How to Decorate Handmade Trinket Boxes

Written by gryphon adams
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How to Decorate Handmade Trinket Boxes
Create a pattern in shells on a handmade trinket box. (boxes of shells image by alice rawson from

Homemade trinket boxes provide a place to stash items you cherish, such as jewellery, mementos, and small valuables. Part of the satisfaction of making homemade trinket boxes comes from decorating them. Apply any material you like to your trinket box. Vintage buttons, rhinestones, party favours, and gemstones work well. Select polished rocks, fossils, mineral specimens, or leather to decorate treasure boxes for men or boys. This project makes an engaging group craft project for nearly all ages.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Shells
  • Silk flowers (optional)
  • Jar lid
  • Craft glue
  • Cotton swabs

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  1. 1

    Plan how you want to decorate your box. If you want to use a spray of silk flowers on the lid or a circle of sea shells on the lid and on the front panel, for example, sketch a design on paper to get an idea of how it will look.

  2. 2

    Spread newspaper on your work surface, and set out your decorative materials.

  3. 3

    Measure across the top of the box lengthwise, and make a light pencil mark at the centre.

  4. 4

    Create a circle for your decoration by tracing a small jar lid on the box lid. Center the jar lid over your pencil mark, and trace around the lid lightly with a pencil.

  5. 5

    Arrange your decorative items on the lid to see how they'll look. Lightly trace around each item with a pencil.

  6. 6

    Pour glue into a jar lid. Dip a cotton swab into the glue and apply the glue to one piece at a time. Press the item down and hold it for a slow count of 15. Repeat with each item to decorate the box. Allow the glue to dry for at least three hours before moving or using your box.

Tips and warnings

  • Glue a small mirror from a dollar store inside the lid of your trinket box if you like.
  • If you want to cover the entire box with decorations, use larger, more attractive items on the lid, where they'll show the most. For example, glue three special shells on the lid, and cover the rest of the box with smaller shells.
  • To make this a fun learning craft, teach kids to identify different shells as they glue them to their boxes.

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