Pressed Penny Souvenir Display

Pressed Penny Souvenir Display

Posted by DecoArt on Jul 29th 2014

We just got home from a fun family vacation to Williamsburg, Va., and the Amish Country in Pennsylvania. Along the way, my 7-year-old son added to his souvenir penny collection. When we got back home, he wanted a fun way to display his travel memories, rather than keeping them in a box in his nightstand drawer. I made him a shadowbox to display his collection using an inexpensive frame, printable maps, paint and decoupage medium.

Items Needed:

  • 2" Chip Brush
  • Foam Brush
  • Water Basin
  • Maps
  • Wooden Frame
  • Small Foam Adhesive Mounting Squares
  • Sand Paper
  • Petroleum Jelly Or Paraffin
  • Paper Towel
  • Cardboard To Fit Frame


I wanted the shadowbox frame to have a really rustic, chippy, vintage Americana look. So, I painted it using a special resist technique with petroleum jelly, then did some heavy distressing with a medium-grit sanding block.

I started out with a base coat of Americana Chalky Finish paint in Rouge on my frame.

When that had dried, I rubbed petroleum jelly randomly on the frame in places where I wanted the paint to resist. Then, I followed with a topcoat of Americana Chalky Finish Paint in Legacy.

When it had dried, I first used a paper towel to wipe away the patches of blue paint over the petroleum jelly.

Instruction Image #1

A little more distressing with the sanding block revealed more of the red paint and wood underneath.

Instruction Image #2

To make the background to display our penny collection, I printed out several copies of the same U.S. highway map, in different sizes. (I used this map from ( You could also pages from an atlas.

I cut the maps in varying sizes and arranged them on a piece of cardboard cut to fit the frame. (I used a priority mail box!)

Once I had a pleasing arrangement, I used a foam brush to coat the back of each sheet of paper with Americana Decou-Page in Gloss and adhered each map to the cardboard, being careful to smooth out any wrinkles and bubbles. Once the cardboard was completely covered, I added an outline map of the United States to the center of the cardboard.

Decou-Page is a glue, sealer and finish all in one, so I brushed on two coats of it on the top of the map collage to seal, allowing it to dry between coats.

Instruction Image #3

I used small adhesive foam mounting squares to attach the pennies to the collage.

Instruction Image #4

Using the mounting squares helps the pennies pop off the map.

This shadowbox will be a fun way to document our family's travel adventures for years to come. It might even become a keepsake!

And at 51 cents each, pressed pennies are one of cheapest souvenirs money can buy. We won't mind adding to our son’s collection.

Instruction Image #5