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What are Some Kinds of Decorative Boxes to Make?

Decoupage medium, found in craft stores, can be used with gift wrap or paper cut-outs from magazines.
Decorative boxes can be made to hold gifts.
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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2014
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Whether you make your own decorative boxes from scratch by folding the cardboard, or you choose to buy pre-made boxes, you can make all kinds of decorative boxes from paper alone. Stained glass, wood and fabric-covered decorative boxes are also possibilities. Decorative boxes make great gifts, can be fun and easy to make and are excellent for storing all kinds of things from photos to craft supplies to paperwork.

There are many kinds of craft books on the market that contain instructions for cutting and folding cardboard, both patterned and solid colors, into decorative boxes. Hat boxes, shirt boxes and large and small gift boxes of all shapes can be made this way. Once you master the basic rectangular and round paper decorative boxes, you can attempt novelty shapes such as hearts, triangles and hexagons.

Either a handmade or store-bought round hat box can be made into a Victorian-style keepsake box by covering it with floral gift wrap and ribbon and bows for trimming. Decoupage medium, found in craft stores, is great to use with gift wrap or paper cut-outs from magazines. Decorative boxes used to store photographs can have photographs applied on the box as well.

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Decorative boxes can really help beautify clutter as you can create the box to suit whatever room you need storage in. For example, a box big enough to hold television remote controls, magazines and the like can make a family room look much neater. Leftover wallpaper is great for connecting the box in with the decor of the room.

Even children can decorate their own pre-made cardboard storage carton with pictures cut from magazines, or with their own art work. The decorative boxes could have each child's name on them and be stacked in the corner of a family room or placed in a bookcase for fun, yet functional storage. Making these decorative boxes can be a fun family craft project!

You can make padded, fabric-covered decorative boxes using quilt batting and spray glue. Be sure to use sturdy cardboard boxes that will hold the weight of the batting. Stained glass and wooden decorative boxes can be made in crafts classes, or from following the directions in craft books, and make beautiful gifts.

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JaneAir
Post 13

I think decoupage is definitely the best method for decorating a handmade box. You can use pictures from newspapers or magazines, or decorative paper. These things are usually readily available on the house, and decoupage isn't too expensive at the craft store.

Even though it's cheap, I think the results often look amazing! One of my friends is really into decoupage, and she's decorated a few boxes this way. Her work looks great, and very professional. I really can't tell the difference between her work and store bought box.

starrynight
Post 12

@sunnySkys - I'm an adult, and that still sounds like a fun time to me!

Anyway, there are a lot more options than making decorative plastic boxes or decorative wooden boxes. Think outside the box (pun intended) and use other materials!

I've actually seen a few really neat looking decorative boxes that were knitted. Yes, knitted. There is a technique known as "felting" that allows you to knit a project, then turn it into felt by putting in the washer in hot water and agitating it. The fabric ends up very sturdy and strong. Perfect for a decorative box!

sunnySkys
Post 11

This article is right: making decorative boxes is a really fun activity for children. When I was in middle school, my mom planned for us to decorate wooden boxes as an activity at my birthday party one year.

It ended up being a lot of fun! She got a wooden box for every person that was invited to the party (as well as a few extras in case of an accident) and decorating supplies. We actually decorated our boxes mostly by stamping designs on them, then adding ribbons.

I'm still in touch with a few of my friends from back then, and they both still have the large decorative boxes they made at my party!

John57
Post 10

Making your own decorative recipe and jewelry boxes is a great activity too. I don't use cardboard boxes when I am doing this as they are too flimsy.

Small wooden boxes are best for this and you can find them at the local craft stores. You can either paint them or use different types of paper to decorate and personalize them.

For a bridal shower gift I decorated a recipe box and then filled it with some of my favorite, easy recipes. I made sure and put plenty of empty recipe cards in the box so she could add her own favorites to the box.

This is a gift that is personal and they know you put a lot of thought and effort into it. It is also something that is easy to do and you don't really need any artistic talent.

Just decorate with colors and items you love and you can't go wrong.

honeybees
Post 9

My girls love to make small decorative boxes to store their special treasures in. When we went to the beach they collected all different shapes and sizes of shells, and have used these to decorate the outside of some of their boxes.

They keep some of their favorite shells inside the boxes along with some of their other favorite items.

This is an inexpensive, yet fun project they always love to do. When their cousins come to stay, I make sure we have spare cardboard boxes around.

This is a crafty project that is a lot of fun and keeps them busy for hours. It is also great for kids of all ages. I find myself sitting down with them and making a box for myself or to give as a gift too.

golf07
Post 8

I have a couple decorative keepsake boxes that I made to store some special items from my wedding.

I had printed off colored sheets of photos from our wedding and used these to decorate the outside of the boxes.

Each one of them is decorated differently with special photos from the day. In one box I keep all of the cards that we received.

In the other box I keep items that are special to me that remind me of that day. The fun thing about making your own boxes is you can be as creative as you want to be.

There is no right or wrong way to do it as long as you are happy with the results.

LisaLou
Post 7

For some reason I have always been fascinated with hat boxes. I can just imagine some of the beautiful and interesting hats that would be stored in these boxes in years past.

My daughter married a man from Ireland, and many people wear beautiful hats there today. They were married there and it was so interesting to see the ladies in their hats.

I like to decorate hat boxes with pieces of fabric and ribbon. Once I have the main part covered, I add embellishments in the form of small ribbons, bows or jewels.

I decorate these to match the room they are placed in and use them to store all kinds of items. Making handmade decorative boxes is a great way to personalize my space and help keep the clutter at a minimum.

StarJo
Post 6

The easiest way to make a cardboard decorative box is to wrap it in a pretty wrapping paper. If you fold the creases well and cut the paper to fit without having excess hanging over and wrinkling, then you can make a really attractive box.

I like to use shoe boxes for this purpose. Once I wrap them, I keep stuff inside of them, and I can identify them by using different wrapping paper for each one. I have one for storing my jewelry-making materials and one for holding some painting supplies.

The most important thing to remember is to wrap the lid separately. The first time I wrapped a cardboard box, I covered the whole thing without thinking, and then I realized that I couldn't open it!

seag47
Post 5

@OeKc05 – My friend and I only use decorative gift boxes when we give gifts to each other. We do this to cut down on paper waste, and it has become a tradition with us.

We have two boxes that are always going back and forth between us. That way, we each have something to put our gifts to each other in, and we get to swap out the boxes.

The box I decorated is made of thin balsa wood. I painted several dragonflies and flowers all over it, which my friend loves. In turn, she decorated a fabric box by embroidering roses on it and sewing green ribbon on it for vines and stems.

OeKc05
Post 4

I like to make decorative cardboard gift boxes by adding jewels to them. I think this works best for smaller gift boxes designed to hold jewelry.

I will buy some cheap rhinestones from a crafts store to use on the boxes. I dab super glue on the backs of them and place them in a pattern on the cardboard.

With smaller jewels, I like to create a circle on top of the box, and I place one big rhinestone in the center. Sometimes, I use only large jewels and create a cross shape on top of the box.

The best thing about these boxes is that people will keep them. They feel like the box is part of the gift, because it is so pretty and unique.

cloudel
Post 3

If you are going to paint a box for decoration, it is best to use a wooden one. I tried painting a cardboard gift box, and it ended up looking awful.

The moisture in the paint caused the cardboard to warp in certain areas. Also, after it dried, some of it started to flake off. I had to throw the box away, because there was no way to save it.

I bought a wooden box instead, and the paint held to it perfectly. I made sure to coat it with clear acrylic spray, just so the paint would not chip off later on and destroy the design.

anon215843
Post 2

Thanks for the information on how to make decorative storage boxes. After I read your posted, I checked out some sites online for designs and more tips since this is going to be my first time.

anon213756
Post 1

Good idea you have here. Making decorative storage boxes is easy but coming up with a unique design can be a challenge though. --Tai

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