Searching high and low for a suitable box to house a small gift? Look no further than the nearest craft supply store and your PC. Browse for and stock up on a few plain containers -- we used a wooden pencil box. This eye-catching craft is so easy, you'll want to whip one up every time you purchase a small present.
Instead of fiddling with fabric to cover our box, we went the dÃ©coupage route. All we had to do was scan a swatch of material, print it on paper and glue to each side. Our fabric finish takes the place of wrapping paper, but add some ribbon for good measure to keep curious eyes from peeking at the goods ahead of time.
Small, blank box
Sharp utility knife
Small paintbrush or paint sponge
Craft glue/sealer (we used Podgy)
Click here to see images.
Step 1: Finding and printing a design
• Head to your fabric scraps or a fabric store for design inspiration. You can use your photo-editing program to draw your own, but we scanned a piece of fabric with a red toile tree pattern and saved it as a jpeg. This will give your paper a textured look.
• Open your fabric photo in your program and look for any wrinkles or bumps. You may need to iron your fabric and rescan, but you can crop them out if they are near the edges of your canvas.
• Size the image to 8-1/2" x 11" so it will fit on a standard sheet of white paper to run through your printer.
• Test-print a page to ensure size and colour are to your liking.
• When ready, print as many copies as you need to cover your box.
Step 2: Gluing the paper
• The easiest way to adhere your paper and trim the edges if you have a sturdy box is to apply glue on the box surface with your paintbrush or sponge and press the box onto the back of your print.
• Allow to dry for a few minutes and then, using a utility knife, gently slice away any overhang.
• Repeat with the next side.
Tip: Depending on your box's lid, you may need to glue over an area that needs to move in order to open the box. Our pencil box slides open from the top. Remember where those grooves are so you can go back with your knife and cut them open once the glue has dried.
Step 3: Preserve the paper
Test the following process on a scrap page to ensure your paper's ink does not run.
• Apply a thin layer of your craft glue/sealer over all the paper using your brush or sponge. Make sure to apply with light pressure as the paper can tear when wet.
• Allow the box to dry.
• Place your object inside and tie with ribbon.
Heather Camlot and Tara Nolan have honed their digital crafting skills writing and editing for Microsoft Home Magazine. Their work has also appeared in Style at Home magazine.