Last Christmas, I decided to start the tradition of gifting my nieces and nephews a new ornament every year so that by the time they’re all 18 they’ll have a nice personal collection of their own!
That idea led to the next idea of… “how about I make them each their own personalized ornament box with their name on it!”
Which then turned into a 20-hour project… multiple trips to the craft and art supply store and the Container Store. So maybe more than 20 hours. #worthit
Here’s what I did!
First, I found these ornament boxes from the Container Store. I figured the cardboard would be the easiest to get craft with.
STEP 1: Create the graphic on the computer
First I designed the graphic I wanted on top of the boxes using Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign!
STEP 2: Trace graphic onto box
Next I printed out each of the graphics, placed that sheet of paper on top of tracing paper centered over the ornament box. I taped them down for security so it wouldn’t move around. Then, using a tracing tool, I traced the graphic outline onto the top of the box.
Which resulted in the pattern being on the box, like so! Those are the tracing tools I picked up at Michael’s. This step took a decently long time because you have to push down onto the cardboard really hard for it to show up – and there were a lot of details in the designs.
STEP 3: Add gold detail (failed gold leaf attempt)
Next I attempted to add gold leaf to make their names look extra shiny and amazing. That was a MASSIVE fail. I followed the directions exactly, but it didn’t work even a little bit.
So basically I had to scrap this entire box. I ended up covering it with ribbon and keeping it for myself. Back to the Container Store for another box! Hah
STEPS 4 & 5: Go over traced pattern with ink pen and gold pen then add ribbon design
In addition to the gold leaf, I bought colored paint for the design… but that didn’t really show up on the cardboard either. Ultimately I kept it simple. I used a thick black ink pen for most of the design, and added gold pen ink detailing on the ribbon design. It ended up working since so much color came in with the ribbons.
I tried doing different ribbon patterns for all of them, but I really liked the basic plaid pattern so I did that on a few.
This took some playing around with. You can see I layered the ribbons to create a more unique, textural design. I’d first lay the ribbons out on the box cover and settle on a design before I glued anything down with my tacky glue.
STEP 6: Fill ornament cubes with crinkle paper
I ordered red and white crinkle paper off Amazon and filled each cube with some, creating a checkered pattern.
You can also make notecards for each year’s space so they all coordinate. I was going to laminate these but ultimately ran out of time.
THE FINISHED PRODUCT!
Add the first ornament in the first square!
I bought each kid a different ornament depending on their age, interest, and anything that happened throughout the year that I knew to be significant. ie my 4-year-old nephew and Cubs fan got a wooden [unbreakable] “W” flag I found on Etsy, and I wrote on the back using a Sharpie, his name, the year, and Cubs Win World Series! I got my 4-year-old niece who loves all things Christmas and magical one of the light-up cloche’s from Pottery Barn. And I got the babies little knit ornaments that couldn’t break.
This year they’re already excited about getting a new one to add to their collection!