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4 creative ways to save your Basic Training letters forever

Now that you’ve made it through boot camp, you might be looking for ways to …


Now that you’ve made it through boot camp, you might be looking for ways to save your basic training letters, and all the nostalgia that comes along with them.

There’s plenty of ways to protect and preserve these memories without adding to clutter piles or losing some in a PCS move. Whether you’re into upcycling, DIY-ing, or keeping it simple, we’ve got some ideas for you.

Here are five ways to save those precious basic training letters forever:

1. Love Letter Bedroom Decor

Boot Camp Love Letter Artwork by Hannah Hathaway

If you got a melt-your-heart kind of letter while your service member was in boot camp or deployed, you probably read it a million times. Take that same letter and turn it into beautiful bedroom decor like USMC military spouse Hannah Hathaway did.

How to: Hannah has a great step-by-step photo tutorial here. Want to make it even easier? Frame and hang your favorite letter from your service member. No paintbrush required!

2. Shadow Box

Boot camp letters shadow box by mrs.sherriemiller

If you’re crafty at all, a shadow box is one way to display all your letters from boot camp or long deployments. Most craft stores sell these in all sizes, depending on how artsy you want to get! These make for a great welcome home gift idea. DIY junkie Sherrie Miller created this shadow box with a bundle of letters from her exchanges with husband Taylor Miller.

How to: Pinterest has a ton of ideas for inspiration. Collect your letters and any embellishments (like name tags or extra pins) to create your shadow box with momentos you love.

3. Have a Photoshoot

Sandboxx letters

Once your loved one is back, have fun with all those letters you both wrote. Whether it’s your son, daughter, friend, or significant other, grab a camera and the letters and snap pics. Emily and John Hyde did an impromptu photoshoot with their Sandboxx letters soon after landing at their first duty station.

How to: Get dressed up with your uniformed member for a photoshoot on base or at your favorite location near your new duty station. This works well for families, too. Turn it into a special memory by inviting a professional photographer to capture just what you’re looking for.

4. Bundle and Box

Distributed under a Creative Commons CC0 license

Whether you exchanged one or 150 letters, you’ll probably have enough boot camp or deployment letters for a nice bundle. Find your stack of letters and bundle it with pretty twine or ribbon. Keep your letters safe in a pretty box or a DIY container.  

How to: If you like crafting, buy a plain wooden box and use Mod Podge to decorate the outside with magazine clippings or the envelopes of your old basic training letters. A nicely decorated box works just as well, too.

How do you put your basic training letters on display? Share in the comments below! If you try any of these, be sure to share your pics with us on social media!

Seraine Page
Seraine Page is a freelance writer and the wife of a Navy veteran. She lives in sunny Florida and loves to write engaging content to inform, inspire and entertain the military community.