We built a custom DIY memory box to fill with photos and mementos from our vacation.

DIY Memory Box

Hello from Destin! We are bringing you this week’s Gray House Studio project from the beach in sunny Florida where we are currently on vacation. One of my favorite aspects of a vacation is preserving memories whether that is through photos or significant physical keepsakes. Today we are sharing how we created a custom vacation memory box and the items we have been adding to it this week.

I know there is that whole living in the moment movement but I am one who likes to live life through a lens. If you are anything like me when you come home from sight seeing you have hundreds of photos from your adventure. But hundreds of photos can get overwhelming to sort through so most of the times these photos tend to get lost in a folder on the desktop.

And if I am not careful, all of those items I collected that were so meaningful at the time will end up misplaced somewhere in the house (if they make if out of my suitcase).

DIY Memory Box

I wanted a unique way to preserve our trips so that our experience was paired down to a few notecards, photographs and mementos that symbolized our favorite moments.

So Brent and I came up with the idea of creating small boxes designed specifically so that we could take them on our adventures with us to store all of our keepsakes that would also look really nice sitting on a shelf once we got home.

DIY KNOCKOFF

DIY Memory Box
While I was browsing Anthropologie’s website, looking at all the things we can’t afford, I stumbled upon the Roped Treasure Box (on the left). I fell in love with the design of it but the price tag, which was $148.00, um not so much. I knew the style would fit perfectly with our vision for our beach DIY memory box so Brent and I put our heads together and made our own version for less than $30.00!

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How we Built Our DIY Memory Box

DIY Memory Box
1. First, we constructed the box out of cedar planks typically used for privacy fences. We searched through the piles at the hardware store to find planks of three different shades: dark, medium and light.

For the bottom of the box we used a scrap piece of masonite. Brent was able to figure out what size each piece needed to be by using the dimensions of the roped treasure box. If you are interested in making your own memory box, stay tuned we will be sharing our plans for this box in another post soon.

DIY Memory Box
2. We used wood glue and finishing nails to assemble the box. Then used clamps to hold the box together while it dried.

DIY Memory Box
3. For the diagonal piece of wood in the top of the box we painted it with some leftover “Slow Green” paint from Sherwin Williams. Then we distressed it with sand paper.

DIY Memory Box
4. To accent the box we cut sections of cotton rope that we bought from a craft store and tied it together using knots. We attached the rope to the box using Poultry Net Staples.

DIY Memory Box
The box was fairly easy to make and certainly worth saving over $100. Plus, we got to customize the color and style to look exactly how we wanted. Once our box was finished it was ready to go to the beach and collect memories!

DIY Memory Box
5. Before we left Brent and I made these notecards using Kraft paper tags that we cut the ends off to make into a rectangle, a stamp with lines and a date stamp. Each night before I go to bed I like to jot down an abbreviated list of the highlights of the day so when I grab the box off the shelf months from now it will jog my memory any of the experiences I may have forgotten.

Creating a Custom Vacation Memory Box
We used our new Instax Mini 8 camera to take a few instant photos reminiscent of the classic Polaroid photos to store in our box but we could also print out our favorite 15-20 photos from the vacation to store in the memory box. So when our friends or family ask about our trip, we can pull out our unique vacation memory box and they can get this big picture of our trip without having to sit through a hundred-photo narrated slide show.

DIY Memory Box
Our DIY memory box has forced us to be intentional with the souvenirs we collect because we can only fit so much “treasure” in our small box. We try and find things that best represent our favorite experiences. For example, on this trip while swimming in the ocean we stumbled upon a live sand dollar.

Creating a Custom Vacation Memory Box
Neither of us have never seen a live sand dollar before. It was brown and we could see it “breathing”. So we scooped it up with some sand and water in a bucket and observed it move along the sand and burry itself for a long time. We even named our pet sand dollar, George. We watched him for a few hours but we felt guilty about taking George from his natural habitat so we released him back into the ocean.

Since we couldn’t actually keep the live sand dollar in our box, we bought a souvenir sand dollar to help us remember our George.

We love how our DIY memory box turned out so much so that we will make one for each vacation we go on from now on. We would love to craft each one so the design specifically fits with the location of our trip and we can have a collection of interesting boxes displayed on our library shelves.

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DIY Memory Box