How to Make a Cheap Souvenir


You love going on vacation, but you hate spending half of your vacation money on souvenirs people made you promise to bring back for them. Not to fret: you can make a cheap souvenir that is even more endearing than half of the store-bought junk people would otherwise receive. A keen eye and some paint markers are all you need to make a cheap souvenir. If it comes out ugly, you can fret even less. You know that will be the last time anyone asks you to bring back something from your trip. Here’s how to make a cheap souvenir.

Things You'll Need

  • Debris
  • Paint markers
  • Chalk or pencil (optional)
  • Paper and pen (optional)
  • Find an appropriate piece of debris. "Appropriate" means something indicative of the place you are visiting. A smooth chunk of shell would be good debris from a beach resort. A cobblestone hunk would work for a Paris street. A piece of wood or bark works well for a trip to the redwood forest. Just about any hunk of junk works from a visit to New York City.

  • Make sure the debris is usable. You want at least one flat surface on the debris big enough to write in bubble letters. You also want something that is durable and won’t fall apart getting thrown about on the plane ride home.

  • Prepare your debris. Wash off any salt water, sewage, dirt, dust, or crust that may be on your debris. Scrape off stuck-on stuff. Pull off any tendrils that look like they are about to fall off anyway. Do away with any sharp edges. Allow your debris piece to dry thoroughly.

  • Sketch your design. One of the best designs to put on a piece of souvenir debris is the name of the place you are visiting. Your seashell, then, could read: Hawaii or Pacific, or wherever you happen to be. Use a piece of chalk, pencil, or fine line from your paint marker to map out the wording on your debris to make sure it all fits. You can also sketch your design on a piece of paper before applying it to the debris if you are unsure of how to space everything.

  • Paint it. Once you have the layout sketched on the debris or in your imagination, paint away. Use a black paint pen to outline the lettering and fill in the letters with designs or solid colors. Use designs also appropriate to the place you're visiting, like little fish on the seashell. Make sure each color marker dries thoroughly before you add the next color or they will smear together.

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