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Fun Ways to Display Matchbooks

Anne Goetz

Matchbooks not only tell the world all the places you've been, they evoke memories of great times shared with special friends. If your memories have been collecting dust on a shelf in the garage, it might be time to bring them inside and put them on display for yourself as much as for your guests.

Photographed Display

For a one-of-a-kind wall accent, consider displaying your matchbook collection in a stylish frame. If you're worried about damaging the collection, let your camera do the work. Simply spread the matchbooks out on a table in a haphazard assortment and snap some pictures. Rearrange the matchbooks for another perspective. Enlarge the photographs to at least 8-by-10 inches, add complementary mattes and display them in frames of your choice. Make several of these matchbook art pieces and showcase them in a grouping on the wall. You could even have your photos screen-printed onto fabric to make throws or canvas wall hangings.

Crafty Displays

You have probably noticed do-it-yourself lamp kits at the craft store -- the ones with the clear glass base you can fill with seashells or silk flowers. These same kits can be used for any collectibles, including the matchbooks from your many travels. Top it with a plain shade in a color pulled from your collection. Or try displaying your collection in a shadowbox by mounting individual books with pins inside the hanging box. Display the shadowbox near your matchbook lamp for maximum impact.

Matchbooks as Decor

String fine wire or even fishing line between tacks on a wall or in a window and simply hang the matchbooks over it. Make nice straight lines or draping banners -- an inventive decoration for a man cave or den. If you have empty picture ledges that need filling, invest in a few clear glass jars with lids and fill each one halfway full with matchbooks. Line them up along the ledges to make an impressive display. Or, repurpose a display case meant to house shot glasses by punching a flat thumbtack through the back of each matchbook and into the wall. Display one book in each shot-glass cubby.

Repurposed Matchbooks

Hang matchbooks as ornaments on your Christmas tree, along the top of a wall as an inventive border or collected in decorative dishes on your coffee table as conversation starters. Turn them into an album by slipping single matchbooks into the vinyl sleeves of card-collector's pages and storing them in a three-ring binder. Keep your book out where guests can see and ask about it. When you've run out of DIY ideas, you might invest in an actual display case meant specifically for showing off those little pieces of history. Cases come in assorted sizes, finishes and designs and are easily found online.