Here’s a fun way to turn clutter into keepsakes: group crayons, or another collection of your kids’ favorite small toys or tools, into a shadow box and, boom, they become wall art. A whole bunch of crayons scattered across the living room floor is a mess. But group them in a shadow box frame and the bright colors and iconic shape become eye-catching art, and a sweet souvenir of the creativity of your little ones.

I love making what I call a “scrapbox” to preserve the memory of a specific time period. This crayon scrapbox is one of my favorites—every time I see it I remember when my now-teenage daughters were little and would spend all afternoon coloring, a mass of crayons strewn across the table.

It doesn’t have to be crayons! You can create nostalgic wall art out of any small object your kids collect and use all the time, then outgrow. Matchbox cars, Shopkins, erasers, Legos, or rubber balls would do the trick. Depending on the size of the object, you could line them up in rows, securing them with glue dots, or mass them together like I did here. If you have enough of one thing, like the crayons in the crayon scrapbox, you don’t even need to glue them down; the box will hold them in place. Just be careful that you’re not framing so much of something that it becomes heavy. If that starts to happen, you can fill most of the frame with cotton batting and layer the crayons, or other objects on top.

The finished artwork makes great decor for a kids’ room, playroom, or hallway, and is also a thoughtful DIY gift for birthdays or holidays. (It’s also an easy project to DIT—Do it Together!) And the idea doesn’t have to be limited to kids either—if grandma or grandpa is a painter, frame their palette or paint tubes alongside an artwork; if they’re outdoorsy, fill a scrapbox with their fishing lures. It’s a nice way of saying your life is your art!

Click here for more ways to make scrapbooks out of kid’s toys, artwork, or dress-up gear.

What You Need

  • “Scrapbox” Shadowbox Frame
  • Kids’ favorite toys or art supplies—crayons, paintbrushes, dolls, action figures, small toy cars
  • Glue, glue dots or other adhesive if needed to secure items—I like foam dots, which can give paper mementos a 3-D effect.

How To

Step One: Open your frame. If you’re not filling the entire surface, you may want to cover the back of the frame with white or colored paper or fabric. .
Step Two: Set the back of the box aside and lay the front (the frame and glass part) face down on the table. Fill the box with items, if you’re using something like crayons or small toy cars, etc. If you’re using just a few items, stick them to the back of the frame with the glue dots or adhesive.
Step Four: Replace the scrapbox frame following 3-D frame directions, secure in place tightly, and hang on the wall or give as a thoughtful and personal DIY gift.