Up-cycled wooden box

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.



MATERIALS

  • 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


INSTRUCTIONS

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!

Landing Zone Tour

A few years back I read Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure. And one thing I took away from it was always have a landing strip in your home. I like to call it a landing zone…but to each his own. :) To have a successful landing zone you should have:

  1. Hooks for jackets and bags.
  2. A doormat. For keeping dirty shoes out of your main house.
  3. A bowl. Or container for keeping your small items in, like your keys.
  4. A flat surface. For keeping bills, letters, and to-do items.
  5. A vase of flowers. Instead I have my bird. :)
  6. Art or a mirror. Just for the fun of it.

I think I mostly succeeded in keeping to this list (with some minor improvisations.) And this is one of my most favorite places in my townhouse. And it’s quite likely the place I walk through the most…yet spend the least amount of time.

Awhile back I approached my friend Lee (of Beezlee Creations) to build some custom wall panelling in the landing zone above the stairs from my garage. Little did I know he would come back to me with SO MUCH MORE than what I asked for! He came up with a fantastic idea of wrapping the panelling to both walls, and adding a floating walnut shoe cabinet. Brilliant Lee…just brilliant. I loved his idea, and after a little back and forth, we finessed the design and he went to work. Check out his photos during the build process here. After he was finished, I added a few coat hooks slightly off-set for my belongings.

It’s by far a focal point to my first floor of my townhouse, and I love the way it turned out. :)

Grab my keys out of my toolbox…

…and a quick glance at the clock, and I’m out the door!

 

Small Shelves

Do you ever find yourself with little chotskies that you’re not quite sure what to do with? I sure do, and I’m never sure where to put them until I found these few small shelves that display my little items just perfectly.

Round Dorm Shelf by Ferm Living

I bought this birch plywood hanging shelf from Design Life Kids and I absolutely love where it ended up in my place. I put it at very top of my stairs, and get to see it’s contents each day as I go into my bedroom. :)

Featured on these shelves:

 

Tri Box Wall Shelves by Mint Rhapsody

I also got these at Design Life Kids (can you see a trend in my shopping habits?) :) These shelves provide a place to display your keepsakes, but disappear into the wall to allow for a nice clean display. I hung these opposite the dorm shelf, so as I walk up to my bedroom each day I pass these lovelies.

Featured on these shelves:

 

Painted Wooden Easter Eggs

A few years back I bought some wooden eggs for a craft party I was hosting. I bought a few more than I needed, so I was left with some unfinished eggs in my basket of craft materials. I brought them out this year, and decided to do a quick and easy DIY to help decorate for Easter.

And yes, I’m majorly late on getting this post out…but better late than never!

TIME TO COMPLETE

15 min to prep, and a day or so for spray painting.

MATERIALS

  • Unpainted wooden Eggs (like these from Joanns)
  • Frog painters tape
  • Spray paint
  • Empty egg carton
  • Bowl or basket for displaying

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1:

Take 1 piece of tape (approx 6″-7″ long) and wrap it around the center of each egg. Making sure the edges are smooth and tight.

Step 2:

Take 3 pieces of tape (approx 3″ a piece) and cover up the remaining portion of the egg that isn’t taped off.

Step 3:

Place your eggs (tape side down) in the egg carton, and spray paint the eggs. I did 2-3 coats, letting it dry in between coats.

Step 4:

After they are fully dry, unwrap the tape. Display in a bowl or in a basket! Simple and clean…just the way I like them.

 

Trio of boxes

I love having a “home” for my things. And what I mean by “home” is something an object is kept in. This helps me keep my counters and tabletops free of clutter.

These “homes” could be a boxes, drawers, bins, trays, cups, or maybe even baskets. My house is filled with these “homes” and I could probably keep making them until my boxes have boxes to live in. :)

Awhile back I made a two-toned box from a wooden box bought online from Etsy store Turns2art. I love the possibilities of working with his unfinished boxes so I decided to get a few more. This time I got some vertical boxes to spice it up. I paired these blank canvas’s up with some unique drawer pulls from Anthropologie and the end result was this trio of boxes.

TIME TO COMPLETE

It will take approximately 2-3 hours. This includes painting, drying, and finishing your boxes.

MATERIALS

  • Wooden box (tall or horizontal)
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Drill bit (approx. 1/8″ or 3/16″)
  • Wood stain (1 color per box)
  • Foam brush (1 for each box)
  • Wood finishing wax
  • Old dry cloths (3 for each box) *not pictured
  • Drawer pull/nut (1 for each box)
  • Bolt cutters
  • Pliers (Optional)

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INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1:

Measure the top of your box lid and mark the center of the lid using a pencil.

Drill a hole in the lid using your drill/drill bit. My knobs used a 3/16″ drill bit.

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Step 2:

Using the foam brush, apply the stain to the box lid and bottom, and let dry. (I used Minwax Jacobean, Golden Oak, and Classic Gray.)

Before it completely dries, take the 1st of your dry cloths and wipe away the excess stain.

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Step 3:

Once the stain has dried, use your 2nd dry cloth to apply the wood finishing wax. This can get a little messy, so make sure you’re applying it on newspapers or a dropcloth.

Let the wax dry for approximately 15 minutes. After you have let it dry for 15 minutes, use the 3rd dry cloth, buff out the wax using quick back-and-forth motions.

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Step 4:

Now you are ready to attach the knob.

I got three knobs/pulls from Anthropologie…the Streamline Knob, the Faceted Ory Knob, and the Saddler Knob. Either way, they have tons of unique knobs to choose from that would be perfect for these boxes.

Insert the knob through the hole you drilled and screw on the nut so the knob is on tight.

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Step 7:

Using the bolt cutters, cut off the excess screw on the underside of the lid. Screw the bolt to tighten the knob.

TIPS: The brass screws cut a lot easier than the steel ones. Also, you can use pliers to get good leverage when tightening the bolt.

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Now you have completed one box! If you want to make others, just follow the same steps above using different finishes and knobs to create a unique set of boxes.

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