How many times have you come home from vacation with some junky, overpriced souvenirs, an airbrushed T-shirt or a hermit crab that won’t last as long as your memories of the beach?
This project is for you.
My son used to beg for expensive souvenirs whenever we went on vacation until he started collecting pressed pennies. In the last couple of years, he’s amassed quite a collection of commemorative pennies from museums, amusement parts, historical sites and other destinations on our family travels.
There’s a lot of fun family memories in those pressed pennies.
Rather than stash the coins in his nighstand drawer, I created a framed souvenir map where we can display the pressed pennies in his room and look back over our journey.
Disclosure: I am am ambassador for DecoArt, and this post contains affiliate links. But I only recommend companies and products I love. A version of this post first appeared on the DecoArt blog. Read my full disclosure policy here.
- Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in Rouge
- Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in Legacy
- DecoArt Americana Decou-Page Gloss
- 2-inch paint brush
- foam brush
- printable maps or atlas pages
- 10X13 wooden frame
- small foam adhesive mounting squares
- sanding block
- petroleum jelly
- paper towel
- cardboard to fit frame
I wanted the shadowbox frame to have a really rustic, chippy, vintage Americana look. So, I painted it using a special resist technique with petroleum jelly, then did some heavy distressing with a medium-grit sanding block.
I started out with a base coat of Americana Chalky Finish paint in Rouge on my frame.
When that had dried, I rubbed petroleum jelly randomly on the frame in places where I wanted the paint to resist. Then, I followed with a topcoat of Americana Chalky Finish Paint in Legacy.
When it had dried, I first used a paper towel to wipe away the patches of blue paint over the petroleum jelly.
A little more distressing with the sanding block revealed more of the red paint and wood underneath.
To make the background to display our penny collection, I printed out several copies of the same U.S. highway map, in different sizes. (I used this map from YellowMaps.com) You could also use pages from an atlas.
I cut the maps in varying sizes and arranged them on a piece of scrap cardboard cut to fit the frame. (I used a priority mail box!)
Once I had a pleasing arrangement, I used a foam brush to coat the back of each sheet of paper with Americana Decou-Page in Gloss and adhered each map to the cardboard, being careful to smooth out any wrinkles and bubbles. Once the cardboard was completely covered, I added an outline map of the United States to the center of the collage.
Decou-Page is a glue, sealer and finish all in one, so I brushed on two coats of it on the top of the map collage to seal, allowing it to dry between coats.
We used small adhesive foam mounting squares to attach the pennies to the collage.
Since the map is small and more of a collage than an accurate rendering, we weren’t concerned about putting the pennies in the states where we collected them.
We just placed them wherever the kiddo wanted them. Using the mounting squares really helps the pennies pop off the map.
This shadowbox will be a fun way to document our family’s travel adventures for years to come. It might even become a keepsake!
And at 51 cents each, pressed pennies are one of cheapest souvenirs money can buy. We won’t mind adding to our son’s collection.
If you’re looking for more ways to display your vacation memories and keepsakes, don’t miss these posts: