Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pretty Papered Boxes

Yesterday marked my 23rd birthday, and the start of my journey to becoming an old lady. At the same time, opening presents got me thinking about one of my favorite things to make with wrapping paper. This is the perfect project for this time of year for a few reasons. These make great gift boxes that you can reuse year after year (just use festive paper, add a bow and a tag :), they help get rid of wrapping paper you haven't used in a while to make room for the rolls you plan to use for the holidays, and they are an easy project for an overcast day. Besides, who says you need to wait for Spring to get a jump start on a little reorganizing? 

To make these covered boxes, all you need are a few things:
  1. An old shoe box
  2. Wrapping paper
  3. Scissors
  4. Clear packing tape
  5. Glue stick
Once you have your shoe box, start by cutting a  large rectangle around it. Measure the amount of paper you need similarly to how you would if you were wrapping a present. You will need enough to cover the bottom and sides with a little extra to hang over the edges. 

Next, fold up the paper to make creases around the perimeter of the bottom of the box. You should have four lines that create an outline of your shoe box in the middle and extend to the edges of your paper.

Now you need to begin trimming the paper. Cut down the folded lines to remove the rectangles created by your folds in the four corners of the paper.  However, on two sides, leave extra flaps on the edges in a trapezoid shape to be folded over the edge of the box. For a visual, see the picture above. To make sure my flaps were in the correct place, I folded the paper over the edge of the box and made another crease. I then cut down the edge to trim the extra from the top. 

Once you have your paper cut to the correct shape, you can start securing it to the box. Fold the edges of one of your sides of paper with the flaps up and over the top of the box. Glue the flaps to the side of the box first, then tape down the edge on the inside of the box. Do the same on the opposite side. Fold up the remaining two sides and again,  tape down the edges of the paper to the inside of the shoe box. I also put packing tape on the four edges where the paper flaps meet for a little extra reinforcement to protect against tears. Follow the same process for the lid of the box and you're done! 

These can be used to wrap presents or to store just about anything. I use mine to organize a number of different items such as jewelry, nail polish, important papers, pictures... 

I think these are a really cute way to organize a room. Just about everyone has little knick-knacks that can make a space look cluttered. This is an aesthetically pleasing way to keep them around without all the mess. They also make it easy to move your stuff. As a recent college graduate, I have moved to a new place almost twice every year for the past four years. Packing everything up can be a huge pain, but these fit easily into bigger boxes and make the process a little less stressful. Plus, they are a helpful way to recycle old shoe boxes. If you want to get a little more creative, you can make some slight alterations. It was more work, but in one case, I used wrapping paper on the inside of the shoe box and then made a collage around the outside (that box can be seen above in the middle). I covered the whole box with packing tape to make it more sturdy which was perfect to hold my nail polish collection.

Shoe boxes aren't the only recyclables that can be dressed up with wrapping paper though. Save an old soup can to make a cup for your pens or loose change. If I had the time and supplies, I would put kidney beans in the bottom with pens wrapped with florist tape to secure fabric flowers at the top to make a nice bouquet. Or if you plan ahead, you could turn these into lanterns or votive holders. Hammer a nail through the can before covering it (maybe in the shape of a heart?) and then after wrapping the can, poke the paper through the same holes (just be careful not to rip the paper). I think those could be cute hung with a little twine, but I don't really have the space to display a project like that.

Regardless of what you choose to make, I hope you have fun turning pretty wrapping paper into decorative items that can be used year-round. If you know of other similar projects, let me know! :]


  1. Another thing I've wanted to try, but not sure if it works:

    Use old shoebox lids and cover them with fabric(of your choice). Once they're covered, you can hang them on a wall, like shown in this photo:

    Cheaper way to decorate than having to purchase canvas or other wall hangings! If I try it, i'll let you know :)

  2. That's really cute too! You'll have to let me know how they turn out if you do it :)