9 DIY memory box ideas to keep special days close at heart

Decorated Father's Day and Mother's Day memory boxes sit on a light green surface.

Every incredible trip, amazing party and huge milestone comes with its own unique memories and little objects worth holding on to. One of the best ways to do that? Build a DIY memory box!

Never built one? Don’t worry—we’ve got all the ideas you need to start building your own memory boxes right here, including ideas for birthdays, vacations, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day and more.

Inspired? Create and share by tagging @HallmarkStores.

What’s a memory box?  

The first time I felt the need to make a memory box, I’d just come back from a great trip to the Caribbean with my now-husband. I had all these little things that I’d collected along the way and couldn’t bear to toss: A boarding pass. A local map. A seashell. A cheap, goofy keychain with an iguana on it—a nod to the lizards we saw scrabbling all over the desert island.

I wanted to save all this stuff to look back on later. So I put all of it in its own little box and labeled it “Aruba.”

And at its most simple, that’s what a memory box is—a place to keep the little trinkets, scraps and photos that bring to mind a special place, person or day.

What kinds of things can you make memory boxes for?

While my initial approach was pretty bare bones, one of the coolest things about DIY memory boxes is all the ways they can be customized and personalized. Because life is honestly full of people, places and occasions that deserve remembering in this kind of fun, unique way.  

Need proof? Here are just a few reasons you might want to put together a DIY memory box of your own…or make one for someone else!

Kids Memory Box  

I don’t know a single parent who doesn’t save all kind of weird things from their kids’ growing years, only to end up with a drawer of strangeness. (Not judging—my dad saved ALL my teeth. 😱) But this is your chance to turn it into something cute!

You could save their baby shoes; a lock of hair from their first haircut; the pacifier they finally gave up; their first lost tooth (with this free, printable tooth fairy certificate); a shell from their first time seeing the ocean, and many, many pictures.

Vacation Memory Box  

A memory box filled with items from various vacations and adventures sits on a light blue surface; the memory box is white, and the lid is covered in travel-themed stickers representing different countries; inside the box are concert ticket stubs, seashells, a small, swing-top jar with sand in it, drink umbrellas, a champagne cork, maps, postcards and a blue and white floral scarf.


Hello, you’ve only been dreaming of visiting this place for most of your life! You can’t commemorate it with just a few photos stored in the cloud that you almost never look at, right? 

Why not make a memory box and put in Metro or other transportation passes; ticket stubs to events; maps of museums; menus from restaurants you loved; pictures of you in front of monuments or sites you’d always dreamed of seeing; and a small travel journal with thoughts captured in the moment or that day.


Prom Memory Box  

Make this one a surprise or make it with them! If you know the theme of their prom, you could decorate the outside of the box to match.

Then, add their dried corsage or boutonniere, the invitation, pictures with their friends and/or their date, a decorative hair clip, tiara or headpiece, or their bow tie (as long as it wasn’t rented).


Birthday Memory Box  

A birthday memory box sits on a light pink surface; the box is lime green and has a white lid that reads,


It could be yours, or you could save things from the day and make a memory box for someone you love! This is especially fun for milestone birthdays like 18, 21, 30, 40, 50 and so on.

What goes inside a birthday memory box? Well, let’s see…you could put all the birthday cards received that day inside. Then add blown-out birthday candles (if you know the wish made, write it down!); fun coasters or napkins from the party; scraps of tissue, gift wrap or gift tags; receipts from a celebratory dinner; and tickets from a concert or just a fun night out.

A woman's hands place birthday napkins and candles into a birthday memory box, which already holds birthday cards and envelopes, gift bows, streamers, and a noise maker.

A woman's hands tie a small bundle of birthday cards together using bright orange yarn that has been threaded through a hole punched in the top left corner of each card; there is an orange yarn pom-pom attached to the tie; nearby is a memory box filled with items from the party, like a noise maker, tissue paper, gift wrap, stickers, napkins, streamers, and a mini disco ball.

Gifting plus-up: If you’re making the memory box for someone else, a few little extras will make it feel even more special. For cards, tie them together by punching a hole in the top corner and tying them together with some twine, a cute pom-pom and a gift tag. A cute little pocket made of tissue paper or gift wrap can hold instant photos from your special day!


Graduation Day Memory Box  

Anyone will tell you, for something you spent years working on, this day just flies by. So a graduation memory box is definitely something worth thinking about.

Add their graduation tassel to make sure it doesn’t get lost; their graduation cap if it wasn’t rented and especially if they took the time to decorate it; the program from the ceremony; snapshots from the day; graduation cards given or mailed to them for their big day; and any great advice from mentors or family members they might want to remember.

Mother’s Day Memory Box  

A Mother's Day memory box with a light pink lid that's been decorated with a Mother's Day card and white pom-pom trim sits on a light yellow surface; inside the memory box are a Keepsake Ornament that reads


This would be SO GREAT as a gift for a spouse or for your own mom. If you’re making it for your spouse or partner, definitely get the kids involved—they’ll have fun and it’ll turn out extra heartwarming.

To put inside your memory box for Mom, you could collect Mother’s Day cards from close family members; drawings from the kiddos, if they’re helping; a small, framed photo; some pressed flowers (bonus points for her favorite ones); and a pretty scarf to wrap a fragile item like a “Mom” ornament. Or in the case of a new mom or mom-to-be, a sonogram photo ornament!

A man's hands hot glue white pom-pom craft trim to the top of a pink gift box; also glued to the top of the box is a Mother's Day card that reads,

A man's hands tie a bundle of Mother's Day cards together with pink and white striped baker's twine; attached to the twine is a white gift tag with a picture of a mother holding her baby daughter and sitting next to another woman, presumably the adult woman's mother; nearby is a Mother's Day memory box filled with children's crafts like a flower made of pipe cleaners and a crayon drawing of several rainbows with clouds.

Gifting plus-up: Tie cards together in a cute little bundle with twine and a sweet, personalized gift tag. For gifting memory boxes, go all out and decorate the gift box with things like stickers, ribbons or craft embellishments, like this adorable pom-pom trim. Taping a Mother’s Day card to the top is also a cute way to decorate.

Honeymoon Memory Box  

Most people have a photographer around to capture every special moment of their wedding day, but that’s usually not the case for the honeymoon. Making a memory box is a great way to turn all those little treasures you collect along the way into keepsakes.

If they don’t mind you keeping it, you could save the hotel room key card; notes left for you by hotel staff congratulating you; plane tickets that have your new married name on it (so official!); pictures of your adventure; silly notes you left each other; and wine or champagne corks from one of your first fancy/romantic dinners together as husband and wife.

Father's Day Memory Box  

A Father's Day memory box sits on a light green surface; the box is made of brown kraft cardboard; the top of the box is decorated with a Father's Day card taped down with blue and white striped washi tape, photos of a father and his toddler daughter smiling at the camera, and hand-drawn doodles surrounding everything in the style of a frame; inside the memory box are more photos, a baseball with a child's handprint on it in black ink, a white, ceramic frame with the words


If something would make a great gift idea for Mom, it could work as a great gift for Dad, too! He probably also has a secret stash of cards you’ve given him over the years, so find those if you can. Or just make sure he gets a new Father’s Day card! (I love the idea of decorating the top with a card like this one, too.)

You could also add drawings from the kids; a frame with a picture of him and the kiddo(s); a small gift (like this baseball handprint kit) to thank him for all the coaching he does, both at home and on the field; and ticket stubs from concerts or sporting events.

Baby’s First Christmas Memory Box  

They grow so fast. So disturbingly, unfairly fast. Granted, we have a whole article on ideas for Baby’s First Christmas, but somehow we missed this one.

Hold on to the memories of your baby’s first holiday season with the tiny Santa hat you had them wear; pictures of them in said tiny Santa hat; any pictures of them experiencing candy canes or Christmas cookies for the first time; that adorable outfit they’ll be too big for next year; bows and gift wrap from their first presents; their first Christmas ornament; and memories you’ve jotted down in a little journal for the season.


Honestly, these ideas are just the start! I’m betting you could dream up a bunch more reasons to make your own DIY memory box right this second. And if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that years from now, you’ll be glad you did.


Want more memory keeping ideas? We might have a few…