So you're back from vacation and you had the most amazing time. Refreshed and revitalized from this break in your workaday routine, you want to keep the memories of your lakeside stay, visit to Disneyland or cross-country camping trip alive for a long time to come. Why not turn your photos and other souvenirs into wall art? It's an attractive, clutter-free idea that will brighten up any room — even the unused wall "real estate" next to your staircase. One of the best parts of these projects is that the majority will not require you to paint over them when you sell your house.
1. Frame them
Don't keep your favorite vacation photographs in virtual form alone! Instead, have them printed out and then frame them attractively. Don't worry if your budget has yet to recover from your recent R and R, though. Just scour your nearby dollar store or thrift shop for inexpensive frames.
2. Transform them into a gallery
A basic principle of interior design is that almost any objects look better en masse. Group your pictures together, but don't be too matchy-matchy. Asymmetrical positioning and mismatched frames will attract the eye and create a pleasing "perfectly imperfect" impression.
3. Mount them
Do standard picture frames make you feel somehow boxed in? Try mounting your pix instead. Cut to any shape you want and paste or Mod Podge them onto the backing of your choice. We especially like bamboo coasters or cardboard covered with bright fabric.
4. Stick them right on the wall
Glue your vacation photos directly onto the wall. Be sure to plan the placement of every individual picture, as well as the overall arrangement, carefully first. Using a sharpie, draw an artistic frame around each one. This is definitely not for the timid ... unless you're prepared to invest in painting your house once your wall art has lost its luster.
5. Blow them up
If one or two incredible photos stand out way above the rest, you can have them professionally printed on a variety of materials to suit your decorating style. A metal backing is striking and modern, with industrial chic flair. Canvas gives digital photographs the appearance of fine art. And acrylic is the glossiest, most uptown look of all.
6. Collage them
Do you love all your vacation snaps equally and unconditionally? Turn them into an inclusive oversized collage, assembled with online technology or artfully arranged by hand. While you're at it, you'd better put together more than one, because a collage of the kids frolicking on the beach will make a great gift for their doting grandparents.
7. Don't forget your other mementos
Photos aren't the only vacation souvenirs that look even better on display, though. Be creative and find other items to show off, like your child's drawing of a special vacation moment, that tacky T-shirt you couldn't resist buying, the menu from a charming beach cafe or a paper roadmap of the route you traveled. Frame them or back them and add to your wall art collection.
8. Go 3-D
Perhaps the most delightful way to exhibit your sweet vacation memories is to mix them up into a shadow box, that is, a case fronted by a transparent panel. This kind of 3-D arrangement will allow you to include uniquely fun things like gorgeous seashells (but check that local laws allow you to collect them before taking home any shells or beach pebbles), exotic foreign coins or a pair of wacky sunglasses.
This story was originally written for Laura Firszt for Networx and was republished with permission here.