Growing up with collectors, and an antique dealer, I always had a predisposition to holding onto things. I have every photo ID I’ve ever taken, playbills to every show I’ve seen, and every letter I passed to friends in middle school. Among these keepsakes are all the holiday greetings I’ve received over the years. The boxes I keep them in fill the cupboards of my small apartment, taking up precious space, but I would never consider parting with them. My only regret is they are almost always out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Unless I’m cleaning or moving, I don’t often take the time to enjoy looking through and recalling the fond memories from friends and family. So for day 8 of 25 days of crafts, we bring you this holiday memory box for all your treasured keepsakes. Once a year, you can bring it out with your other holiday decorations and allow yourself a few minutes to look back and remember.
DIY holiday memory box
- Wooden box
- Red craft or acrylic paint
- Gold craft or acrylic paint (optional)
- Paint brushes (medium and small)
- Medium to coarse sandpaper
- Vinyl “Merry Christmas” template (see note below if you don’t have vinyl)
- X-acto knife
We decided we wanted to make this memory box storage for all the wonderful Christmas cards we get in the mail each year. Michael’s Craft Stores had a few options to choose from, but we chose this one because it was large enough to fit most card sizes.
To get a “retro” feel, we downloaded a retro styled “Merry Christmas” template from Silhouette. You could do any message you’d like; in any typeface you wanted, depending on your selection of fonts on your computer.
Determine the width and height of the top of the box and size your template accordingly. Our box is 11.75″ x 9″ so we made the template 9.5″ x 4.5″. We added some stars to the template to add to the sides of the box. Print out your template on vinyl paper.
Remove the paper around the text and transfer your stencil to your box by hand, transfer paper, or painter’s tape. Make sure to center the “Merry Christmas” in the center of the lid.
(Note: If you don’t have vinyl paper you can print it on a 12″ x 12″ piece of card stock. To adhere the paper to your box use a Xyron or Light tack spray mount. DO NOT use permanent spray mount or you’ll be finding yourself removing each letter for a few hours. Take it from us, we learned the hard way. hint hint.)
Once your stencil is ready, place it on the box and make sure it’s firmly secure. You can use the back of your hand or a brayer to adhere it to the box.
Now you can begin painting it. We started by painting the inside of the box with gold paint. If you choose this route, leave the box open overnight to dry completely.
Once the inside is dry, you can begin to paint the outside. We chose a deep red acrylic paint. The paint we picked out was a little thick for our liking. It didn’t go on too smooth, but as it dried overnight it started to look better.
Before it’s completely dry, carefully peel off the template using an X-acto knife. This was the tricky part. If you find that the paint bled underneath the letters or you get some smudges it’s OK. You will be able to fix this in Step 7.
Once the paint is dry take your sandpaper and begin to sand down each side, including the edges. This gives it more of a vintage and worn look. Once you have sanded down your box, wipe it down good with a dry paper towel.
(Note: Do this step outside and don’t wear a white t-shirt. The red dust gets everywhere!)
Hip, hip! You just made a holiday memory box!
Now you are ready to keep and revisit your holiday treasures!
Visit Krafty Kath for more 25 Days of Crafts!