Thursday, October 20, 2011

Decorative Storage Boxes

I first made these boxes about ten years ago when I was in desperate need for storage and only had leftover moving boxes and some tape. Urrrrgly. I realized last week that all of the assorted trinkets I plan to get the girl for Christmas this year are going to wind up mixed up in her toy box or scattered all over the house. While making the boxes, I decided that I can now spend the next few weeks until Christmas, slowly filling them up with things made or inexpensively bought. One box, for instance, will hold a collection of beads that will be both made and glass beads, as well as some beading string and wire. Another will hold doll clothes I am going to make out of my fabric remnants. Another will hold coloring books and crayons and various art supplies. And I'm sure Daddy will want to buy a few things for his princess as well.
              Once filled (and once we put up our tree) they will serve as gift boxes. No need for wrapping paper. No more disaster of a living room with scraps of wrapping paper, tape and bows for Mom to clean before prepping the Christmas ham. I win! I win four times because each child will be getting their own assortment of boxes (can you add free?) under the tree this year, which will give them all desperately needed storage in the new year.

Materials: Assorted boxes, or pieces of Corrugated Cardboard.
                Masking Tape
                Cheap Paintbrush
                Different kinds of papers
                White Craft Paper (only if you want to line them).
                Craft Paint
                Elmer's Glue (for gluing on large things).

For papers, I just found stuff around the house. You can also use torn fabrics, so long as they don't have any stretch to them. Silks and flannels work nicely. Here I used a brown paper grocery bag, a book (desecration, I know, but it's an awful book and already missing several pages), tissue paper, gift wrap, and I wound up using white crafting paper also.
My embellishments were things I found in my yard. Rose petals, Marigolds, even a weedy flower. Craft paint also works well to decorate after the paste dries.
Now I just used things around my house, but those who scrapbook can tell you that the scrapbooking isle of your local craft store has an amazing assortment of beautiful papers, ribbons, buttons and all of the glue-on stickable things you can imagine to make your boxes fit any decor. Also, I just used some old cardboard we had in the garage. If you want, you can do this with your old shoe boxes to save time. Just make sure you use corrugated cardboard on the sides of round boxes.

The first thing I did was make the boxes. It was easy, I just cut out the pieces for the top and the bottom, and strips for the side. It is important, you want the lid a little bigger around than the box. Half a centimeter, roughly. Don't worry if your box looks beat up like mine does, you're gonna cover the ugly up.
Next, make your paste. I prefer paste to glue because it's cheaper and rinses or wipes off easily. I'm going to get it all over my fingers, so I like to keep a sink full of water ready to rinse off in. The recipe for paste is very simple. 1 part flour to 4 parts water, put it in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

A brown paper grocery bag, painted with two colors of craft paint (one white and one purple), then spattered with silver makes a nice effect.

When you tear the paper into pieces, you get a rough brown edge to them. I used this for the heart shaped box and glued some marigold petals to the top of the lid.

  Pages of a book go nicely with the rose petals, but I had a hard time getting the petals to stick with the paste. Probably would have been easier if I had waited for the box to dry, then glued them on with Elmers glue. This book had some nice "Old Hollywood" looking pictures in it that would have been very glamorous. I have saved them for later, the would be perfect for a dress up box. I also thought that printing off some old family photos in a sepia tone would look nice with this, for a family heirloom box.

The tissue paper box was a lot of fun. After tearing the pieces up I smeared paste all over the top and pressed it into the pile. Next, I glued each little piece on one at a time, making sure to bunch them and make them stick up. It made me think of a pinata, and I think I have an idea for Adam's next birthday party!

You can find decorations just about anywhere, I got these little pink flowers from the back yard and glued them on with Elmers.

A simple stamp cut from a potato and some craft paint also can also dress up your box.

Although I'm skipping this part, lining the boxes is very easy with white craft paper and a little bit of Elmers glue. I don't recommend paste for that, too messy!
Once the boxes dry, they are very sturdy and will hold of for several years (I attest!) to your kids beating them, kicking them, stepping on them and all sorts of abuse.

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