Decoupage Keepsake Box

Decoupage is the art of decorating a surface with paper cut-outs. In this project, we will embellish a plain box through decoupage to make a beautiful keepsake box - a great handmade gift idea for Mother's Day, Father's Day or for a friend or loved one who is moving away.

Safety Tips

  • Varnishing should be done by an adult and should be done outdoors.
  • Watch out for this sign Ask for an adult's help. It means adult help is needed for the particular step.
Decoupage Keepsake Box craft

Decoupage Keepsake Box craft

Materials

  • Papier mache gift box or
    wooden box
  • Paper cut-outs
  • Decoupage medium (e.g. Mod Podge or Collage Pauge)
    or diluted white glue (3 parts white glue to 1 part water)
  • Popsicle stick or brayer
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush or cotton swab
  • Damp cloth
  • Polyurethane varnish (Optional)

Steps

Step 1 Decoupage Keepsake Box craft 1. Obtain a plain papier mache gift box or wooden box.
Step 2 Decoupage Keepsake Box craft 2. Find pictures that you'd like to decoupage from magazines, gift wrap paper, calendars, greeting cards, or you may purchase prints specially made for decoupage. You can also print out pictures from a laser printer (do not use an inkjet printer, the ink will run once you start decoupaging) or have the pictures laser copied.
Step 3 Decoupage Keepsake Box craft 3. Cut out the pictures.
Step 4 Decoupage Keepsake Box craft 4. Arrange the pictures around your box just to get an idea of how the finished project would look like. There really are no rules on how you position the pictures - you can arrange them in an ordered manner, overlap the pieces, or place the pictures randomly. You can also decorate on the entire box or focus on the lid or on a specific section.
Step 5 Decoupage Keepsake Box craft 5. Apply diluted white glue (about 3 parts white glue to 1 part water) or decoupage medium (e.g. Mod Podge) as evenly as you can at the back of a picture. You may find it useful to spread the glue or decoupage medium with a paint brush or cotton swab.

*If you prefer, you can apply white glue or decoupage medium on the section of the box where the picture will be placed.
Step 6 Decoupage Keepsake Box craft 6. Carefully position the picture on the box. Try to avoid crumpling or wrinkling the picture as you lay it on the surface.
Step 7 Decoupage Keepsake Box craft 7. Smoothen out the picture with your finger or with a Popsicle stick or brayer. Be careful not to scratch off the printed surface of your picture.
Step 8 Decoupage Keepsake Box craft 8. Use a damp cloth to wipe off any excess glue or decoupage medium at the edges of the picture.
Step 9 Decoupage Keepsake Box craft 9. Repeat Steps 5 to 8 to glue on the rest of your pictures. Let the glue or decoupage medium dry completely.
Step 10 Decoupage Keepsake Box craft 10. Once dry, coat the entire surface of the box with white glue or decoupage medium and allow it to dry completely. Continue coating with glue or decoupage medium until the edges of your picture are smooth. Remember to let each coat dry before applying the next one. About 4 to 5 coatings are sufficient but you can do up to 10 to 20 coats - it really depends on how meticulous you are!
Step 11 Decoupage Keepsake Box craft Ask for an adult's help11. A decoupage medium such as Mod Podge is an all-in-one glue, sealer, and finish and would keep your project protected from moisture. However, if you used white glue, you can waterproof your work with polyurethane varnish (ask an adult to do this for you).

When you're done, you can start filling up your box with letters, tokens, pictures and treasured items. You can keep the box for yourself or give it as a gift for a friend or loved one, especially someone who lives far away who would cherish keeping your letters, photos and good memories in this very lovely box.

More Ideas

Decoupage Keepsake Box for Father's Day Add an extra-personal touch to your keepsake box by thinking about the person you are giving the box to. You can even decoupage a short written message or cut out letters from a magazine to spell out a catchy phrase.

Notice that besides focusing on images, you can use cut-outs of prints and patterns or pictures of textures (check out the denim print I cut out from a magazine ad!). Overlap and layer them for a very interesting effect.

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