How to decorate a personal memory box

Written by chelsea fitzgerald
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Making a personalised memory box can be a fun craft project for anyone, and when completed, it can make a lovely and thoughtful gift. Memory boxes can be made for a newborn, a graduating senior, for someone's wedding anniversary or simply as a lovely keepsake. You can create boxes that look aged, elegant or funky and colourful. Memory boxes are useful for keeping small mementos and treasures that people collect throughout their lives. There are many different ways to design and personalise a memory box to turn it into a treasured gift.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wooden box with a lid
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Découpage glue
  • Clear varnish or sealer

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  1. 1

    Select a small wooden box with a lid. You can find this at a home decor or a hobby store. Sand the box with fine grit sandpaper to prepare it for the paint.

  2. 2

    Think about the theme of your box. If you want to give it an aged appearance with copies of old photographs, perhaps a neutral shade of light brown, tan or cream would be a good background colour. If the box is for a graduating senior and will have a picture of her in her cap and gown in the centre, black or the school colours may be good choices. For children, you might want to paint the box in a shade that coordinates with their bedroom, or you might want to decorate it with a sports or ballet theme. You should use at least two coats of paint, allowing the box to dry thoroughly between coats, for at least two hours, according to the website. Acrylic paints come in all colours of the rainbow, and are inexpensive.

  3. 3

    Collect the artwork you want to use for the memory box. You can use photographs, postcards, greeting cards, tickets from a favourite play or pictures cut out from magazines or old newspapers; the sky is the limit. If the person you are making the box for is an avid reader, you may want to photocopy pages from her favourite book or book jacket. Make sure to scan or photocopy items or photographs you want to keep.

  4. 4

    Trim around the edges of any pictures with scissors, or carefully tear strips away, making it appear old and frayed. You can use a permanent marker around the edges to make your pictures stand out, or you can place them on a background of different colours of construction paper.

  5. 5

    Glue the items around the box with découpage glue such as Mod Podge. You can overlap pictures to make an interesting collage, or just use one in the centre. Once you are finished, let it dry overnight. You can then add two or three coats of clear varnish, clear spray shellac, or just use a couple more coats of the découpage glue to give the box a nice finish. Let dry thoroughly between coats.

Tips and warnings

  • To make a very simple memory box, just sand and paint the box. You can put the person's name on it by writing it in free hand and then going over that with a permanent marker or a detail paintbrush and paint; you can also use stencils. You can label the box "Mementos," "Stuff" or "Treasures." Then coat your box with a couple of coats of the sealer.

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