Knick knack shelves

Knick Knack shelves

I've been using a knick knack shelf for a few years to display souvenirs and other small items. I wish I'd started collecting earlier, because then I would have had stuff from all my travels. As it is, I've only got items from a few places I've been.

This one belongs to a friend. The glass objects were bought in Turkey.


So what is a knick knack shelf? The first one I saw was an antique type tray. It's also called a California Job Case. The real thing often has really small cubbyholes and is large. They're heavy, but can still be hung on the wall. My first shelf was a smaller, cheap knock off with cork background. They're also known by other names: Curio shelves, curio cabinets, display cases, cubbyhole shelves, cubbybox. Australia: shadow boxes. Sweden: prylhyllor, sätterikast, blykast, tittskåp. Norway: settekasser. They come in all sizes, and are made in anything from luxury wood to pizza boxes!

This one's mine. It contains souvenirs from places I've travelled, though sadly not all the places I've been - wish I'd thought of it sooner. It contains one home made item, some I've picked up where I've been. Two items are from internet pen pals. Some odds and ends ended up here just because of their size...

What do I collect? Anything that will fit into the small cubby holes in the shelf. Anything that looks pretty and that makes me remember stuff.

I've got many items I didn't buy:

  • sea shells (I've written time and place with marker on some)
  • small rocks
  • nuts (I've got a chestnut I marked with a white pen - it's a reminder of one specific trip)

I also have a salt dough item, but if I only had the time and the creativity, I'd make more craft items.

Types of craft items that would be perfect as gifts for someone who has a curio shelf (remember to check the size of the cubbyholes):

  • polymer clay
  • real clay
  • salt dough
  • glass jewellery
  • glass beads
  • woodcarving
  • objects encased in acrylic
  • dried flowers
  • beading
  • mosaic
  • gypsum
  • ornate boxes
  • ornate soaps
  • origami
  • woodworking
  • gourds
  • polished wood or stones
  • crocheting

Then there are antiques. Bottles, doll china, small photo frames, small figurines, scrimmage, ivory, glass

Typical souvenirs that are small enough:

  • thimbles
  • tea kettles
  • doll china
  • refrigerator magnets
  • snow globes
  • keyrings
  • folklore dress dolls
  • beaded objects
  • badges
  • knockoffs of tourist attractions
  • metal crests
  • glass items
  • candy canes
  • swarowsky
  • belt buckles, depending on size of shelf
  • tin soldiers

Regular objects that may be small enough and beautiful in their own right:

  • perfume bottles
  • ornate boxes
  • tea boxes (found some tiny ones years ago)
  • pill boxes
  • mini books
  • stuffed animals
  • toy cars
  • christmas ornaments
  • doily
  • candy tins
  • chess pieces
  • fancy erasers

Since I started collecting, I buy souvenirs with this display case in mind. I make sure the items are small enough. I've got a small replica of a crown that looks especially nice in that cubbyhole.

Curio shelves with contents that I found on the net.

How to make one yourself:


Last Updated (Sunday, 09 October 2011 20:20)