mobile header showing mixed media decorative gift boxes in three different sizes

Decorative Gift Boxes






     Decorative Gift Boxes




What are Decorative Gift Boxes?


For me decorative gift boxes are ones that have been individually styled and decorated so as to be more special than ordinary gift boxes. They are ones which the recipients will want to cherish as much, or more, than the contents.

Tiny gift box decorated with image of girl releasing bird from her palmTiny gift box that once held two chocolates

In the weeks following Christmas 2015 I found myself with various cardboard containers that seemed just too good to throw away or put in the recycling bins.

These were mostly boxes that had contained luxury chocolates and other foodstuffs although some were from toiletries.





How the boxes are created

In the New Year I am intending to create a short video detailing the steps taken as I decorate a box.

In the New Year I am intending to create a short video detailing the steps taken as I decorate a box. 

I have always enjoyed creating so I started applying mixed media techniques to a few of these. I was initially inspired by the new gelatos range by Design Memory Craft products from Faber-Castell.

I keep my work in progress on one of the less-used worktops at the end of the kitchen.

Since each layer of work has to dry before applying the next, I can only add a bit at a time. Thus each box takes several days to complete. I am in the habit of doing a little bit more when the mood takes me as I pass through the kitchen and I have time to play.

Materials for decorating gift boxes - gelatos, glue, etcSome of the things I use to decorate the boxes.
Materials for decorating gift boxes - gelatos, glue, etcSome of the things I use to decorate the boxes.

I rarely know what a finished box will look like at the start. I just add a bit at a time and they sort of dictate to me how they will turn out. The look of each is also determined in part by the materials I happen to have at the time.

Where possible, if it is a pleasant plain colour, I keep parts of the box original and simply focus on changing those areas that are printed with manufacturers' logos etc. Sometimes it's the lid and at other times the base which needs to be decorated.

Each box will be different.



Step by Step

  1. The first step in making the boxes is to remove a layer of card in any area to be decorated that would be under the lid. If decorative layers are simply added on top of these the lids will no longer slide on and off easily.
  2. This is quite a painstaking job using a small scalpel, but well worth the effort. Often the resulting area is then covered with sticky backed plastic as this stabilises the area and allows the lid to move freely.
  3. Next the entire area to be decorated is usually covered in layers of gesso.
  4. These are what I regard as the basic steps. Often a box sits for days before inspiration strikes as to what to add next.
  5. Once inspiration strikes I gather images to use as well as paper serviettes and other materials that will cover parts of the background. I also colour various parts with gelato sticks and blend the colours together.
  6. Again, the application of the mixed media layers can take several days as I slowly progress bit by bit. Occasionally a look will just not appeal so I remove it and do something else.
  7. I like the boxes to have a textured feel to them so some layers don't lie perfectly flat and smooth. I think a textured surface feels more alive. 
  8. Each box is finally coated in two layers of varnish and left to dry for at least two weeks before being stored away.




An attractively decorated gift box makes an ordinary gift special



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  2. About Decorative Gift Boxes