How to decorate a wood memory box

Written by katherine kally
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Decorate a wood memory box in old-fashioned style with a distressed photo and embellishments like lace, ribbon and buttons. Add lettering to the box to designate meaning, or let the decorations stand alone. Find everything you need to embellish a memory box at your local craft store. Wooden memory boxes can hold timeless treasures, so decorate yours to suit the contents.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Stain
  • Sponge
  • Stencil letters
  • Tape
  • Acrylic paint & artist's brush
  • Polyurethane
  • Photo
  • Black marker
  • Découpage glue
  • Lace
  • Ribbons
  • Scissors
  • Buttons
  • Craft glue

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  1. 1

    Stain the wood inside and outside the memory box. Apply two coats, letting the stain dry between coats.

  2. 2

    Tape the stencil letters onto the outside of the box, wherever you prefer. Paint any word you like to designate the meaning of the box. Consider "Memories," "Mementos" or "Treasures" for vague designations, or stencil a person's name if the memory box is specific.

  3. 3

    Fill in the letters with acrylic paint and allow to dry. You may need more than one coat, depending on the colour.

  4. 4

    Apply two coats of polyurethane to the stained and painted wood box. Let the polyurethane dry between coats according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  5. 5

    Print a sepia-tone photo that suits the memories you plan to store in the box. Use home computer imaging software, or have a sepia-tone print made at your photo shop. Sepia tone gives an aged appearance that fits well with a memory-box theme.

  6. 6

    Distress the edges of the photo by tearing strips along the outside. Further distress the edges by colouring the torn sections with a black marker so that your photo looks as if it was saved from a fire. Attach the photo to the top of the box with découpage glue.

  7. 7

    Decorate around the photo with strips of ribbon and bits of lace. Randomly place both to create a pleasing design. Layer a swatch of lace topped with a strand of ribbon, held by a button. Glue each one separately to the other with craft glue. Or cut a swatch of lace in the shape of a square or rectangle, surround it with ribbon and place a button in the centre. Use your imagination to add design interest.

  8. 8

    Add more lace, ribbon, button embellishments around the side of the box. Include more distressed photos around the side, if you like.

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