Creating a Collectibles Display

I completed the Christmas decorating today. Photo blog post will be up tomorrow. This evening, as I finished the last project, before decorating the Christmas tree, I decided to capture the steps via pics, and show how easy it is to create fun displays of collectibles.

I enjoy transforming my house during the holidays, with every tabletop and shelf holding decor. I create Christmas vignettes in old suitcases, a vintage wooden sieve and rustic wooden boxes. Using what I already have on hand makes the experience a creative…and fun…challenge.

Here is the step by step process of grouping collectibles together, using on hand objects for the display. In this case, this is my Christmas mug collection that I began in the late 70s when Greg’s mom gifted me with two mugs she made when her boys were small. From that beginning a sizable collection has grown as I add to it each year.

Start with an area large enough to hold the collectibles and one that is secure from pets or small children, if the items are breakable. For my mugs, I clear a shelf in the living room armoire that houses the tv. This shelf will continue to work for me for another year or two. Then I’ll begin using the top of the armoire as well.

The fun begins. Depth and height add interest and help to create visibility for the items. I use risers to add varying heights to the display area, so as to best showcase the mugs. I could buy risers. However, I’ve discovered an easy alternative. I use small empty cardboard boxes. The boxes for some of my Christmas items work well and the empty Christmas tree light boxes are the perfect size.

Arrange and/or stack the box risers to create varying heights. Taller items will go in the back, working toward shorter items in the front, making a tiered look.

Hide the boxes under fabric. Again, I use what I have on hand. These linens were picked up previously in yard sales or flea markets. If I find a placemat, tablecloth or napkins that can serve multiple purposes at sales or second hand shops, I pick them up. Boxes are covered. I am ready to begin placing mugs.

This is the creative play part. Try different arrangements, moving items around until the effect is pleasing. This is the part that is so fun to me. It is my display, so I am the one who decides whether I like the results or need to play with it more. Larger, taller mugs go in the back. I fill in gaps with smaller mugs as I go.

Don’t be afraid to adjust as necessary. I realized I needed to create more height in front of the back row. Books make great risers too! I chose a thicker volume, and a thinner paperback.

The books go beneath the little white tablecloth. Now I can play some more, until I am pleased with the results.

This personalized Santa mug, and the rosy cheeked snowman mug behind it, started my collection. Greg’s mom made the mugs in the late 1950s and gave them to me in 1977.

And this adorable Christmas owl mug is this year’s addition. He came from Cracker Barrel. Each of the mugs in my collection has a note tucked inside or a sticker on the bottom, with the date and place purchased written on it.

The completed display. I love my Christmas mugs. Setting them up is fun…and it allows me to remember where each mug came from. There are yard sale finds in the collection and very inexpensive mugs. Those remind me of the Christmases when my children were young and money was tight. To have more to spend on them, I spent very little on things like Christmas mugs. And yet, these are precious memories of doing for my kids and buying a little something for myself. Someday the kids will deal with a collection that is twice this size, I hope, and mutter to themselves…”Why didn’t one of us stop her?!”

That’s how easy it is to create a collectibles display. Soon I’ll add a post detailing how to create a vignette, using items already available.

Happy decorating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *