Hand Crafted Wood Boxes

We had a BLAST on Saturday painting the wood boxes the kids built the week prior. This project can be complete in one afternoon but due to drying time we stretched it over the course of two weeks. What I love most about this project is it teaches a step by step process and incorporates lessons in woodworking and painting.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. pre-cut wood: 4 sides, a top and a bottom
  2. rubber bands
  3. wood glue (we use Titebond II because it conforms to ASTM D4236 which means its non-toxic and has a strong initial bond)
  4. optional: safety glasses, hammer and nails (age appropriate)
  5. plenty of white acrylic paint
  6. various colors of acrylic paint
  7. paintbrushes
  8. popsicle sticks
  9. matte Mod Podge
  10. wax paper

First step is constructing the wooden boxes. We did this using the wood glue but you can also use a hammer and nails to build the box. The children applied to wood glue to all four sides of the bottom piece first. The glue can easily be applied using a popsicle stick. Place the bottom piece face up on a flat service, on top of the wax paper. The wax paper will keep the box from sticking to a surface when drying. Next, stand up one of the side pieces and place it directly against the bottom piece of the wood, creating your first “wall”. Using the popsicle stick, apply glue to the left or the right side of the “wall”. Take another side piece and bond it to the first side piece so that you are creating a 90 degree angle. Repeat these steps until all four side walls are constructed together making a complete box. Place the rubber bands around the box, one on top and one on bottom. This will ensure you have a strong glue bond.

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Step Two is priming the box. You’ll paint the entire box with white acrylic paint. This will act as a primer so that the final colors of the box are bold and there is no bleeding into the wood. You can wait for the glue to dry or you can start right away. Don’t worry about the rubber bands, you can paint right over them. I suggest pulling the rubber bands off after an hour. If you find there are marks, you can always easily sand over them using a piece of sand paper. Cover the box entirely with white paint.

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Step three is the FUN part. Once the primer paint is totally dry, paint the entire box and the top of the box using bold and bright colors. One of the kids painted their hands and placed a hand print on one of the sides, it came out adorable. You can use a sponge, paint brush or any household items to make shapes and different brush strokes. Some examples are plastic fork, marker caps to make stamps of circles or toilet paper rolls to roll on the paint.

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Step Four is applying the Mod Podge. This must be complete once the paint is completely dry. Apply one or two coats of Mod Podge using a thick paint brush. It will be white when you apply it but dry clear. This will protect the paint on the box and ensure it won’t chip after time.

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