What to do with those old concert tickets?

One of the questions I had for the internets on my day off was how to best handle my concert tickets.

Music has been a big part of my life to now, and continues to be so on a daily rotation. The way in which I seek it out now has changed from the way it used to be – I’ll take a festival or small show most times over the large concerts from the Blockbuster Pavillion days, or listen to albums at home. But I want to remember and display some of the nifty relics from the past and days gone by.

An old unused picture frame caught my attention this morning while I was piddling around in the attic, and with a few quick searches I was nearly there. This blog was the best for the beginnings of the idea, especially the cork. A visit to A.C. Moore brought more complication than help, but mostly because I was looking for a way to affix the ticket stubs to the frame with minimal damage to the memento. But I didn’t know quite what I was looking for – not fancy corners, maybe tacks, but a call to my buddy Warren (more on him later) set things straight: use invisible tape, and don’t put them somewhere they’re exposed to sunlight. The sun’s harmful rays not only damage eyes and skin, but make the soy-based ink on your ticket fade faster.

So here’s how to go about framing your tickets, and what you need.

1 empty picture frame, something that’s a good size, with some depth between the mounting surface and the glass.
1 roll of cork, the size of the frame, about 1/8″ thick
tape measure
wood glue
glass cleaner
pen, paper
pocket knife or box cutter.
invisible tape, magic tape, whatever you want to call it
something large and relatively heavy ish
1 buncha cool tickets


Put the frame on its back on your work surface. Measure the inside dimensions of the frame with your tape measure and write that down. Clear the work area and unroll your cork. Measure those dimensions on the cork, being careful to draw straight lines at right angles. Score those lines along the straight edge with the knife, and then cut those with the scissors (cutting the cork with the knife will cause it to tear). Set the measured and cut cork to the side. Clear the work area.

Pull the back off of the frame and clean the edges with your finger to remove loose bits of cardboard and such. Put the back of the frame back side down (with the mounting hardware underneath). Unroll your cork on the back to check that it fits – it should be just a little smaller than the frame back. Take the cork off. Squirt some wood glue on the frame back within the dimensions of the cork. I go with the “X in a box” glue pattern, but others go with the squiggle. Either way, pay attention to the corners and center especially. Put the cork on the frame back and lay your large and relatively heavy ish thing on it.

Let that sucker hang out for a couple hours while you dig out and go through your tickets. Put on an album, pour some tea or a beer and dig in to those memories.
Remember the times you danced and/or rocked, the point at which everything got drippy and trippy, those smiles, laughter of friends and dancing with your sweetie.

By the time you’ve culled a good handful of tickets, the glue should be somewhat set. Go back to your work area and put the frame matting on the cork. The area inside will be what your people see. Lay your tickets down to get and idea of what you want it to look like.

Getting a feel for the area.

Once you’re happy, grab your tape and stick those suckers down with some little loops on the back of each ticket so the tape isn’t seen (ew).


The transparent tape releases easily, so it won’t damage the tickets, but can only be picked up and moved a little bit. Clean the inside of the picture frame glass. Be careful here, because this ain’t your car window. Clean any dust off of the tickets and matting and put the sucker together.


Wipe down the front of the frame with some glass cleaner, and, voila! You now don’t have to brag about all those cool shows you’ve seen. Your buddies will see for themselves.

Finished product.

I guess you could use anything as backing, but I like cork for its texture and color.

Some of your tickets may not be so flat. Warren said that’s how he knew he had a good time, by how crumpled up they are after a show (“It’s the one thing keeping me in reality, man.”). If you encounter that, just stick ’em under something heavy for a while.

Oh, what did I listen to while doing this?

Glad you asked.


3 responses to “What to do with those old concert tickets?

  1. Nice Barn Party ticket, brah. That’s true elder material right there.

  2. The back reads “Crown Royal” and has a green metallic star.

  3. This would be a great instructable over at the MAKE website. Nice collection.

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