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Displaying Collections


DISPLAYING COLLECTIONS ON WALLS
- A fluid display can be created by combining round plates and square prints, with a similar theme, in a repeating pattern.
- Display small items on top of pictures and door frames. To keep an item from them toppling, add museum wax or putty on bottoms or backsides.
- Install a molding, with a deep groove, in the unused area above kitchen cabinets. Use the molding to display plates, copper Jell-O molds, etc.
- Place ornaments (not necessarily holiday ones) around the perimeter of a wreath made from dry materials, such as grapevines, pinecones, or nuts, etc.
- Create a southwestern collage by hanging a folded saddle blanket, with a lasso draped on top. Then finish it off with a cowboy hat.

HOW TO ADD ACCENTS TO DISPLAYS FOR BALANCE AND INTEREST
- Add bright touches of fresh or silk flowers to collectibles that are similar in theme, such as a set of wooden animals. This will add interest and break up the monotony.

CHILDREN’S ROOMS
- Collecting themes might include cartoon characters, dragons, characters from a favorite book, trains, stamps, animals, sports, Barbie, the circus, etc. The author of the book, below, suggested giving a collectible item at each birthday. I thought that was a great way to commemorate the occasion!
- Make use of "kid’s meal" figurines before the dog eats them! A complete set may be very valuable someday! How about a shadow box full of Pokemon figures or a chiffon wreath adored with miniature Barbie dolls?

HOLIDAY DISPLAYS
- Attach greenery and garland, or ornaments, to the face of shelving.
- Place a miniature, such as a Department 56 chalet, in the center of a wreath.
- Create small, moveable vignettes, by grouping a set of items, such as a village or carolers, in a basket or on a tray. If you use a deep container, insert a material, such as Styrofoam to raise the pieces up near the top. Surround the setting with materials that fit the theme, such as snow for winter holidays or artificial grass for a spring. This type of display can be used year round, and the vignettes can be moved from room to room to create a changing scene. (A small trunk might also be a suitable container.)
- Similar items, such as nutcrackers, teapots, and ornaments, are now available for all seasons and styles. They might be fun items to begin a collection with.

OTHER IDEAS FOR DISPLAYING COLLECTIBLES
- Tie objects to drawer or doorknobs.
- Use a contrasting backdrop to accentuate objects displayed.
- To keep pictures straight, attach a small piece of sponge to the back.
- A wagon or baby buggy are creative items to display collections in.
- Use easels for artwork, if you have the space. For a southwestern scheme, try a lodgepole pine kiva ladder in place of an easel.
- Also for southwestern dιcor, use a rough blanket and/or an unfinished slab of stone, to place objects on.
- How about an antique doll bed, miniature bench, or child’s rocking chair?
- Dress-up unused window seats, or bay windows, with displays.
- Fill a large glass container with glass ornaments combined with polished rocks, shells, or other elements from nature.
- A friend, once created a rainbow on his windowsill with a collection of cylindrical glass jars. He filled the containers with water. Then he added different combinations of food coloring to create the colors of the rainbow. When light came streaming through the jars, it was like a prism.
- Waterproof collectibles, such as shells, starfish, rocks, etc. can adorn the perimeter of a bathtub.
- Here’s a wonderful idea I’d never seen before (it is in the book below). For a centerpiece, stack antique books between candlesticks. Then, on top of the books, and around, place collectibles such as lighthouses, or fish, antique dolls, etc.
- Place a mirror on a flat surface. Then, combine a candle garden (a group of candles of different diameters and heights) with collectibles of a like theme, such as a village or storybook characters. Caution: Make sure you chose collectibles that are not flammable!
- A very small plate, on a stand, can adore one side of a pedestal sink. Reserve the space on the opposite side for a decorative soap, or soap dish.
- Display vintage clothing on a dressmaker’s stand, or use a hanger to suspend apparel from the stem of a wall sconce. A hat on top of the stand finishes the appearance.

THE BOOK I CONSULTED FOR PORTIONS OF THIS ARTICLE
- by Annette R. Lough.
The author’s career has been devoted to designing and photographing displays, and encouraging collectors to bring their collections "out from behind the glass." The book is divided into chapters by style, including Country, Garden, Kids Collections, Nautical, Rustic Retreats, Seasonal Sanctuary, Southwest Style, and Victorian Romance. Beyond the first chapter, I gleaned more from the photographs then from the text.

The book also offers more photographs of holiday displays, such as Christmas, than anything else. Still, I think this book might be useful for collectors, especially if you favor one of the styles listed above. Do-it-yourselfers will also gain creative ideas from this publication.


Permission is granted to print or reproduce e-zine material if the following is included:
Author: Catherine Foust McGivern, IIDA, Design Firm Principal
CatherineMcGivern.com, http://www.CatherineMcGivern.com



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