Monday, April 9, 2012



      I love DIY (do-it-yourself) gift projects because you can tailor the present specifically for person it's meant for. So much more thought, time and love goes into handcrafted gifts. I've tried so many different kinds of crafts over the years. I've made everything from cross-stitch to artificial flower arrangements for weddings. I've even tried my hand at making quilts for my sons. Almost everything I have attempted has turned out really cute, but the wood keepsake boxes are... dare I say... BRILLIANT!!! I've made probably twenty or thirty of them in all different shapes, sizes and styles. My kids each have a couple of them and they really love keeping all sorts of treasures inside. Here's a picture of the one that I made for Bailey a couple Christmas's ago: 

     I wish I had thought to take pictures of the process I went through to make that one, but unfortunately I didn't. However, it's really fairly simple to do. Here's a brief overview: First, I bought unfinished wood boxes at Hobby Lobby. I removed all of the hardware (hinges) and sanded the boxes thoroughly. Then I spent some time looking on the internet to find a font that I would like to use. I found this beautiful font and I traced it onto regular copy paper. Then I used carbon paper to re-trace the font onto the top of the box. I've gotten pretty good at wood-burning and decided that would look amazing to wood burn the kid's names on each of their boxes. Wood burning takes some practice to learn but quickly becomes easy with the right technique. After I was done with that, I stained the boxes and followed up with a few coats of polyurethane. To finish it up, I just reattached the hardware (hinges) and glued a complimentary dark mocha colored felt liner into the inside bottom of the box. My kids love their boxes and they know I made each one to be "one of a kind" just for them.     
     Now, if you prefer to have some pictures to go along with my how-to instructions then you are in luck! I finally remembered to take a few pictures of the process while making a keepsake box that will be a gift for my husband, Kyle. It is very different than the ones I did for the kids. After digging around the garage in the hopes of sparking a new idea, I found the original Chevelle emblem off of his 69 Chevelle...and was struck with instant inspiration!

** Kyle loves that old muscle car and has spent lots of time re-doing the whole car's paint job, luckily for me when he did that he put new emblems on it,  but he kept one of the original ones. Don't worry, I'm smart enough to ask if I could have it before I snatched it up for this project.**

Here's how I created Kyle's "Chevelle Keepsake Box":
     --I bought an raw unfinished wood box at Hobby Lobby (I LOVE THAT PLACE!!). They have many assorted shapes and types of unfinished wood boxes. I picked one that would be long enough for the emblem.
     --The Chevelle emblem is a chrome or silverish type of color but the hardware that came with the wood box was a yucky yellowish gold color. Icky! That just wouldn't work for me! I'm a girl, and things simply must match! So...
     --I took the hardware off of the box and bought some metallic silver spray paint.  I scuffed up the hardware with some sandpaper so that the paint has a better surface to adhere to.  Then I spray painted the hardware and all the little screws silver. Hint: use a pizza box to poke the screws into, it makes it much easier to paint and a little bit harder to lose! They turned perfectly. 

     --I sanded the box until it was perfectly smooth inside and out, paying special attention to slightly round the sharp edges.
     --I centered the emblem on the lid of the box, and used a pencil to mark where the emblems little pegs would need to go through the lid. 

     --Then I used a drill to make holes just large enough to accommodate each peg. (Check for fit at this point and make sure you drilled the holes in the right places!)
     --I used wax paper to protect our table before I grabbed my favorite color of wood stain and used a foam brush to apply it to the box (and my jeans...oops!). I let the stain sink into the wood for about 15 minutes, then rubbed off excess stain with a soft cloth or paper towel. It helps to get very creative and use whatever is around to suspend the box pieces up while they are drying.
     --It's important to wait until the stain is completely dry. The recommended time needed for it to dry will vary according to what the manufacturer's instructions are.

     -- I wanted the finish to be very shiny, so I added about three coats of polyurethane. I used 220 sandpaper to lightly sand between each coat (after first and second application was dry) to make sure it stayed smooth and glossy. Wipe all dust off really well before each application of polyurethane. I didn't sand it after the 3rd (final) coat. Be sure to let it dry completely before you continue! If you don't, you'll have fingerprints in the finish! Meanwhile:
    --I gave the Chevelle emblem a good cleaning and I tried to shine it up as best I could. It is an original piece from 1969, so it took a lot of elbow grease!
    --When the polyurethane was completely dry I installed the emblem. Thanks to the careful measuring and pre-drilling, the emblem pushed snuggly into place. I had thought about using super glue to secure it at this point, but quickly realized it was not necessary. It's an extremely tight fit just the way it is with no adhesives at all. Yay!

    --I put the hardware back on and I think the finished keepsake box looks amazing. I know Kyle will love it. I'm going to try to find some type of baby blue colored material to line the bottom inside with. I'm confident that will be the best color choice because that's the color Kyle used to re-paint his Chevelle. 

    So, how do you think it looks? I love it! I think that personalized wood keepsake boxes make such thoughtful gifts. It's a fairly easy  project to complete, and it's so much fun to try to match the keepsake box's personality to the personality of the person you are giving it to. I hope my instructions were clear enough and that I have inspired you to make a unique Keepsake Box for someone you love.

***Questions or comments are always welcome! Also, if you don't want to ever  miss out on any of my new posts or projects, you can subscribe to my blog by entering your email address at the bottom of this page. If you do, you will automatically be sent an email notification in the future to let you know when I've posted something new. Thanks for reading! God Bless!***


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