Trinket Treasures

I don’t like it when stores start putting up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving.  But if you intend to give handmade gifts for Christmas, you have to start early, so I am going to do a few posts on gift and decoration ideas.

I have a ton of old sewing notions, buttons, and costume jewelry that my family has accumulated over the years.  It seems a shame to just hide them in drawers, so I came up with a cute way to display them in little bead containers.

button display

I think of this as a tiny, 3-D quilt, to put on a shelf or a wall.

That one’s just pretty ordinary storage – but plain is it is, it would make a fun gift for any craftsperson.

Moving more into the holiday mode –

Christmas trinkets

Among the treasures in this Christmas-themed display are some of my grandmother’s  earrings, and my mom’s buttons.  There is also even a tiny ball of embroidery thread in Christmas colors.

trinket Christmas tree

This miniature Christmas tree has old stamps, vintage pins and earrings, tiny spools of thread, an old Girl Scout badge, and even an old Heinz 57 pickle charm.

This gives me all the fun of designing without needing lots of materials and time.  More Design Joy, less Environmental Impact.

The only hard part of this craft is finding the right plastic storage containers.  You want ones that are very clear and each have their own lid.  The only ones I have found are made by Darice, which is a wholesale company.  Sometimes I can find them at Wal-Mart, but it is hit or miss.  But lots of distributors advertise them on the web.

Darice bead box

Be sure every container has its own lid, instead of getting the stackable kind.


Once you have the containers, gather up all your treasures – cool buttons, orphan earrings, broken strings of crystals, tiny game pieces, old stamps, leftover puzzle pieces, etc.  You may also want to use 3-D scrapbook stickers, pieces of ribbon, seed beads, or yarn samples.  Now just start arranging!  If a trinket looks a little lost in a container, put a layer of seed beads or a circle of craft ribbon in the bottom first, then add the trinket on top.

If you want to make the Christmas tree decoration, you will also need something for the backing.  I bought inexpensive bamboo cutting boards for mine.  Then I just affixed the individual containers with glue dots,

glue dots

These glue dots hold well, even when the display is up on a wall.

wrapped a little ribbon around the handle,

ribbon on handle

I gave the ribbon a few wraps and then taped it on the back, to hold the pin at the top.

and then fastened one of my grandmother’s pins to the wrapped ribbon.

I chose to make some with a Christmas theme, because we have downsized and I don’t have room for the big Christmas trees we used to have, but I still want to decorate.  But you could make these with all kinds of themes – a different holiday, a travel destination, a favorite hobby, or a shared memory.

Besides bringing all those little treasures out where you can enjoy them, the best thing about this project is that nothing is permanent!  I can re-use any of the buttons, beads, or jewelry if I ever think of a better use for them.