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Crafts | Make Decorative Matchboxes

Crafts | Make Decorative Matchboxes
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Matchboxes offer multiple opportunities for use in artwork, playtime, organization, and gift giving. There are so many ways to recycle and recreate matchboxes that I could write an entire book on it. However, I will limit this post to just a few ideas on how to make decorative matchboxes.

Let’s start with a basic makeover to create decorative matchboxes using a few simple supplies, and then I’ll provide some ideas and techniques to take these treasures a step further.

Materials to Make Decorative Matchboxes

You can use any style of boxed matches for this project. If you don’t have any on hand and need an instant collection, a quick trip to the local dollar store or hardware store will yield plenty to experiment with for little cost. You can set aside the matches in a safe container like a coffee can for later use (we save ours for camping trips).

  • Matchboxes
  • Mod Podge
  • Decorative Papers
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Other materials noted in each section

Directions to Make Decorative Matchboxes

It’s easy to wrap the outside of matchboxes in decorative papers. Simply measure and cut your papers to fit the box, then use Mod Podge to glue papers on. I don’t have a special technique for paper measuring/cutting — I simply cut a long strip of decorative paper the same width as the box, and then I wrap and trim. It does help to flatten the creases of your paper prior to gluing, however.

The inside trays for matchboxes can be painted with acrylic paints. Make sure to paint all sides and bottom of tray. If you don’t have paint, you can always cut a piece of paper to glue to the bottom and/or sides of your tray. Once dry, your matchboxes are ready to take to the next level! Read below and see if you can find a project to create with your matchbox.

Create Artwork from Decorative Matchboxes

Decorative matchboxes can be transferred into miniature masterpieces or combined with other matchboxes to create pieces of art. Buttons, beads, ribbon, ephemera, and decorative papers can be added to add detail and texture to your work.

Buttons, beads, and paper were used to create this tiny diorama.

Buttons, beads, and paper were used to create this tiny diorama.

Three small matchboxes turned into a circus caravan.  A rectangle was trimmed from the center of each matchbox to create a 3D effect.

Three small matchboxes turned into a circus caravan. A rectangle was trimmed from the center of each matchbox to create a 3D effect

Large and small matchboxes combined to create a miniature theater. A rectangle was cut from the center of the large matchbox to create a stage. Decorative ribbon and paper was used to add detail.

Large and small matchboxes combined to create a miniature theater. A rectangle was cut from the center of the large matchbox to create a stage. Decorative ribbon and paper was used to add detail.

Gifts For Yourself and Loved Ones Using Decorative Matchboxes

  • Pocket and Purse Mementos: Some people enjoy carrying a miniature memento to honor a loved one who has passed on; or as inspiration and encouragement. These mementos are typically decorative and detailed. Beaded ribbon, lettered beads, small gemstones or charms can be added to create a miniature shrine small enough to fit in your pocket or purse.
  • Get Well Gift: Find tiny keepsakes to add to your matchbox and send to a sick and/or hospitalized loved one. There are many types of “pocket guardian angels”, good luck tokens and coins, and religious charms that are small and easily added to a Get Well matchbox . If you have small children, you may even have tiny knick knacks discarded from playsets — miniature orange juice containers, teddy bears, and cups of tea have all been useful for adding to these Get Well packages.
  • Mini-kits: Eyeglass repair kits, sewing kits, manicure quick fixes, pill boxes, first aid kits, tooth fairyboxes — these can all be created using small matchboxes. These make wonderful gifts for friends and loved ones.

A Get Well "card" made with a small matchbox.
As you can see, the possibilities for making decorative matchboxes are just about endless! Happy decorating!

Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Bonnie Thomas

Author:

Bonnie Thomas

Biography:

Bonnie Thomas shares her ideas and instructions for simple Yankee crafts. Bonnie Thomas works full time as a child and family therapist in Southern Maine and is also an established artist and author. She has published two books via Jessica Kingsley Publishing, titled Creative Coping Skills for Children: Emotional Support Through Arts and Crafts Activities and Creative Expression Activities for Teens: Exploring Identity Through Art, Craft and Journaling. Don't miss her latest book, How to Get Kids Offline, Outdoors, and Connecting With Nature
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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A whole bunch of recycled matchbox crafts · Recycled Crafts | CraftGossip.com - July 26, 2012

    [...] at the blog The Crafty Yankee there is a great post that features all sorts of things made out of recycled matchboxes like toys, mini alters, artwork, storage and [...]

  2. Create a Matchbox Advent Calendar for the holidays - November 19, 2012

    [...] Dish WareA whole bunch of recycled matchbox crafts · Recycled Crafts | CraftGossip.com on Altered MatchboxesSusan Mecca Urbanczyk on Create Your Own Nesting [...]

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