The lowly shoebox transforms from a throw-away item to something useful if you take the time to cover it with something decorative. Decoupage is the simplest way to take your old shoe boxes from trash to treasure. This common crafting technique is easy to use, inexpensive and allows you to decorate the shoebox to fit the decorating motif of the room in which you'll use them. Finally, because shoeboxes come in a range of sizes, this craft provides you with a container to store loose items of many different shapes and sizes.
Items you will need
- Illustrations, photos, wallpaper
- Craft glue
- Wooden stir stick
- Sponge brushes
Gather together the empty shoeboxes in your house. Sort them according to size and shape. Stack like with like: place your boot shoeboxes together, then the kid-size boxes and finally the adult size.
Find the pictorial designs you want to use to decorate the shoeboxes. Take these from old illustrated children's books, your old family photos, the leftover scraps of the room's wallpaper or old newspapers. If there's a design you like, but you only have one copy of it, make a photocopy of the design.
Cut out the pictures for your shoebox decoupage craft. You can either cut around the picture so that the resulting piece of paper is shaped like the picture -- for example, a smiley face picture is round. The other option you have is to cut the paper in geometric designs or long strips. This works best if you've chosen newsprint or wallpaper as the covering for your shoeboxes.
Lay down newspaper to protect your work area.
Combine equal parts craft glue and water in a bowl and stir with a wooden stick.
Paint on a light layer of the glue mixture onto the first area of the shoebox on which you're working. If you're doing the lid first, paint the glue on there. Use a damp sponge brush to apply an even coat of glue.
Apply the first design to the box. Wet your fingers a bit if you need to so that they don't stick to the piece of paper.
Repeat the application process until you've covered the shoebox with your photos or illustrations.
Wait for the glue to dry. Cover the bowl of glue with plastic if you need to wait overnight for the glue to dry.
Cover the decorated shoebox with two or three coats of the craft glue using the sponge brush, allowing the glue to dry between coats.
Wait for the glue to dry. The finish should shine like varnish.
Tips & Warnings
- Sort the boxes by size if you want to create a matching set of boxes. For example, if you need a set of big boxes in which to store bathroom items, separate the boot boxes from the rest of the stack, earmarking these for the bathroom only. Decorate them all with the same motif.
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