Show-Offs! 9 Inventive Ways to Display a Collection

Why do we feel compelled to collect things? Some of us love the thrill of seeking out unusual items that delight us or reflect our interests, while others save mementos of special trips or times. Whatever your reasons for collecting, part of the pleasure comes from sharing your collections with others. If you're looking for ways to show off a few of your favorite things, here are 10 creative display solutions to inspire you.

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  1. Vintage Silverware on a Cutting Board


    Create a vintage feel by pairing an antique silverware collection with an old wooden cutting board. The polished, mismatched knives and spoons seem to float on the worn board—a homey yet stark contrast to the silver's cool gleam and a reminder of days gone by.

  2. Clocks on a "Book" Shelf


    This delightful arrangement rests on a very literal interpretation of "bookshelf." Antique clocks, books, and memorabilia are displayed on wall shelves made from... you guessed it... books! The combination of horizontal and vertical book spines is unexpected, functional, and sure to surprise.

    Related:  5 Things to Do With... Used Books

  3. Ticket-Stub Tabletop


    Are you one of those people who keep ticket stubs from memorable concerts, vacations, or even day trips? Empty that shoebox or dresser drawer and grab an old coffee or side table. Arrange the stubs in an eye-pleasing design, and then either seal them in with a coat of varnish or add a glass top. Voilà—your own unique ticket-stub coffee table.

  4. Sea Glass Collection Candle


    Beach lovers who gather sea glass, polished rocks, or anything small and nonflammable can show off their collections with these delightful DIY candles. Use a small clear glass jar, fill it with sea glass, and top it with a tea light.

    Related:  9 Easy-to-Make Garden Luminaries

    mr. Kate

  5. Model Cars on a Shoe Rack


    Do you know someone who collects toy cars, trucks, motorcycles, or helicopters? Whether adult hobbyists or kid-size collectors, they will love this simple "showroom" for their car collection—a wall-mounted shoe rack. The angled shelving gives a better view of each vehicle, while the shelf lip prevents the collection from rolling away.

    Related: 10 Surprisingly Simple Woodworking Projects for Beginners


  6. Wine and Stilettos


    For the gal who has a weakness for fine wine and a great pair of flashy stilettos, here is a imaginative and practical way to showcase both. These glamorous high-heeled shoes prove to be the perfect resting place for a special bottle of wine—an unexpected display choice sure to delight both wine aficionados and shoe-fetish friends!

    Related:  5 Things to Do With… Wine Corks

  7. Earrings in a Frame


    Hanging your earrings in an attractive frame not only shows off your collection, but also makes it easier to find the pair you want. Rather than digging through the jumble in your jewelry box, you can simply unhook your earrings of choice. To make your own display, nail a piece of fine steel mesh to the back of a flea-market-find frame, and then arrange your earrings. This approach would also work well for any collection of hooked items, such as fly fishing lures.

    Related:  5 Things to Do With… Hardware Cloth

  8. China Under Glass


    Instead of stacking your lovely china cups, saucers, and plates behind closed doors on cupboard shelves, bring them out into the open. Clear glass domes, cookie jars, apothecary jars, and covered cake stands are all excellent for displaying and protecting vintage china. Your pieces will not only be beautiful to view, but they'll stay clean and dust-free, and be easy to retrieve for your next tea party.

  9. Yo-Yos on Parade


    What better way to show off a yo-yo collection than on a pegboard? Attached to the board using elastic loops, this fun display of brightly colored yo-yos is surrounded by stickers from the world of yo-yo enthusiasts. A pegboard is a fast and simple way to arrange collections of easily hung items.

    Photobucket courtesy of Chris Allen

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