Homemade Art That’s Sweet & Sentimental

A while back we promised another post about wall art, so here it is. Being sentimental- and on a budget- we’ve had to get creative in the art department. So until we can afford that original Warhol piece we have our eye on (yeah right), we’ll stick to providing interesting art alternatives.

For example, take this vintage map project that Sherry surprised me with this Christmas. She found this amazing map (from 1907!) on eBay for around ten dollars, picked up a white frame at Ikea, and then removed the glass and added some cork backing and pinned the map in place. Then she stuck more pins (actually called “map pins” from Office Depot) into all the places we’ve been together. It’s fun interactive art. Plus it encourages us to get out there and see the country so we can stick more pins into the map asap.


Here’s another easy project guaranteed to peak people’s interest (everyone who comes over gravitates towards this tiny frame). As another surprise, this time for our anniversary, Sherry hunted down copies of some keys (all it took was a few calls to old New York City roommates) and framed them with little handwritten labels underneath each one.

Keys & Sea Fan

The key on the top left says “John’s apartment, Upper West Side NYC, 2005”, the key on the top right says “Sherry’s apartment, The Village NYC, 2005”, the key on the bottom left says “Our first apartment, Richmond Virginia, 2006” and the key on the bottom right says “Our first house, Richmond Virginia, 2006.” Also note the black sea fan leaning next to the little framed keys. Sherry ordered that from an online sea-life website and just threw it in a frame. Ain’t she clever?

wedding shadow box

This is another “custom” framed piece by my crafty wife- this time it’s a shadow box full of objects from our backyard wedding (click here for some wedding photos). It was a great way to remember the day and add another interesting and personalized art piece to our home. A fabric scrap from one of our table runners, a printed dessert napkin, a goofy Save The Date photo strip (we rented a photo-booth for the wedding), our invitation, our stamped place cards held down by river rocks, our favor bag (which contained a gladiolis bulb and had another photo strip clipped to the front), and even our thank you postcard (featuring a wedding photo) made it into the frame. I think she captured the casual, happy, summer day just perfectly in our little wedding time capsule.

We hope these projects reinforce that there’s really no end to the things that you can frame. Please feel free to share your brilliant wall art ideas with us.


  1. Heather says

    Hey guys,
    I love the new site, and the map idea is great.I’m thinking of doing something similar with a world map…maybe for the huge empty space above my couch that has been aching for something to be there.

    keep up the fabulousness,

  2. YoungHouseLove says

    Hey everyone,

    Glad the second installment of wall art was a hit. We’re definitely always thinking about new things to frame on the cheap… so hopefully we’ll have more ideas for you lovely people soon.


  3. Mary says

    All great ideas! The keys, the sea fan, the map and the shadow box…all lovely yet easily doable! Thanks for sharing.

  4. says

    re: the wedding photo gallery… how did the photobooth come into being? i.e. where do you rent a think like that, and how did it get programmed to have your names on the top of each strip? did you pay by the number of photos taken or was it unlimited? etc…

  5. YoungHouseLove says

    Hi Lindsey,

    We rented the photo booth through a company here in Richmond called Freeze Frame. We hunted for a photo booth rental in our area for months and had just about given up when we stumbled upon them. Everyone outside of our area was charging an arm and leg to transport it here, but since they were local it was a much better deal.

    We paid a flat rate for unlimited photos, which was great, and they programmed that signature in the top frame. If you’re interested, I’d suggest looking for one in your area (which may be harder than it seems but oh so worth it). Some booths even offer to print two copies of each strip (so you can keep one and your guests can take the other)- they’re pretty high tech these days. We would’ve loved that feature, but fortunately our guests were very generous in leaving a bunch behind for us.


  6. says

    Where did you find the cork backing for the map art? I am stealing your idea and am having a hard time finding cork backing to fit.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Lauren,

      Target sells 4 squares of cork at a time (super cheap, like $6) in their aisle with the dry erase boards. Hope it helps!


  7. Jessica says

    Just discivered your blog the other day, and I LOVE it! We also live in a 50+ year old ranch. I started a pin collection at 10 years old when our family traveled out west on vacation. I’ve continued to collect pins as I travel to this day, and several years ago I started a similar interactive piece of art. I bought a large bulletin board with a black frame and posted a National Geographic map (complete with state parks identified, etc.). I can stick my pins right on there, and to the places I go that I can’t find a pin, I use map pins like you have. [I’ve been known to stick those smashed pennies up there too, as well as a shark tooth I found in Jacksonville!] Right now the middle of the US is pretty blank for me too! Recently my husband and I hung the map in our sunroom, flanked by 5×5 photos of several of the places we’ve traveled!

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