Make a perfume memory box for mom

Make a perfume memory box for mom

By Andrea Ford

My first introduction to fragrances was via my mother—her collection of scents were curated on her bureau in a perfectly glamorous vignette. As early as I can remember, I’d paw and play with her beauty potions and jewellery, spritzing the perfumes and colognes until I smelled like a cheap deodorizer.

Now, as an adult, a whiff of Calvin Klein’s Obsession catapults me right back into my mother’s bedroom, circa 1985, trying on her shoulder pads and high heels. Fast-forward a decade and, thankfully, her fragrance mellowed to a signature Oscar de la Renta scent. While my Mom is a fragrance connoisseur of classics, she only indulged in a spritz or two on special occasions – ones of which I have the most vivid memories. Her style evolution is defined in my memory by her fragrance choices and are paired with milestones in my life.

Just in time for Mother’s Day we’ve created time-capsule art using iconic scents and snapshots of our life together—they make for thoughtful and memorable gifts that can be quickly put together. Try it for your mom (or keep it in mind for Father’s Day too, incorporating your dad’s favourite spritzes), to create charming, 3-dimensional scrapbooks for her wall. For the most impact, construct a few pieces and group them together in a collage.


  • Wooden craft boxes
  • Wallpaper or fabric remnant
  • Spray paint
  • Contact cement or brush-on glue
  • Double-sided tape
  • Double-sided foam tape/photo paper mounting spacers
  • Krazy Glue
  • Empty fragrance bottles or miniatures
  • Flat bracket picture hangers
  • Picture-hanging nails
  • Photos


  • Screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Metal-edge ruler


STEP 1. Gather empty fragrance bottles or sample sizes of iconic fragrances you associate with key moments in your life with your mom.

STEP 2. Remove cover and hardware from craft boxes and sand lightly to remove rough edges. You can use wood filler to fill the small hardware holes.

STEP 3. Spray the box with paint or brush on with foam brush. 2-3 coats will be needed.

STEP 4. Measure wallpaper or fabric to fit the inside bottom of the box. Cut to size with utility knife and metal-edge ruler or fine scissors.

STEP 5. Brush contact cement or glue on back of wallpaper/fabric and the surface of the box bottom. Let stand 15 seconds until almost dry to the touch. Press onto the bottom of the box and smooth out with a straight edge or credit card.

Step 6. Screw hanging brackets to the centre back of the box.

STEP 7. Print keepsake photos. Black and white or sepia tones work well. A small border around the photo also helps it separate visually from the background fabric/wallpaper.

STEP 8. Cut small pieces of double-sided foam tape or photo-mounting spacers and position on back 4 corners of the photos. Place on papered/fabric background of the box.

STEP 9. Add Krazy Glue to the bottom of the fragrance bottles and position on the inside ledge of the box. Press tightly while the glue sets.

STEP 10. Measure for wall hanging in an eclectic gallery or symmetrical, lined-up display.

ANDREA’S TIP: For ease of gift giving, try wrapping each capsule box individually or glue the boxes together in a collage for a larger piece of memory art.

In 2010, designer and maker Andrea Ford opened RE:Style Studio, a workshop and event space for décor seminars, one-on-one upholstery classes and DIY parties. RE:Style Studio offers a range of reupholstery, custom furniture and interior design services.
Stay tuned at The Whale & The Rose for more of Andrea’s special DIY projects, and make sure to visit her site,, for shopping, info on her upcoming workshops and for inspiration.
You can also follow Andrea on Twitter, @andrearestyle
Next Post:
Previous Post:
This article was written by

Deborah Fulsang has spent the last two decades as a journalist covering news and trends in the worlds of style—in fashion and beauty, design and décor, food and entertaining. Her long-held love of fragrance led her to launch The Whale & The Rose, a destination for all things perfume-related. Now, when she indulges in a crazy-expensive bottle of fragrance, she can do so guilt-free. Well almost. It’s all in the name of research after all.