We needed a winter-time rainy day craft project a bit back, so I got out my supplies which always seem to involved unpainted wood. I had these boxes in the craft room (unpainted cigar boxes from Michael's. Actually, everything was from Michael's) and gathered up some unpainted wood shapes and letters (I had these on hand too. I have a craft supply problem, obviously.) and acrylic paint. The girls then added the jewels with Elmer's glue after the boxes had dried.
This was a great project for a few reasons. I actually suggested they stick with only one color per wood item. I normally steer away from giving any direction at all, but with Sadie 6.5 and Delia 4.5—they actually get bummed now when they have a vision of how something should look, but the finished product is not so great. So we talked about it first. We discussed what color they wanted their boxes, what color the letters and the shapes should be, what it would look like inside, that kind of thing. Then it was easy to just have them mix the colors and work in stages. They painted everything and I let them have at it with the glue and the jewels—they figured out right away how little glue was needed. They glued the jewels on for about a hour. It was awesome.
We also made these over 3 days, which was nice. I think it's great for all of us not to be pressured to start and finish projects in one session. They are great at stopping and coming back to it a day later and it stresses me out less when baby does something weird (like eating cat food) knowing we can just stop for the day. Plus, you can only go so far with wet paint, which is good for them to experience.
I suggested lining the boxes with patterned paper and then adding photos. The favorites were chosen, of course. Hello Kitty and Cinderella.
The hair accessories/jewelry/rubber bands go in.
They are really proud if these boxes, it's very cool. They show them off and tell everyone about how they were made. I really like the idea of taking time to make projects to keep. So many craft projects for kids are meant to be disposable. I think it's a balance. I try to keep supplies inexpensive, but to also show that care and time can be used to make something special. Something to keep. Don't get me wrong—I'm all about the quick and dirty projects too, but try to not buy supplies for that kind of thing, instead using stuff from around the house.
I think this would be a great project for boys too, with different colors maybe and possibly not jewels, but other items glued on top. I would love to make more of these with the girls—maybe more map/geological and less bling-y, but I try not to steer too much.
The girls have started geocaching (my crazy generous brother gave me a GPS for Christmas!) and I can imagine some compasses, notebooks, pens, and other items tucked into a custom painted geocaching box, maybe with a handle, too. Have you all gone geocaching? It's crazy fun.