How To: Make a Recycled Leafy Catch-All Box

How To: Make a Recycled Leafy Catch-All Box

Gregory Han
Feb 13, 2009

Today we welcome guest blogger, Jenny Ryan, a friend, neighbor and crafting expert whose resume is longer than an IKEA catalog when it comes to the world of DIY. We've invited her to share some of her crafting know-how today, a perfect compliment and inspiration for this month's February Jumpstart theme. Tell us what you think:021309jennyryan05.jpg

Trader Joe's sells these tasty sea salt caramels that come in a cute little balsa wood box. It feels wasteful to just toss the box after finishing off the sweet treats, so we came up with this quick and easy way to recycle the packaging by turning it into a colorful catch-all box. Here's how we did it...



  • empty, unfinished wooden box
  • 2 shades acrylic craft paint (we prefer Folk Art brand from Plaid)
  • spray paint in a 3rd shade (satin finish)
  • polyurethane spray sealant (satin finish)
  • paint brushes or sponge applicators
  • blue painter's tape
  • scissors and/or a craft knife


  1. Remove any packaging stickers and lightly sand wood if needed.

  2. Paint the top of the box lid with 2 shades of craft paint. We used a bright citron green on one half and a deep aqua on the other. (Next time we plan to mix it up with several colors applied randomly!)

  3. While the box lid is drying, paint the bottom of your box with craft paint and set aside to dry.

  4. Once the box lid is completely dry, use scissors or a craft knife to cut strips of painter's tape and lay them across the top of the lid. These are the "stems" of your leaf pattern. We cut out three stems, but you can use however many you like. Trim off any overhang.

  5. Cut out several leaf shapes in various sizes from blue painter's tape and lay them along the stems you created in step 3. Be sure to firmly press the tape onto the box so no paint will leak underneath it in step 6.

  6. Spray paint the top and sides of your box lid with your third color. It took two coats of spray paint for me to cover up the previous colors.

  7. Once the spray paint is completely try, carefully peel off the blue painter's tape. I found it helpful to peel up the leaf shapes first, working from the inside (stem edge) of each leaf. Then peel up the stems.

  8. Spray the box lid and bottom of box with clear, satin-finish polyurethane to protect the design. One coat should do it.

  9. Display and enjoy!

And be sure to check out Jenny's recently released crafting tome of DIY goodness, Sew Darn Cute: 30 Sweet & Simple Projects to Sew & Embellish and drop by her website of the same name.

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