12 Tips on How to Make a DIY Memory Board


If you’re planning a memorial service, graduation party, or a birthday celebration, consider making a memory board for your event. Memory boards are a great way to share photographs and mementos to celebrate the people you love.  

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Here are some basic tips on how to make a memory board for your next event. Tips include what different materials you can use and what you can include in your memory board. Whatever event you are creating a memory board for, the time you spend on the project will be time well-spent.

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Tips for a Memory Board for a Funeral or Memorial Service

Many websites recommend creating a memory board to display at a visitation, wake, or funeral service. There are several reasons that creating a memory board could be a good idea.

First, a memory board honors the life of the person you loved. Second, those attending the service will appreciate seeing photos of your loved one from their life. Finally, the process of creating a memory board gives you time to sit with your emotions. It may end up helping you process your grief.

Gather your materials 

When creating a memory board for a funeral, consider using a tri-fold display board, similar to those used in science fairs. You should be able to find display boards in almost any color, but consider using a muted colo or you could go with a simple white or black one. Depending upon the number of photos and mementos you would like to share, you may need to buy several boards. 

Since you’re using a tri-fold display board for this project, you won't have to worry about how to showcase it. Tri-fold display boards are designed to stand without any support. The board can sit on top of a table. Just make sure there is a table that is the appropriate height at the funeral location.

While you are in the craft store, buy adhesive for the project. Since you will be using a lot of materials, consider purchasing scrapbooking adhesive. It usually comes in a tape dispenser. Make sure you read the label to confirm that the tape is of archival quality. If you’re worried about ruining the photos, you can try to find an adhesive that isn’t permanent. That way, you can remove photos from the memory board after the event is over. 

You can buy nice paper and pens for labeling your memory board or purchase printer paper and ink so you can print labels. 

Gather the images and mementos

If you’re able to, reach out to family and friends of the deceased. Ask them to contribute their favorite photos for the memory board. If you can, find pictures from various stages of the deceased’s life. Try to depict every member of your loved one's family on the display board. Leaving out people from the display may cause hurt feelings. 

Consider whether you would like to use adhesive on your original images. Even if the makers of the glue tape says it can be removed easily, do you want to risk it?

If you decide to make prints from your original photos, you can also consider enlarging the images. Your display board could have more impact with larger photos.

You may also want to look for one-of-a-kind mementos. You might be able to gather awards, medals, and certificates to include. It may seem counter-intuitive, but a funeral isn’t the time to be modest. It's time to celebrate the life of someone you loved—so show off what an amazing life they had.

Invite others to take part 

If you’re grieving, it sometimes helps to have others around you. Invite a few friends over to help you create the memory board, talk about the photos, and share memories. You might find yourself laughing, but you may even shed a few tears together, too.

Organize the photos 

Consider organizing the photos in chronological order. Divide the pictures among the boards and narrow down your choices. Try to pick the photos that best represent your loved one. Your photos may have more impact if you only include the best images.

Or you can consider organizing the photos by topic. For example, use one board to share images of your dad fishing and hunting. One board may show your dad interacting with his grandkids. Another board could be photos of your dad with your mom.

Label the images

Print or write out labels for your photos. Don't worry about whether you know the exact dates or locations of the events. Even general tags can be helpful, such as, "Dad with his mom in the 1920s." or "Mom with her sister Susan and brother Michael visiting the Grand Canyon in 1988." 

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Tips for a Graduation Memory Board

Graduations are a special time for students and their parents. It's the end of one era and the beginning of a new one. If you are having a graduation party, consider making a memory board for your child. 

Print photos of your child

Find as many photos as you can. Try to find baby photos, and photos from different stages of your child’s life so far. The photos of your daughter taking her first steps or the pictures of your son at his drum recital would be great additions. Photos of other special events would be appropriate to include. Photos from birthday parties, family vacations, and Eagle Scout trips would work well. 

Before you do anything with the photos, let your child look at the pictures you are planning to use. They should get the opportunity to nix embarrassing images. After all, the graduation party is about your child, so they should be given a say in what photos are displayed.

Look on Pinterest for display ideas

You will find an overwhelming number of memory board ideas on Pinterest. Use some of those ideas, but don't be afraid to get creative. There are a lot of ways to display your photos that don’t involve a board.

You can hang photos on stair railings, from light fixtures, and on your front door. Or you could cover a magnetic board with decorative paper.

Mount your photos on black or white cardstock

Mounting the images of your child on black or white paper will make them pop. Alternatively, you could mount the pictures on cardstock that matches your child's school colors. 

Organize your photos by theme

If you are like most modern parents, you have thousands of photos of your child. Try to organize your photos by theme. You could place all your daughter's dance photos on one display and her volleyball photos on another. Is your child continuing his or her education? Create one display in the college's school colors to celebrate their new adventure. 

Tips for a Birthday Memory Board

Are you helping a loved one celebrate a milestone birthday? Consider snazzing up the party by creating a birthday memory board. Why wait for a person's funeral to show them how extraordinary their lives have been?

Create a French memory board as a birthday gift 

If you are organizing a birthday party for a close friend or family member, you could create a memory board as a gift. French memory boards are an especially nice gift. French memory boards are crisscrossed with ribbons and padded. One can tuck the pictures and mementos beneath the ribbons, so they can be swapped out at any time. Look online for instructions on how to create a French memory board.

Use the French memory board as a decoration for your party. Before gifting it you could print some photos from the party to add to the board.

Embellish your memory board with glitter, stickers, or balloons

It's a birthday party! It's time to celebrate. Add glitter around your image and stickers to your memory board. Add ribbons and bows. Look for embellishment ideas on Pinterest. 

Include printed quotes on your display.

Search online for free downloadable images of quotes. You will find plenty of quotes about friendship, love, and the importance of family. Tell the special person in your life how much they mean to you. 

Create a display of photos in an interesting shape

Is the birthday girl turning 40? Arrange the photos, so they are in the shape of the number 40. Or arrange the pictures in the form of a heart. Your photo display can double as a decoration for your party. 

Make one as the party happens

Polaroid cameras are making a comeback. With their return, it’s getting easier to take fast photos. Why not create a memory board while celebrating your loved one? You can make an area for photos with a backdrop and props for guests to use.

Leave your memory board blank or decorate it, whatever you’d like. Ask guests to glue their photos onto the board after they take them. By the end of the party, you’ll have a new memento! 

Showing Your Love Through Photos

Creating a memory board or photo display is a loving act. That's why a memory board can be made for lots of occasions. There's no right or wrong way to create a memory board. Use your creativity and your heart, and your display will be one to remember. 


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