Q: I've a LOT of certificates from different places: school, councils, clubs, summer camps, you name it, and I keep them all an old bag; I need some creativity in using them to decorate the room, or to display them in anyway, or at least to get them out of that bag!
Tip #1: My brother, a single parent, has three active boys who had the same "problem:" lotsa certificates! Not a bad problem to have...He came up with Brag Books. He purchased large, attractive, three-ring binders and put archival quality page protectors in. Into the protectors go all the certificates, newspaper clippings, report cards, etc. When they come visit Grandma & Grandpa, the books come too. That way the grandparents and the Aunt (me) can see the results of their hard work.
Tip #2: Shadow boxes! WHOHOOOO!! I love those things! You could display the medals, and maybe even the certificates, along with a photo of the person getting the medal or something. Then you can get different sizes of shadow boxes and display them on shelves, all lined next to each other. The different size boxes will add dimension and give it a "not so stiff" looking layout. Good luck!
Tip #3: It's great that you've kept these all, because they are the basis of decor I've learned from an interior decorator. You can buy inexpensive shadow boxes from garage sales, thrift stores for two dollars each & use each frame for a specific one given & add a picture, a small note printed off your computer telling the significance of the recognition for it. Then, you can showcase them along a long wall in your home at eye level about a foot between each frame & people who come over to your house would just marvel at your personalized achevements & it's also instant art! The great thing about shadow boxes is that you can include three dimensional objects as well that pertain to the event, mementos, ribbons, handwritten notes, cards, tags, buttons, etc.
Tip #4: I use a fringed section of blue jeans to display my collection of patriotic lapel pins and metal jean buttons. Just cut inside both seams and rip them up to the pockets and then rip them across the top. This will result in a flat piece of the leg and then I hang that up with some bib overall hardwear. Fit a sturdy cardboard backing to stiffen this so it hangs without sagging and then pin on your metals. My display holds over 250 buttons and lapel pins and takes up only 10 wide x34 inches long wall space. Regarding where to paste the certificate photocopies...think of window shades, closet doors or a folding screen. If the certificates are in a variety of areas you might use a clear wallhanging 5 bin file folder labeled for the child's multi talents.....Music awards, Art awards, etc.
Tip #5: I would suggest making reduced size photocopies of the certificates and then using them to decoupage a scrap book to put the originals in. You can then display the book. For the medals, what about keeping just the medal part not the ribbon. Or take all the ribbons and cover a bulletin board with them laid out flat then pin the medals to the board.
Tip #6: We have found over the years that certificates may need to be referred to now and again so we don't do much with them except for putting them in a three ring binder in archival quality pages (my husband's binder, which is needed for work sometimes is put away in a lock box). However, we do scrapbook/display copies of very important ones. Medals on the other hand are hard to lose if taken off the ribbon and sewn onto a long piece of heavy cloth (about 1 ft. by 3 ft.), similar to a tapestry. My boys are doing this with lapel pins and patches that they get when we travel and medals that they have earned along the way. This has been a great project for my boys to learn simple sewing skills. They picked out their own (single color) duck cloth, sewed a straight seam "pocket" on top and bottom which they put a wood dowel through for weight at the bottom and to hang it by on the top. Lots of fun.