Perfectly Planned Presents: Kid-Friendly DIY Wooden “Gift” Box
A Guest Post by Angelo DiGangi
This holiday season when your kids are making their Christmas presents to give to loved ones, do everything you can to ensure their labors of love don’t end up at the back of a closet or hidden away in a drawer, never again to see the light of day.
It isn’t that these gifts aren’t touchingly heartfelt or that your children have created something unworthy of appreciation…it may just be that the gift doesn’t account for the tastes of the recipient!
One way to avoid this is to craft something that satisfies everyone’s desires. In other words, your kids get to make something out of nothing with their very own hands, of which they can be genuinely proud, and the lucky person receiving the gift can accept something they genuinely like.
Here’s a bit more on a DIY project that fits the bill to a “T” – a wooden shadowbox that has been painted and decorated to coordinate with the home décor of the receiver. And because it’s a shadowbox, it’s up to them what belongs inside throughout the year! Win-win!
Begin with the Box
You can build a box similar to the one above using plywood from your local home improvement store and a piece of glass.
*Tip: Purchase an inexpensive picture frame – or use one you already have – and remove the piece of glass as your guide. From here, simply frame it out with pieces of plywood or scrap lumber that has been custom cut to fit.
Another option is to use pieces of wood trim like decorative baseboard moulding that comes with the embellishments already built in.
Finally, you could also use plain lumber pieces and top them with portions of shoe moulding or quarter round trim moulding.
Whatever route you decide, be sure to exercise proper safety precautions and help the little ones with the woodworking tools.
From here, it’s time to tailor the gift to the recipient!
Décor the Halls!
Before beginning the project, undertake a bit of reconnaissance to determine a bit about the home or office décor of the person to whom your child will present the gift. Do they have any particular color palette or patterns that they have used in the space or that contributes to their basic style or décor tastes?
At a minimum, if all you can determine is what the person doesn’t like, that’s still more than nothing! If the person does not have autumn colors anywhere in their home, avoid making something in the orange or brown family. Likewise, if you can find every color but green represented somewhere in their home, don’t settle on a lime or grass color palette.
Today, this gift box is going to someone who loves the colors gray and white and has beach and ocean accents throughout their home, so that’s where we will start. Once again, the beauty of this project is that they don’t have to stick with what is selected for them – they can change the contents of the box at any time!
1. Sand the edges of the lumber and the sides of the box smooth. A 320 sanding sponge was used on all of the corners and over all surfaces of this plywood gift box.
2. Tape the edges of the piece of glass to protect it from the paint.
3. Paint the box, including the top and sides.
4. After the first coat dries, apply a second. Allow the paint to dry overnight before adding embellishments or paint details.
This metallic white paint looks like a mother of pearl coating in direct light and continues the beach theme!
5. Remove the tape and clean the piece of glass.
6. Insert a “placeholder” into the shadowbox before you close up the back.
*Tip: Make sure your child signs and dates their work on the back before moving on to the wrapping stage!
7. Select a festive ribbon to match the shadowbox and wrap up the completed “present” gift box!
What other kid-friendly DIY woodworking projects have you done with your children around the holidays?
A Little About the Author:
Angelo DiGangi is a Home Depot “on the floor” sales associate in Illinois and a regular contributor to the Home Depot website on wood products ranging from plywood to hardwood flooring. Angelo also writes about outdoor lumber projects for homeowners, including decks and fencing.