Paperweights can be a pretty addition to a home or make up a beautiful display in a shop window or shelf. The art of display involves allowing each individual paperweight to stand out and attract attention. The practicalities of keeping collectibles safe, while still on view, means that care must be taken to arrange the paperweights in a place where they cannot be easily knocked over or faded by sunlight.
Separate the paperweights into fragile and more robust items. Break down the collection into groups by style or era, for example, crystal ware or arts and crafts. A cohesive theme allows browsers and admirers to judge the paperweights in context.
Cast a critical eye around the room where you plan to display the paperweights. Look for wall space where you can place a shelf or a display case, and areas with good lighting, so the detail of the collectibles can easily be seen. Be careful of sunny areas, as sunlight can fade certain collectibles.
Walk through the room to check whether the area you've chosen for the paperweight display is safe from people walking through and inadvertently knocking over the collectibles.
Make sure the area is visible from the general seating area if you are displaying the paperweights at home or in a private office. The collectibles are decorations, and visitors should be able to enjoy them when they stop by.
Buy some shelves to mount on the wall at eye level. If the paperweights are expensive, choose an expensive finish to complement them. If you do not wish to put up shelves, buy a display case instead. Glass-fronted display cases keep dust away from the collectibles and discourage handling of the ornaments, which can be useful in a home setting but counter-productive in a shop setting, when customers want to take a close look at potential purchases.
Buy some holders for your collectibles if the base of the items is not particularly stable. Holders can be in many forms and made of various materials. Plastic rings are cheap and resilient. Glass stands are more fragile but look more expensive, as do wrought iron stands or wooden stands. Acrylic stands come in many colors and shapes. A more unusual way of displaying paperweights can be to suspend them from an ornament tree. Open boxes lined with tissue paper can also add a touch of luxury to a paperweight nestled inside.
Arrange the paperweights so the more fragile ones are set well back from the edge of the shelf or case. Contrast the paperweight colors with the background to allow them to stand out. Use colored backdrop cloths to make them stand out if painting the wall isn't an option. Velvet base cloths can also make the collectibles pop.
Place your favorite nonfragile paperweights in prime spots, such as on the mantelpiece or on the coffee table, where you can look at them and enjoy them everyday.
Things You'll Need:
- Individual stands
- Shelf or display case
Jillian O'Keeffe has been a freelance writer since 2009. Her work appears in regional Irish newspapers including "The Connacht Tribune" and the "Sentinel." O'Keeffe has a Master of Arts in journalism from the National University of Ireland, Galway and a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from University College Cork.