Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Monday made: Displaying little treasures

I've had these Ikea Bas shadow boxes lying around for a long time (the hubby will tell you that I tend to keep all sorts of stuff for future craft projects.  The key word is "future", since it never seems to come!).  So I dug them out just recently, and decided that I would finally use them to house little "treasures" in Junior J's room.  I liked how this treasure wall looked over at Lovely Design, but thought I would use patterned paper instead of fabric for the backing of the boxes.

To get various suitable designs for the backing, I went and raided my (rather large) wrapping paper stash, but only found one design that I liked (the blue polka dotted one, which was from Paperchase at Borders).  I didn't want to use scrapbook paper since its so darn expensive, so I ended up printing some patterns on A4 white paper (which is something you could also do if you need a small piece of wrapping paper for a gift, but are too lazy to go and buy a huge piece!).

I got my patterns from 2 sources:
:: Lovely Design, where blogger Sharilyn has uploaded some really beautiful designs!  (I used the Nov and Dec 2009 patterns.)
:: Ava7 Patterns, which actually is a site providing tiled website backgrounds, but they allow you to download the design as a larger jpg file... and I really loved their patterns!

So after you have your backing, all you need to do is to cut it to size, and stick it to the back of the shadowbox with double-sided tape... or if you're lazy like me, you could just cut the backing to the exact width of the wooden backing of the box, but leave about 1 cm allowance on the top and bottom of the paper.  This way, you can just fold the paper over the top and bottom of the wooden backing, and stuff the wooden backing into the frame, and if you have done it carefully, the paper should sit flush with the wooden backing!  This way, you save on tape and can easily remove the patterned paper and change it when you want a new look...

And the next part is the fun part... you go hunting for treasures with your little one, and fill those boxes up!  We had this set of Matryoshka dolls (read more about them here) which was a gift from a Christmas party, and I thought they were really pretty... However, the insides of the dolls were really roughly hewn and had loads of splinters, so Junior J couldn't play with them, so they were just the thing for display!  (Do let me know where I can find these in Singapore, cos I've been trying to find them to no avail!)  However, only 4 of the 5 dolls fitted into the box...

Then I thought it would be nice to follow the "largest-to-smallest" theme and arrange the other treasures by size too!  I used pinecones picked up from a trip to Australia (we had some from NZ too, but those were way too big, with one larger than Junior J's head!)...

And seashells that I used to collect when I was young...

So here you have it... Displays of little treasures, which you could swop whenever your little one has new finds to display!  You could put them in a two by two arrangement...

Or stack them up one above the other to form a tower!

Or just hang them up in a random order!

Some other tips:
1. Don't use blue tack to stick your paper backings, since the oily stuff from the blue tack seeps into the paper with time, and will leave an oily patch there.
2. If you are using shadowboxes similar to these, you might want to stick down your items using blue tack (in an unobtrusive area at the bottom) to ensure they don't get messed up when you are fitting the backing in.  Junior J saw the boxes and gave the one with pinecones an exploratory shake, hence one has toppled!
3. You could use any frame that has a certain amount of depth to it (since these boxes are no longer sold!), like the Ribba frames sold in Ikea.

How do you display your little treasures?


  1. This is a great idea! We have tons of small treasures, but I haven't yet figured out how to display them. I might have to try this!

  2. MamaJ: I don´t know if its a weird coincidence or you actually translated my post about matryoshkas: http://kiramamontova.blogspot.com/2010/03/sobre-la-matryoshka.html
    Do you know that the link you included here mentions my great grand father Sava I. Mamontov? I just can´t believe it. My family is russian and he is the one who started to make the first matryoshkas in Russia. And now ... they are a symbol of that country. The link also mentions Abramtsevo, a villa who belonged to Mamontov and were a lot of artists created wonderful pieces of art. Now Abramtsevo is a national museum.
    Well, what can I say, you surprised me once again, with your lovely creations and your post. Thank you, MamaJ!
    PS: Theres something about all this in my BIO in my web.

  3. Hi Justina, I love Matryoshka dolls too...I even wanted to buy them from a Russian online store but the website was in...yup...you got it...Russian! I love the element of surprise and curiosity one can get when you remove the bigger doll to reveal the smaller doll! I've seen them in shops selling second-hand stuffs in town area(very rarely seen) and in Chinatown too (those shops that sell alot of woodcrafts and sovenirs).

  4. These are so lovely! I like the way you arranged the little treasures too. You're really creative.

  5. Very well organized! The nesting doll matryoshka, my girl Juan Juan used to call it 'Russian Doll', but thanks for your sharing... by tmw I'll be able to tell her its proper name and origin!;)

    Have a beautiful day ahead, thanks for your Russian Craft link!

  6. hey thanks for mentioning my site :) the boxes look great :)

  7. Sunflower: Thanks!

    Debi: Thanks, happy making those boxes!

    Kira: That is way cool! :) I went to your post, but couldn't understand it since it wasn't in English, but I'm glad I got the term Matryoshka right! And wow, now I can say I know someone who's greatgrandfather made the first dolls! With so many artists in your family, its no wonder you paint so beautifully! :)

  8. Yvonne: They sell these in Chinatown? Yay, then I'm going to go hunting for them one of these days!

    Ing: Thanks! :)

    Alice: :) Glad to help! And have a great day too!

    Ava7: Thanks for the visit, and no worries, I was glad to, you really have great patterns!

  9. In Argentina you can find matryoshkas in chinese stores and in Chinatown also, but they are quite different from the original doll.

  10. Kira: I would suppose so, since nothing can beat the original ones! :) Wish I could get my hands on those!

  11. like you, I have HOARDS of stuff, ribbons, frames, scrapbooking stuff which I have never used before ... all for that just in case I will make something out of it day ...

    It's lovely, and I had one of those boxes too. I used it to house my wedding cake toppers, and I'm sad they stop making it!

    Thank you for making me smile, what a lovely and simple way to keep and display keepsakes!

  12. Muminthemaking: Hey! So we have lots in common, aside from a similar blog name... :) We should write in to Ikea and ask if they would revive the Bas boxes!

  13. Great post! I love your pictures, too! They really do tell a story!

    I found your blog on MBC and am now following! When you get a chance, please follow me back at:
    -Jessica a.k.a Nya's mom

  14. These are lovely!
    And matryoshka is the word that hubby and I were trying to recall. Thanks!

  15. i thought those are gorgeous!

  16. Jessica: Thanks for the visit! I've popped by to visit... :)

    Eileen: Thanks!

    Jaime: Hello! Thanks for popping by...



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...