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Make a Treasure Box  
Help your kids make a personalized box to hold their treasures!


create a treasure boxRemember those odd fascinations you had as a child? Those great times when your imagination ran wild and a stick became a "magic wand" or a shiny rock found along the road became a beautiful diamond (if only in your eyes)? From rocks and fossils to teen heartthrob photos and a girl's first jewelry, when a child begins accumulating things that catch his or her fancy, it's time to look at storage options—after all, everyone needs a special place to hide their secret treasures! There are tons of options available ranging from plastic bins and baskets to crates and plastic zippered food bags but you don't just leave items with "mystical powers" out on a shelf for just anyone to see! Such special and priceless items deserve a home worthy of their importance—a "treasure box."

Making a treasure box is an easy project that uses the technique of decoupage (gluing decorative paper to an object or surface and sealing it) to create a fun and very personal place—perfect for stowing away those little secret trinkets that mean so much.

What you'll need:

  • A medium sized wooden or metal box with a lid (attached or detached). A substantial cardboard box may also work well.
  • Decorative paper (choose papers featuring patterns that have something to do with your child's interests)
  • Safety scissors
  • Decoupage medium (available from craft or department stores)
  • Acrylic paint
  • A disposable Styrofoam bowl or plate
  • Paintbrushes (disposable foam brushes work well)
  • Old newspaper or a plastic drop cloth (to help contain the mess and make cleanup easier)
  • Old clothes

Start your project by preparing the paper that will decorate your child's treasure box. Try to find paper that features pictures of things that are of interest to your child. Look for old gift-wrap paper, specialty magazines - even things like old roadmaps and old calendars—that will make a fun and unique decorative surface. The paper can be prepared in a number of ways. For a fun, old look, your child can try tearing the paper to leave ragged edges. Or, your child may want to cut out specific shapes, designs, or specific images. One tip is to cut the pieces to a reasonable size to make applying glue easier and speed the application process.

Once a supply of decorative paper is cut, the box can be prepared. If the box is wooden or cardboard, it can be painted with a layer of acrylic craft paint. Painting on a small surface like this is an ideal job for a child. Just make sure they're wearing old clothes and that the work area is protected with old newspaper or a plastic drop cloth. If your child would like, the outside of the box may also be painted and the paper pieces can be applied in a more open pattern to let the color show through. Once the desired surface area is painted, let it dry thoroughly according to the instructions that are found on the paint.

create a treasure boxNow for the messy, fun part that your kids will love. Pour the decoupage medium into a stable container (a wide bottomed Styrofoam bowl or a Styrofoam plate with a high edge is ideal). Demonstrate the process to your child by taking a piece of the decorative paper, laying it down on your covered work surface, dipping your brush in the decoupage medium and brushing a nice, even layer on the piece of paper you have chosen. Once the paper is coated on one side, pick it up and place it on the box wherever you would like, pressing it down firmly. You may want to use a clean brush to firm the paper down, which will help keep messy fingers from sticking to pieces that have already been applied. Once you've demonstrated the process, let your child have a field day! Pieces can be overlapped or even placed as decorative elements (if your child wants the outside color of the box to show through).

Once the box is decorated to your child's liking, it's time to seal the decorated area with layers of the decoupage medium to further adhere the decorative paper and to add a protective layer to the surface. Follow the package instructions to determine the proper number of layers required to seal the project and allow adequate drying time between layers of decoupage medium. Brushing the sealing coats of decoupage medium is another good job for a child. After the final layer is applied, allow the treasure box to dry thoroughly.

Congratulations! Your child has just created a personalized place to keep valuable mementos and secret items. And what could be more special than helping your child create a secret place to protect the treasures of his or her imagination.

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Articles are provided for the general interest of our readers. Gerber Life Insurance is not responsible for any content and recommends that you consult the appropriate professional with any questions or concerns you may have concerning any financial or health related issues.

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