Decorating a plain box gives you the opportunity to show some creative flair while making a handy storage container for yourself or a friend. Make a few matching boxes to hold photos or files on your bookshelf or go wild with material or found objects to make an outrageous gift box for a friend's birthday or special event. An easy project that needs only a few tools, decorating a box is a great rainy day activity.
Using found objects can make a dull box into a work of art. Use hot glue to attach a button collection, sea shells, pine cones, bottle caps or matchbox cars. Create a jewellery box by hot gluing vintage costume jewellery onto the box lid and covering the bottom of the box in a red or deep blue velvet.
Create a high-tech look by gluing old circuits, motherboards, CDs and other computer-related hardware and software onto a box. You can also create an interesting design by gluing old batteries, both squared ones like a 9-volt and pillar-shaped AAs or AAAs, onto a box.
Pick up some old silverware at a yard sale or thrift shop, and glue forks and spoons to a box for decoration. Create a linear pattern or overlap pieces to make the overall look even more rich and dimensional.
For any item you want to adhere to your box to decorate it, use a dollop of hot glue on the surface that lies against the box. Add layers by adding hot glue to the bottom of the piece and pressing in place. Use a clear hot glue stick so that any extra cannot be seen.
Découpage is a glue-and-sealant method used to decorate virtually anything using greeting card images, photographs or magazine pictures. To decorate a box using a découpage technique, you might want to start with a theme.
Pick a theme you'd like to work with. It could be friends, pets, flowers, places or anything you like. Then gather your materials, whether photographs of friends or places, old postcards or magazine clippings.
Brush your découpage medium onto the box surface and glue down your first layer of images. Brush with a coat of découpage glue and add more images to overlap the first to build up your design and add interest. When done, seal the project with a final coat of découpage glue. Allow to dry thoroughly before you put the lid on your box.
Nothing is more fun and full of promise than a glittery, shiny box. Prepare your box by spray painting it silver or gold. Once the paint is dry, you can add your sparkle.
Use a paintbrush to apply a layer of white glue, then shake on some glitter. Once you have a thick layer of glitter on the box, allow the glue to dry, and then shake off the excess glitter.
Add sequins or beads to your box by putting a layer of white glue or bead glue onto your box, then laying a string of beads onto the surface. Cut the string that holds the beads together and pull the string out from the placed beads. Continue adding beads like this until the box is totally covered.
Sequins can be placed by placing a layer of strung sequins onto the box and then adding more and more until the box is covered. Leave the string in the sequins here as its usually a coordinating colour and won't distract from the rich look.
Fabric and Fur
Hot glue patterned upholstery fabric, denim, leather or faux fur to your box to give it a rich custom look. Apply a colourful shaggy fabric to create a fun and fanciful box perfect for a kid's room. Use scrap leather or suede from a thrift store or local tannery to cover your box, being careful to fold in the edges as you would if you were wrapping a gift. Add an accent such as a piece of belt or studs to make it even more interesting.