DIY Keepsake Box

DIY Keepsake Box

You know what I have a problem with? Cute boxes. What will I use them for? What will I keep in them? Where will I put them? I don’t know, but if they’re cute, then I want them! Read on for one of my personal favorites–a DIY Keepsake Box.

I get my boxes from Michaels; they’re basic and they’re cheap, so they’re perfect for this project! The one I used for this tutorial measures 8 ½” x 5 ¼”, but I’ve made them in all different shapes and sizes, so whatever you find most appealing will work!


  • wooden box
  • 1 piece of scrapbook paper
  • matching paint
  • 1 piece of felt
  • Elmer’s glue
  • sandpaper
  • toothpick
  • paintbrush
  • wood varnish (or Mod Podge)
  • wax paper
  • a heavy book

Painting your keepsake box

Start by painting your box; make sure the coat is even, but don’t worry about making it too thick, since you’ll be sanding it later! You also don’t have to worry about covering the inside bottom, as there will be felt lining it.

paper preparation

While you wait for your paint to dry, cut your paper for the top. Measure your box and subtract ¼” from each measurement. So for my box that measures 8 ½” x 5 ¼” I cut the paper to measure 8 ¼” x 5”.

DIY Keepsake Box

Put your paper aside and wait for your paint to finish drying. When it’s completely dried, scrape any paint that got on your hardware off. I just used a toothpick; if it’s not coming off easily then you can dab it with a damp paper towel before scraping it and it should come off no problem! After everything is clean, sand the box. I just focus on the outside, leaving the inside untouched, mostly just because it’s easier for me!

Decorating your keepsake box

Add a moderate amount of Elmer’s glue to the top of the box and brush it evenly out to cover the whole top. The glue shouldn’t be thick, just enough to cover. If you make it too thick then you’re more likely to end up with wrinkles and imperfections.

Center your paper on the top and smooth it out, making sure there aren’t any pockets of air. Put a piece of wax paper over the top of the box, and place a heavy book (or two) on top of the wax paper until the glue dries. This will keep the paper from puckering or wrinkling (if you’ve chosen a thick, cardstock paper then wrinkles shouldn’t be a problem, but better safe than sorry!).

DIY Keepsake Box

Once the glue is dry, brush a light coat of wood varnish over the whole thing, inside and outside. I use Eco Paints Interior Satin Clear Varnish (it’s water based and zero VOC), but if you don’t have any varnish on hand, you can always use Mod Podge. Make sure that it’s a light, smooth layer, and that it’s completely dry before you close the box, to prevent sticking! After this dries, complete your box by gluing your felt in the bottom. Use a light layer of Elmer’s glue, making sure to get around all the edges, press firmly, and let it dry.

DIY Keepsake Box
A super-cute finished DIY Keepsake Box to hold all of your treasures!

And there ya have it. Now… sure, it’s cute, but what are you going to keep in it?

If you’re interested in more of my DIY projects, please visit here!

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