Preserve Family History with Memorykeeping Crafts

Photos can only say so much. Preserve your family's history through the voices and artifacts of those who lived it with creative memorykeeping crafts.

Use the following instructions to protect and artfully display cherished family trinkets, writings, and yes, photographs, on any wall or in any room of your home. 

And for more creative ways to honor and remember your loved ones, try these tips for creating audio recordings.

Display It in a Jar
"My grandfather bought my grandmother a Singer sewing machine on an installment plan in 1936. She used the machine until she died in 1994. It made everything -- her wedding dress; the First Communion dress worn by my mom, me, and my three sisters; the slipcovers in her house; even the dress she was buried in." -- Rory Evans, contributing writer online

How to Do It
Preserve multiple keepsakes related to a person or a special day in any glass vessel with a lid to keep the dust out. Arrange the items so that the heaviest ones are at the bottom.


Iron It on a Towel
"As a child, I remember my grandmother classifying milk as either 'sweet' (whole) or 'sour' (buttermilk). She also taught me about oleo. Her simple recipes are reminders that she lived and cooked through the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and World War II, when staples were scarce and expensive." -- Shira Bocar, deputy food editor

How to Do It
Virtually anything you can scan can be transferred onto fabric with Avery's T-Shirt Transfer kit. Scanning can be done on a home device, at photo-processing centers, or at office-supply stores. 


  1. Scan your document or photo and print it onto the transfer paper. Cut loosely around the design, leaving a 1/8-inch border. 
  2. Lay your ironed fabric on top of a flat pillowcase on a hard, heat resistant surface. (An ironing board has too much padding.) 
  3. Lay your printed transfer sheet facedown on the fabric. 
  4. With the iron set on high and no steam, slowly run the iron over the paper while applying firm, even pressure. Let cool, then remove paper backing.


Hang It Up
"My father always wore a pendant with his zodiac sign. When I was a baby, he bought me a tiny Leo pendant, but I was always jealous of his. Eventually he bought me a larger one. I wear the two of them on a chain almost every day. Now that he has Alzheimer's, it helps me feel closer to him." -- Caryn Prime, assistant managing editor

How to Do It
Instead of using a plain old hook to hang a necklace, hammer two nails into the wall a couple inches apart at varying heights. To dress them up, superglue decorative buttons to the nailheads.


Make a Scrapbox
"The most cherished thing I have from my grandfather is his old pocketknife. Typical of our crafty family, he etched his address into the handle. It went everywhere with him -- from archaeological digs in Crete to hikes up our beloved Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. It even has some antique cheese crumbs inside from a long-ago picnic." -- Amy Merrick, contributing writer

How to Do It
Use a shadowbox and create a 3D scrapbook page. Larger, heavier objects can be secured using double-sided adhesive foam tape

See more examples of scrapboxes on MarthaStewart.com.

For more creative ways to honor and remember your loved ones, consider recording and preserving interviews with them.


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