I've spent way too much time on Pinterest lately.

I don’t know when it happened, I’m not sure how or why, but it’s about time I admitted something: I am becoming a Pintrest Mum. I’m carrying out little #lifehacks, I’m framing postcards as a cheap way to brighten up a room, I’m making salads in Kilner Jars – i’ve skipped my twenties and gone straight to my ‘I’ll just make one myself as it will be cheaper and more personal’ thirties.

When you receive a wedding invitation that states the soon to be betrothed couple would like money towards their Honeymoon, in lieu of a wedding gift, you know what they’re really saying is; “We don’t really want cash – we want you to make us a Ticket Stub Shadow Box for all our Honeymoon souvenirs.”*

Yes, I well and truly reached peak ‘Pintrest Wanker’ when I created a ticket stub shadow box for one of my oldest friends as a wedding gift this summer. I’d had the idea as soon as I saw they were going to two destinations for their Honeymoon but Etsy’s offerings were either naff or ridiculously expensive, Home & Bargain (my normal saviour) haven’t yet got onto this trend and eBay was no help – I had to get my arts & craft on. There aren’t many decent guides online on how to go about creating your own so I’m stepping in to save the day! Here’s how I created mine and just how simple, cheap and easy it was to do so.

*I of course give some money in a card too, I’m not a total monster.

Everything you need to make the perfect Ticket Stub Shadow Box

What I used:

1. Photo frame £6.50 (Wilko) (Finding this was the hardest bit)

2. Wrapping paper: £2.95 (Paperchase or Waterstones)

3. Painters touch £3 (Wilkinsons)

4. Brushes £1 (Poundland)

5. Misc £4 (Poundland)

  1. Finding a suitable photo frame was my hardest task. Firstly, It helps if you know what you’re looking for – you don’t get many results for typing ‘kinda box photo frame with a slot in the top” into Google. They’re called shadow boxes and they’re like gold dust in the UK apparently. Either suck it up and pay a fortune for a plain one online, or get a frame like mine and drill the slot in yourself. I got myself a bargain for £6.50 from Wilko (1) – the perfect size and shape. You just need to be prepared to get out the tool box and create your own drop in slot.
Before: The original frame, pre painting

2. Before you start painting and making a big old mess, get your background sorted and put to one side. It’s as simple as it looks: line out the wrapping paper (2) and cut the amount you will need, then seal down using glue dots (5). That’s all there is to it.

You don’t need to go purchase a spirit level – I just didn’t have a ruler to hand.

Once you’ve finalised it, put to one side – far away from any potential paint splashes the next few steps may cause.

Glue dots are a God send

3. Now it’s time to paint the frame. I’m lazy and got in some spray paint (3) but you can do it the old fashioned way with a brush and tin of paint. This step took seconds – I simply covered the floor with a paper table cloth (to prevent ruining my carpet), opened a window, and sprayed until I’d covered every nook and cranny.

I used the brush to even out any ‘globs’ of paint that formed

4. Once the paint is completely dry, you can stop putting the frame back together and add the first few pieces to the box. As mine was a wedding gift, intended for holiday souvenirs, I kept it minimal and just included the wedding invitation and an image I thought the bride would like. The rest of the filling is down to the recipient.

Postcards, invites, little greeting stamps…

I also used the back of the frame to make a little ‘Made By Zoe’ tag and include a map of the world for the couple to tick off the places they visited that fill the box. I did all this solely with Poundland purchases and left over wrapping paper.

Poundland is amazing!


I originally planned to transfer a photograph onto the frame but time didn’t permit for this one. It’s super easy and all that’s needed is some specialist gel which you can order online for less than a tenner. This great blog will tell exactly how you do so.

Hopefully you’ll have more time available than me but here’s my, albeit rushed, final product….

IMG_20151104_214648 (1)
Ready to be filled with memories….

With Christmas just round the corner, and my bank balance nowhere near ready for it, I suspect a lot of my friends and family may be getting festive variations of this cheap and cheerful gift.

See also: 15 People You Meet at Every Wedding