Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Handmade Stenciled Gift Boxes

Hi everyone, it's Gwen back again today with another project showcasing different ways to use your stencils. Today's post was inspired by craft projects from my childhood; my sister and I used to get those thin, shaped wooden boxes from the craft store and take them home and decorate them with fabric, paint, ribbons, and silk flowers. So I decided to take a trip down memory lane and make a grown up, stenciled version.

The one I'm sharing here was completely handmade, but you could absolutely just get one of those boxes from the craft store and decorate it instead of making your own. I have to say, however... it was pretty satisfying to see it come together! I wasn't entirely sure that it would work. But experimentation is half the fun, right?

So, if you want to take a stab at making the container yourself, here's how I did it.

First, pick a stencil to be the shape of the box. I decided to make it simple and go with round, but you could theoretically pick any shape you wanted! Get some thin but still fairly sturdy chipboard and trace the stencil twice - this will be the pattern for the lid and bottom of the box. (I save chipboard mailers that I get when I order online - I was lucky enough to have a great big one that worked perfectly for this!) Here I'm using the Flower of Life stencil by Mary Beth Shaw.

Next, you need to cut the side of the box as well as the lip of the lid. To do that, you need to measure the circumference or perimeter of your stencil, leaving about 1/2" to overlap. This particular stencil has an 18" circumference. So I cut a 3/4"x18 1/2" strip for the lip and a 3"x18 1/2" strip for the side. If you don't have one that long, just cut two pieces (like 3/4"x9 1/2" each) and then you'll just have a seam in two places instead of one. No big deal.

Below, you can see that I'm starting to assemble the pieces. Important to note: for the lid, you're going to adhere the lip to the outside edge. For the base, you're going to use the edge as a guide, but the side will be adhered on top of the base - this way, the lid will be bigger so it will fit over top. Hopefully the pictures will help.

To get the chipboard to glue and hold in place without pulling away, you'll want to kind of prime it - start using your hands to work it into a curve. It will work pretty quickly, and you'll get the paper fibers kind of trained to go in the right direction before you start gluing.

I used Helmar Quick Dry to glue the pieces together (and I pinched that one below a bit longer after the photo so it didn't separate at all.) It worked perfectly!

Next, it's time for the fun part. Decorating! I painted the top and bottom and let it dry, then stenciled. (You could probably do this part before gluing it all together and make it a bit easier on yourself, but apparently I just don't think that way. lol.)

For the side of my box, I used Nathalie Kalbach's Ornament Wall Stencil to get the design. I wrapped it around and adhered it with painter's tape, then used white acrylic paint for the first layer. After that was dry, I went back over it again with a layer of gold paint.

Then for the lid, I took the Flower of Life stencil again and used Wendy Vecchi gold embossing paste and a palette knife to apply the design on top.

Once everything was dry, I started adding more goodies. Some gold trim I've had for years went around the edges...

Then I added jewels, flowers, and dimensional paints to finish it off.

Now I have a beautiful box just waiting to be filled with goodies as a gift for a special occasion. Or, I could always keep it sitting on my shelf where it looks so nice right now!

I hope you enjoyed today's project! And as always, if you're inspired to make something at home, please come back and leave a link so we can see!

Until next time,


  1. Gwen, this is absolutely stunning! I always love seeing how you are going to use stencils in a brand-new way! What a lovely box!

  2. Great idea and beautiful results, Gwen!

  3. this is amazing and beautiful and a fun project! Thank you Gwen!

  4. I would never have thought about making my own box...very cool!

  5. gorgeous box! You are amazingly talented!


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