DIY Letterpress Tray / Shadow Box with your Beachcombing finds

Have you ever thought about how you could display your beachcombing finds?

How about putting them into a lovely vintage letterpress tray? 
These trays once held wooden letters for printing newspapers in the 1950's/1960's and the spaces are perfect for placing those gorgeous little things that you have found on the beach.

I decided to paint mine, however, leaving it natural is just as lovely....

I gave it a couple of coats of Annie Sloan's old white chalk paint.

Once finished and dried, I sanded it and waxed it to give it a little aged and distressed look. 

This is my daughter Little Miss 3's shell collection that she found over the Christmas break.

I originally laid them out in this tray first to see what it would like but decided to go with putting them in the painted one.

And this is what it looks like. I used super glue to stick the shells on & have stuck a couple of photos of her beachcombing on the beach, and also placed a photocopy of a chart/map of the island where we holiday. 

Looks great doesn't it? 
She will be able to add to it as the years go by and it will become a beautiful memento to keep forever. 

And I will add this photo, one of my favourites of my two little ones bare bottom together on the beach. 
Oh what wonderful memories.

The letterpress trays can be found online at 

And more ideas on how to display your beachcombing finds will be appear in another post soon.

If you're enjoying this blog - please don't hesitate to leave a comment. I love reading your comments.
Many thanks, 


  1. I have been trying to figure out what to do with my vintage letterpress tray, and I think you've won me over here! Everybody on pinterest just uses them as jewelry organizers, which is great but I already have jewelry systems in place... this is perfect!

    1. Oh Lauren, so glad you have discovered Coastal Vintage and given you another idea what to do. Both my little ones have a letterpress tray each and put all their beachcombing finds in them. Wonderful memories :)

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