travel memento diy

DIY Minimalist Travel Memento

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Like pretty much everyone these days, I’m trying to live a more minimalistic lifestyle… and encouraging my family (read:dragging my family along) to join me. But, every time we take a trip there’s a little voice inside my head (maybe it’s my husband’s) that says “let’s get all the kids a t-shirt or like, a plastic bracelet with their name on it!” Thankfully, the kids aren’t really into any of that sort of stuff.

When we went to Sea World a few years ago my husband excitedly told the twins they could pick anything they wanted from the gift shop… their picks were the map of the park you get for free and a pinecone they found on the ground. I was so proud of my little foragers and SO relieved not to be adding a matching set of killer whale stuffed animals to our toy basket.

Since then, its been sort of a tradition to let the kids collect things from the trip… seashells, rocks, sticks… if they see something they think is really special, we’ll do our best to stick it in our pocket or a bag and get it safely home.

What we haven’t been great at, up till now, is figuring out what to do with all their treasures.


This project was really a challenge to myself to actually print pictures from our summer trip to WA and utilize some of the items the kids have collected from nature. I started by getting the 25 free prints Instagram is always telling me I should order from Parabo Press…”just chip in for shipping.” Do you know the ad? This isn’t sponsored, but the pictures are nice quality! I’ll probably order from them again.

(Note: Parabo generously provided a discount code, see below!)

Otherwise, I used all things I already had on hand, so the total cost of the project was just the $10 shipping charge!*

From there, I gathered some rocks and shells, a nice stick Henry found on the beach of Lake Washington, some leather scraps, ribbon, lace, twine and my trusty pink glue gun.


– Three 5.5″ square photos or 4×6 classic prints from Parabo Press

*Use the code 25CRT for 25% off your prints! (Not valid toward shipping, code expires 11/18/18.)

– Found objects- for sure 1 stick, also 4 other small items… rocks, acorns, shells, feathers would work nicely

– About 1ft of twine

– 18in strip of leather, lace, or ribbon. Should be at least 1/2 an inch wide.

– Hot glue gun and glue sticks

– Scissors



The process was pretty simple. All told, it probably took less than 20 minutes to put it all together.

I involved my kids only insofar as to select the rocks and shells and where to put them. Some brave art moms let little kids use hot glue guns, but my girls just turned five and I don’t think they’re ready… use your best judgment. And if you don’t have kids, you can collect your own nature stuff (and probably also complete this project much faster)!

Step One

Lay out materials and determine order and spacing

Step Two

Place a small glob of hot glue on the center, back of the stick. Place stick down, gluing it onto the very top of the strip of leather (or ribbon, or whatever you’re using)

Step Three

Glue down each element.

I started with the nature items, which I feel like helped delineate spacing for the photos. For the photos, I put a tiny spot of glue on the top middle of the back of the photo and pressed it down.

Once all photos were glued on top, I lifted the photo to put another tiny spot of glue on the back (center, bottom) of the photo and pressed it down onto the leather strip just for added security.


Tie twine around either side of the stick and wrap around until you reach your desired length. Place a little glob of hot glue covering the knotted and wrapped twine on the back of the stick

Step Five

Place somewhere safe from tiny hands and let dry while you scope out the perfect place to hang it

Step Six

Hang it up! Enjoy looking at actual family pictures that exist outside of your phone!

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