Ideas to Decorate an Arts & Crafts Child's Treasure Chest

Written by rebecca rogge
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Ideas to Decorate an Arts & Crafts Child's Treasure Chest
Every pirate needs a treasure chest! (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Children's treasure chests are an engaging and interactive arts and crafts project with room for ample creativity. Easily adaptable for a wide variety of themes -- ranging from pirates to princesses -- treasure chests are perfect for the classroom, parties, and just-for-fun arts and crafts projects. They can also be adapted to be suitable for a wide variety of ages, ranging from a simple colouring project for preschool students to ornate wooden boxes for high school students.


Pirates are the quintessential treasure chest theme. Display pictures of weathered treasure chests, and encourage children to recreate the details on their own boxes. On wooden boxes, use a stain or watered-down paint to make the boxes look old; on paper or cardboard boxes, use markers to create a wood grain look. Add black straps made from construction paper or ribbon. Ask the children where they imagine their chest might be; if on a pirate ship, add the warning symbol of a black flag with a skull and crossbones, made from construction paper and a tooth pick. For chests lost at sea, glue tiny shells around the base.


Little girls will love decorating princess treasure chests in pink and purple glitter, rhinestones, and other girlish accents. Paint, construction paper, and markers are all easy base decorations. Then use elements like stick-on gems and glitter pens to make each box one-of-a-kind. Charming extra details include ribbon, either wrapped around the box and glued flat or in tiny bows along the edge, colourful feathers, and even sparkling buttons.


Little girls will love creating a treasure chest with a mermaid theme, decorated in the colours of the sea. If you are using a wooden or cardboard box, begin by "weathering" the box with a brown marker or thin brown paint, ageing it just as it would if it were resting at the bottom of the sea. Add blue and green glitter for a sparkly "under the sea" effect, and glue tiny seashells around the edge. Decorate the inside of the box with "real" treasure, in the shape of pennies, bottle caps painted gold, or crinkled tinfoil -- or with the treasures you might imagine a mermaid would collect.


Children of all ages will enjoy creating a memory-themed treasure box to store their most precious personal belongings. Decorate the outside of the box with their own style, using paint, markers, glitter, or rhinestones, in their favourite colours. Consider allowing older children to use a découpage medium to attach printed copies of their favourite photographs. Younger children may enjoy doing the same thing with favourite artwork; simply trim the paper to the desired size, apply the découpage medium to the box, then adhere the drawing. Encourage them to fill the box with their favourite possessions. You can even attach a tiny padlock (for paper or cardboard boxes, use a hole punch to create holes through which the lock slides) to discourage intruders.

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