This little project is based on the arrowhead display I worked on with my dad in the girls' shared room at the farm. I just loved how it turned out, and I think it can be easily applied to displaying other collections as well, from rocks to shells, and it's a sweet way to commemorate a summer's worth of adventure choosing the perfect pieces to add to a collection. The custom shadow box my dad created is much more of an involved project, but here is a simplified version.
Rocks or other small objects (these are a mix of some from our backyard, some from Chip's childhood, and some purchased from one of my fave children's shops, Treehouse) | pegboard (you can even get them to cut it to size for you at the store, if you need - there are smaller 2' x 4' sheets available!) | two 3/4" square dowels | Four brass screws | two packs of 3/4" middle hinges | 10' copper wire (they sell it by the foot at home depot - just ask for help!) | philips head screwdriver | drill and tiny drill bit | picture hanging bracket | jigsaw or hacksaw | black paint (I used chalkboard spray paint)
First, lay out your items on the pegboard to determine how large it needs to be. Cut it down to size, using a jigsaw or hacksaw (or get the guys at the store to do it!). Then paint the board and trim the dowels to size. I made the vertical pieces shorter, and the horizontal pieces longer. Next, attach the hinges to the pegboard, two on each side. It helps if you pre-drill! After this, attach the other side of the hinges to the dowels. It's easiest to do this if you just lay it out on the table to keep the dowels in line with the back of the pegboard. Then, I screwed the brass screws into the top of the horizontals, to keep the dowels in place. Be sure to predrill, and do this carefully and slowly by hand, because this wood can split very easily! Then comes the fun part! Lay out the rocks, and twist the copper wire around them, through the peg holes and twist in the back to keep the rocks in place. The copper wire I used came as a strand of 7, so I divided it into two or three strand pieces.
It's a really fun way to display a little collection - and I think labels would also be sweet, saying where they were found and when.