How to Display a Child's First Pair of Ballet Shoes

First ballet shoes are tangible mementos that tell a story that you will treasure even more as the young dancer grows up. Hanging a small pair of ballet slippers from the rearview mirror is a cheesy idea, but relegating them to the back of the closet demotes them to dust-collectors. Bring ballet shoes out of the closet and let them take center stage by turning the bits of pink leather or satin into a decor accent that will have you humming themes from Tchaikovsky whenever you see it.

Baby-at-the-Barre Box

First ballet slippers are the cute, iconic building blocks of a charming display.

Twinkletoes has ditched dance class for soccer, and the tiny pink ballet slippers are all that's left of her pre-tomboy princess phase. Grab a shadowbox and a few bits and pieces from her brief dance career to create a memory and eye-catching wall display all-in-one. Paste a sheet of pretty scrapbook paper over the cardboard insert in the shadowbox. Glue a photograph of the baby sugarplum fairy in costume to the paper, along with a ticket stub, a program page or hair ornament from the performance. Fasten adhesive dots to the soles of the shoes, stick them in place as the centerpiece of the display, and mount the memory on the wall in her room -- or in yours.

Specimen Under Glass

Fan those pretty little beat-up ballet slippers out like butterfly wings and slip them beneath a glass cloche for a tabletop display. Victorian lepidopterists showcased their prized collectible specimens under glass domes as both decorative accent pieces and evidence of their favorite hobby or avocation. You spent all those hours in the field, ferrying the baby bunhead to class and rehearsal, and shedding a discreet tear in the performances. Celebrate the ephemeral and exquisite captured moments with little pink slippers under glass, right next to the mounted spicebush swallowtail and the luna moth.

Ballet Birthday Wreath

Save the first pair of ballet shoes, scribbling the dates and any performances danced in them on the soles. Add to your stash every time your young Pavlova or Nijinsky outgrows or wears out a new pair of dance shoes. Glue the shoes -- heels in, toes out -- like flower petals around a wreath form to decorate the family birthday party or a teen get-together after a dance performance. Or, glue the shoes around the edge of a round mirror to hang over the dressing table of a graceful dancing diva.

A Pointe of Decor

A first pair of pointe shoes represents a momentous achievement and the entry point to a lifelong obsession, or maybe a dance career. However her studies go, savor the milestone by saving the shoes. Date them on the leather soles and glue Velcro buttons to the bottoms. Arrange the shoes prettily on a distressed board; wind extra pink satin ribbons around a thin wire attached to the board so you can hang it on a wall. Use craft supplies to "build" a delicate nest in one shoe opening, gluing three tiny hollow quail or robin's eggs into the nest. Hang the sweet soft sculpture where it will remind her, or you, of those first heady days en -- painful -- pointe.