Right now most of us are quarantining at home during this world pandemic. We are all finding different ways to spend our time and create happiness in this unknown and confusing situation. For me, I’ve found that I have more time to do cooking and crafting. I took this opportunity to go through all my supplies and find items I can do without having to go shopping for additional materials. It’s like a built in forcing function to tidy up. :) This is just one of those crafts I did while spending my time at home!
I am a saver (of memories). I love reminiscing through old photographs, memorabilia or passed down objects. The process of looking through old grade school or college memories takes me back to that place. :) Most of us understand the positives for saving these special memories…and we all know the negatives too. The best-seller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, is just one book on how to free your life of stuff. Another good one is, Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure by Maxwell Ryan. So in the spirit of freeing my life of stuff, I am trying to up-cycle some of my old stuff instead of buying more.
One of these objects is a wooden box I made for my senior project while I was at the University of Washington studying graphic design. I can’t exactly remember the senior project assignment…but I know that everyone was pretty much free to do whatever they wanted. The tradition for senior design students is to display the final projects in the Jacob Lawrence Gallery. The process was a lot of work culminating in a lecture and two gallery parties. It was quite a lot of work at the end of Spring quarter, right before graduating, which meant SERIOUS senior-itis.
So my senior project consisted of a hand-created (and designed) book that was housed in a wooden box that I made. I was so proud of this project that I have been toting it around over the years. Fast-forward to 2016…I pulled it out of my closet and laughed out loud (literally). I appreciated the effort, but holy crap…it was ugly. How did I even pass that class??!! I mentally thanked UW for my schooling and then threw the book in the trash. :) I did however keep the box cause it was a blank canvas for something cool, and I love containers. You could do this with most any wooden box from a craft store.
Natural wooden box
Acrylic paint in color(s) of your choice
Paint brush (I used a stencil brush)
Disposable plastic container (for paint)
Optional Supplies: Printed stencil, Ruler, x-acto knife, repositionable spray mount, and 2 small cabinet handles
Step 1: Create your design. I have been thinking about how I wanted to up-cycle this cherished memory, and I finally came up with painting a pattern on it to compliment my Pia Wallen cross blanket.
Note: You can hand paint the box, or create a simple stencil using paper and an x-acto knife. For this design, the stencil should be pretty easy to cut out.
I created three small crosses in Illustrator, printed them out onto an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper, and cut them out using a ruler and x-acto knife.
Step 2: Paint the box. I adhered the stencil to the top of the wooden box with some light spray mount. This way it doesn’t move around while I stencil.
Holding the paintbrush straight up and down, tap with medium to medium-hard pressure while painting within the stencil. This will help prevent bleeding underneath the stencil and create a cleaner more solid color.
Step 3: Screw on the handles on the sides of the box. It took me awhile to find the perfect handles, but I found these on Etsy and am super happy with how they turned out.
All done! It now can hold new treasures and memories!
Two-tone wood box
If you are a follower of Krafty Kath you might have figured out by now that I have a slight obsession with containers. Boxes, bins, baskets, or containers…I love them all. If I could own The Container Store I would. So if you love containers as much as I do, then I’m your girl. The container crafts will keep coming as long as I am blogging. :)
I have purchased boxes with hinges for past DIYs, but for this one I really wanted a box that had a traditional lift-off lid. I found these great unfinished boxes on Turns2Art Etsy shop. They have a great selection of unfinished wood pieces.
For this particular box, I wanted to create something a little different instead of painting the entire box one color. So I decided to paint a combination of clean modern white and rustic dark wood. I love the contrast!
Unfinished wood box
White spray paint
Clear glossy spray paint (if you have GLOSSY spray paint, then you don’t need the clear coat)
Sand any rough edges off your box. Mine came pretty much smooth as can be so I just did a little on the edges.
Spray the bottom half of your box with the white spray paint. Let the white paint fully dry and then spray the glossy clear on top of that.
Note: If you have GLOSSY spray paint, then skip spraying it with clear coat.
While the bottom half is drying, paint the top of your box with the wood stain. I chose Minwax “Jacobean” because it’s a nice dark brown. I didn’t stain underneath the lip of the lid because I didn’t want it rubbing off on the bottom of the box.
Once the stain is dried, you can apply a coat of the finish wax using a paper towel. Let the wax sit on the lid for about 15 minutes and then buff it out with an old cloth. You can see that this finish allows the wood grain to come through! Love it!
Since we painted the inside of the bottom, the lid MIGHT be a bit of a tight fit. Sand a little bit of the lid’s lip to help it fit into the bottom portion.
Once it’s all dried you can put the lid on your box. :) I love the contrast between the two halves. It’s modern and rustic at the same time!
Mini agate boxes
Lately I’ve been coveting lacquer/lucite boxes with agate stones adhered to the top of them. These beautiful boxes from Gilt.com, or other gift stores run the gamut in prices…anywhere from $45 to $125.
I have been dying for one of these boxes, and when I ran across this rock and gem store called Rock Paper Silver in Whistler B.C., I scooped up some flat agate stones for $3 a piece! I figured instead of paying an arm and a leg for a large box…I’d make some mini ones! And this is probably the easiest craft to date….glue and your done. How awesome is that? :)
Small flat agate stone (Approximately 2.5″ x 1.5″ in size.)
Glue gun and stick
Heat up your hot glue gun.
Flip the agate on the backside, and place four dots of glue on each side approximately 1/4″ in from the edge. (This will hide the glue spread from coming out the sides.)
Quickly flip the agate back over to its right side and press it down onto the lid of the box.
That took all of 5 minutes and you’re done!
Give them away as hostess gifts, or to your friends!
Pot of gold lacquer boxes
I’ve never been one to get too into St. Patrick’s Day. I’m crazy right? Who wouldn’t want to wear green and drink beer all day? :) It also could be that all through junior high and high school my school colors included kelly green. Maybe I’m just burnt out of wearing green. But I do love gold…so why not make a beautiful pot of gold instead? And why not make two!!!
I really wanted to create my own lacquer box but when I started researching it, I realized that the “toxic fumes” and “multiple layers of paint” sounded like way too much work for a little box. Then I saw these lacquer boxes from The Container Store. SCORE! These were perfect for my craft idea. So many fun colors to choose from…and what color do I pick? White. I’m so predictable. I actually loved the way this craft turned out I may just go back and try another color! The rectangular box is $15 and the round one is only $11.
Take off the lid, and set aside. Next, since the Frog Tape is 1″ wide, it’s easy to place on your box. Place 1 strip around the top of the box. This will expose 2″ on the bottom to the spray paint.
Take your plastic bag and place it about halfway on the strip of tape. Take another strip of tape and tape the bag around the rim of the box. Tuck the bag into the box when you’ve taped the whole rim. This will block out any paint from going into the box.
Now you are ready to spray paint your box!
Once the paint has dried, you can now remove the tape and paper mask. (This was my first time using Frog Tape and I was impressed! The edges stayed pretty darn clean.)
Tape the lid onto the box with two small strips of Frog Tape.
Cut out the following pieces out of your scrap paper:
Front – 2 15/16″ x 6 7/8″
Back – 2 15/16″ x 6 7/8″
Top – 3 3/8″ x 6 7/8″
Left side – 3 3/8″ x 2 15/16″
Right side – 3 3/8″ x 2 15/16″
These will be used to mask off the center portions of each side of the box when you paint. They allow for a 1/2″ border on each side.
To achieve that 1/2″ border, you have to cut off a 1/2″ off from each side. Once you have done that, place a strip of Frog Tape to each side with 1/2″ showing. Trim the edges of the tape to make square edges.
Repeat Step 3 till you have all the sides cut and taped.
Now you are ready to spray paint your box!
Once the paint has dried, you can now remove the tape and paper mask.
Now you are ready to fill it with all your treasures! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!
Living in a condo means trying to keep your stuff down to a minimum. But after living here for over 10 years I have accumulated a lot. And my addiction to craft supplies, shoes and handbags doesn’t help the situation a bit! This year I am trying to downsize and organize a bit more. Plus every time I watch an episode of Hoarders I immediately want to throw some stuff out. This DIY is my attempt to hold onto some of the memories, but purge the actual physical items.
According to Apartment Therapy’s Cure you should ask yourselves three questions before holding onto something. If any answer to these questions is “no” then get rid of it.
Do I use it?
Do I love it?
Does my apartment need it?
We tend to think the object holds the memories…but it really doesn’t. The memories are in our mind. A good idea to retain the memory is to take a photo of it and then purge it.
So I gathered up a bunch of boxes of old memories and went through each item one by one. Some items belonged to me, and some to family members. Most of the items hadn’t been looked at or used in over 5 years so why am I holding onto them? There were a few things though that still remained important to me so I decided to hang onto them. For the items I was wishy-washy on I set them aside and photographed them. After all of the purging, I was left with just a small amount of items to keep stash away in my memory box for safe keeping.
Here is an easy DIY for a memory box that can hold your special objects for years to come…and not take over your closet at the same time!
4 felt pads (I used clear self adhesive rubber feet but they proved difficult)
Drawer label hardware and nails (I used reproduction porcelain numbers)
Go through your boxes of memories and determine which items you want to save, purge and photograph, and which ones you can just toss out. For the items you want to purge (yet photograph) set them up on a nice backdrop and photograph. I used a piece of white seamless paper to keep it clean and crisp.
Note: You’ll just have to take my word for it that I did this step. The process was a few weeks long and my place was a major disaster. I didn’t really want to document this for it was a little scary!
Download the lid template. If you have Illustrator you can open it up in that program and place your photos into the file. When you are done, print out your template.
Tip: Since box sizes will differ, I suggest measuring the inside of your box lid and setting up that size page in your preferred software program. You can follow the grid-like template I created, or go full bleed. Even better would going more free-form with your layout. You could even take paper memories (like cards, ticket stubs, photos, etc.) and make a collage. Be creative!!
Put a small amount of the white wood stain in a bowl and paint your box with the grain on the top and sides. Set aside to dry.
Once your box is dry, you can open it up and apply a small amount of glue to the inside lid. Use your paint brush to spread it out evenly and lightly. Adding too much glue may make your paper warp, so go easy on it.
Place your printed out template into the top of the lid and smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles. Let dry.
Flip your box over and adhere (or glue) your 4 felt pads to each corner of the box. I used clear self adhesive rubber feet and something went terribly wrong with them. I ended up hot gluing them to the bottom. I would suggest felt next time around.
I wanted to display my memory boxes on my shelf, so I wanted a way to visually organize them. I found these reproduction porcelain numbers at Retrofit Home in Seattle that I thought would be perfect.
Another option is getting some drawer label hardware for the outsides. You can nail them, or hot glue them onto the outside of the boxes to keep them in order. I decided to nail mine, so I picked up some small 3/4″ nails. They were a little difficult to nail on, but with some practice (and one broken edge) I figured out to get them on alright.
Now you are ready to fill er up! I filled mine with childhood memories, travel memories, and old cassette tapes. Yes…I was a fan of Stevie B and New Kids on the Block. It was the 80’s! Who doesn’t love a good boy band? You can proceed with the jokes now.
Every time you open it up you will be reminded of all your amazing memories and that life is good!