DIY Tutorial: Make a Memory Box to Store Your Sentimental Treasures

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I've focused the last few posts primarily on organizing yourself and your space. I thought it'd be fun to end the month with a tutorial, in case you want to channel your crafty impulses into something that helps you tame the clutter. So, without further ado, here's how you can make a personalized container for the sentimental items you can't quite get rid of but you don't want to display 24/7:

What You'll Need

  • Wide paint brush

  • Acrylic paint (opaque)

  • Mod Podge + foam applicator

  • Super glue (optional, depending on your decorations)

  • Anything you want to use as decoration – I used wrapping paper scraps, tissue paper, and pictures cut out of an old calendar and a gardening catalog. You could also use shells, rhinestones, small rocks, etc.

STEP 1: Paint the Box

Using any color palette you choose, paint the box with opaque paints. I used black and ecru for a neutral-yet-interesting backdrop. Learn from my mistakes: if you do a two-toned palette, tape off any areas you don’t want painted with the second color. I wasted a lot of time touching up very obvious spots of ecru that appeared on the black spaces…

 acrylic paints in ecru and black

STEP 2: Assemble decorative materials

I chose to use an old scrap of tissue paper as the backdrop. It wasn’t quite square, and I was feeling lazy, so I also cut out border pieces from some scraps of wrapping paper I had ferreted away last year to hide the edges. Finally, I used a hobby knife to cut out a butterfly from an old calendar and a few flowers from one of the dozens of gardening catalogs that make their way to my mailbox. (Seriously, if you order from one gardening supply company, you’ll get catalogs from every plant and seed company that exists. Shop local to save your recycling bin!)

STEP 3: Start decorating!

Since I was using strictly paper, I went with thin layers of Mod Podge both under the paper and over the top, making sure no corners stick up or look unfinished. If you want to add shells, rocks, rhinestones, or basically anything heavier than paper, I swear Gorilla Glue is the stuff of legends. Just, uh, try not to get it on your hands. It comes off, but it tends to take the top layer of skin along for the ride. Not that I know this by experience, of course…cough cough

Tip: Lay everything out on your surface before you start gluing to make sure you like the composition. I have an embarrassing number of craft projects stuffed in the basement that failed because I dove in without planning.


diy memory box final product

As you can see, I folded the flowers down along the front edge to make the design more three dimensional. I’ll see the front edge in my closet more often than the top, after all. Now, all that's left is stuffing it with ticket stubs, old photos, and knick knacks.

If you make one yourself, tag me (@vanduinenstudio) on Instagram. I'd love to see your creation!

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