display the sand/natural elements WITH a picture.  After checking out Pinterest for quite awhile and not finding what I wanted, I decided to go to the craft store to see if that helped spur a creative idea… and it did!

The materials I gathered:

Wood Blocks
4×4 prints
White Paint: Martha Stewart White, Statin
Gold Paint: Martha Steward Gold, Metallic
Jar of Beads
Sand/Stones
Paint Brushes
Mod Podge
Glue Gun (I already had this)

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Step 1: Empty the beads from the container (my daughter was thrilled because I gave them all to her).

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Step 2: Paint the lid. Next time, I’d go with lighter coats, but more. I took the quick path and put too much on which made it get a bit lumpier than I’d like.

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Step 3: Fill the vial up with sand and paint the wood block white (I also considered staining it with a deep wood stain which would have been good for a rustic feeling!)

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Step 4: Choose your which 4×4 print you’d like to use. Paint on a light coat of Mod Podge and adhere to the wood. I placed it a bit higher than center.

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Step 5: Print out a page with the location, month, year, etc. Anything you’d like to use as a title for your finished piece. I printed this in 3 different sizes since I wasn’t sure which would work out best after cutting it out. Using a paper cutter kept the lines  nice and straight (I’m terrible with scissors and knew that would turn out less than ideal!).

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Step 6: Adhere the cut piece of paper in the same way as the picture, by painting a VERY light coat of Mod Podge on the back.

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Step 7: Again, using a light hand, paint Mod Podge over the entire cover of the wood block.  It will appear cloudy at first, which will fade as it dries. Be extra careful when painting over the printer paper as it will may bubble. Attempting to smooth this down with your finger will dirty it up, so continue to use the brush, softly. As it dries some of the bubbles will disappear.

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Step 8: After the Mod Podge has dried (takes 30 minutes, tops) hot glue the sandy vial (or other natural memento, like the rocks) onto the bottom of the wood display.

Voila! A unique way to remember your vacation!

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I used 4- 3m strips on the back of each wood block, placed on each corner (I actually started only using two, but one of the wood blocks fell, so stick with 4!).

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The options with this are quite limitless… and I’m really trying to resist the urge to continue making them with ALL of our previous vacations :).