How to Make a DIY Travel Memory Box

I recently had a friend confide in me that of all the things she owned, the ones that really mattered were her travel and family vacation photographs because they served as visual markers of her life. Yet, despite taking thousands of photographs, she hadn't actually printed very many of them.

I realized that a lot of us – including me – fall into that same club. As I travel across the world documenting and sharing my experiences digitally through photographs, they quickly end up being organized onto hard drives – never to be seen again. Even more are saved to my phone, small snapshots of our everyday life. As a matter of fact, I must have taken 100,000 photos the first year of my son's life and still, seven years later, no more than a handful have ever been printed.

In an effort to change this trend, I created this DIY Memory Box craft project. It's such an easy way to show off your treasured travel and family photos. The best part is that it can be done in about 30 minutes and expanded on later, as you add to your travels. Not only is it perfect for sorting and displaying your travel memories, it's also great for holding other small trinkets you collect on your travels like shells, coins, bracelets and other mementos. By picking up small boxes at each of your vacation destinations, you can create a collection of truly one of a kind memory boxes that will keep those photos from simply gathering cyberdust.

Check out the video below for step-by-step instructions.

The 30 Minute DIY Pull Out Memory Box


  • Pre-cut paper squares (for frames)
  • Printed photos
  • Twine or rafia
  • Tape & glue stick
  • Trinket box
  • Optional: Focal object or souvenir
  • Instructions:

Attach photos to paper squares that have been pre-cut to fit nicely inside your chosen box. I found some pre-printed paper that I really loved for this project. Other ideas for a travel themed box would be to use a souvenir map, museum brochures, subway or bus tickets or even boarding passes!

Lay out frames in desired order.

Using the laid out photos as a guide, measure out the length of twine or rafia needed by doubling the amount from top to bottom. As shown in the video, what I did was press the end of my rafia about 2 inches below my row of photos, released enough to stop about 2 inches above the row and then turned and went back down to where I started.

You can attach your trinket or memory object to the mid-way point of this strand. As you can see in the video, I tied the key onto the midway point in a simple loop, knotted about 1.5 inches away so that the key has some movement. This also allows for the two strands to lay nicely side by side down your row of photos.

Attach the twine to the back of the frames with tape, leaving a small gap between each frame. This doesn’t need to be pretty or perfect. Remember, we are putting backs on this so it will be covered up!

Choose a back for each frame and glue in place. I left this side blank, but I like that I can always add more photos just by gluing them to these empty back sides! Also be sure to leave a double “tail” at the end like I did (about 2 inches) so that you have the option of adding more frames to the bottom later simply by attaching more string to the bottom and hiding the knots in between the first set of add-on frames.

Fold like an accordion and place it in a special trinket box. Place other decorative or memory items inside - dried flowers, shells or loose sand from your special destination would be nice. Set it out and enjoy!

I really liked the unfinished look of the box I used, so I didn't want to add anything else to it, but you could certainly add your own special touches or use items that are specific to the photos. I've decided that instead of buying random souvenirs from my travels, I will start looking for small trinket boxes that I can use just for this purpose to feature my most favorite photos from that trip! I'm excited at the prospect of having a beautiful collection of destination specific boxes to put on display around my home.

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About the Author

Jeana Nioxin

About the Author

Rarely caught without a camera, Jeana is an adventurous traveler with a passion for people, cultures and food that has taken her to 35 countries in five years. Recently named by Social Media Week as one of eight people who have more social influence than some large travel brands, Jeana is also consistently listed in Klout’s Top 10 Travel Influencers. When she's not using her powers for social good, Jeana enjoys crafting delicious recipes and cuddling with her son.