Too Small for the Wall - How to Display Your Unique Collections

Showcasing a collection of small objects.

While combing the north shore beaches of Long Island this past weekend, I found a piece of yellow sea glass. It's now the crowning jewel of my beloved sea glass collection and it got me thinking - how will I display it?

The first idea was to arrange the pieces artfully by color and/or shape in a shadow box. This would be a lovely display for objects like shells, old keys or even coins, but my sea glass is translucent, and putting them onto a solid background will do nothing to showcase such a unique feature.

For small objects a divided tray or type case is the perfect display. Hung on the wall or placed on the mantle, collections like dice, shells or thimbles can be grouped together but still showcased individually.

When I was 10, I had all of my Smurfs up on the wall in a divided wood tray; it was decorative and practical. When you have objects that are fun to interact with, you'll want to keep them within easy reach. Unfortunately I no longer have the tray, but you can believe I still have all 72 Smurfs!

Of course, all displays don't have to be hung on a wall. In fact some of the best displays are unexpected; so try and think outside the box. For my own sea glass collection, I'm leaning toward filling a clear glass lamp base (one specifically made to house collections).  I like this option because it will really showcase the colors of the glass.  Another option would be to fill jars and place them on a windowsill allowing the light to come through like stained glass.

Apothecary jars are decorative and functional additions to your home. Whether you decorate seasonally or by room decor, apothecary jars provide a place to display and enjoy a variety of collections. Try filling one with wine corks on your bar/buffet, dominoes in a game room or with vintage ornaments during the holidays. 

The idea here is to group your collections.  One lonely piece of sea glass may not say much, but when massed together with other pieces, the collection becomes a powerful statement. 

Brought to you by Jennifer Napolitano of JNdesign – decorating, staging, redesign.
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This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jennifer Napolitano July 16, 2011 at 01:52 AM
Thanks Janice...It really made my whole week! I could (and have) comb the beach for hours looking for sea glass, it's so relaxing.
Connie Curcio Reder August 02, 2011 at 07:06 PM
Another idea, Janice. Find a flat tray with low sides (wood, ceramic, old silverplate) and fill with a thin layer of very fine white sand (purchased at crafts stores, etc); Arrange your sea glass (small shells work too) to both showcase their colors and give them a "natural" backdrop.
Jennifer Napolitano August 02, 2011 at 11:19 PM
Love that one Connie...very zen!
Jennifer Fenner January 31, 2013 at 07:36 PM
I found my very first red piece and also a beach glass marble. Upon investigation ships used mables as a type of balist system and they would spill over in rough seas or if a ship sank. I love to think of the history and the journey it took to get to shore.
Fred February 01, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Where is the photo of the yellow sea glass or is this a Beyonce moment


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