How Do You Decorate Hat Boxes?

A hat box this cute is worth learning how to make.

Photo: Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

Hat boxes, once exclusively used to keep a girl's hat collection clean and dust free, are now a trendy and retro way to store all of your most favorite things. There are stores devoted to selling only hat boxes, seemingly in every size, color and pattern imaginable. Clever crafty-types are saving money and customizing them to match their living spaces. Anyone can channel their creative juices and get into the hat box decorating frenzy, even you.

What You Need

To create a DIY hat box, you're obviously going to need the perfect box. Vintage versions are relatively easy to find at thrift stores and flea markets. There are also plenty of craft stores that sell new ones, too. The most popular sizes are round and octagonal. When picking out the paper you need to cover the box, wrapping paper is the way to go. You'll need big sheets of paper to cover the box and wrapping paper is inexpensive and comes in a bazillion different prints and colors.

Pretty Papers

The first thing that you need to do is cut out a sheet of paper that fits around your box. Use a tape measure to get your box's dimensions --- in other words, the height of the box and the circumference. Cut out a piece of wrapping paper with those measurements. It should end up looking like a long rectangle. You'll also need some paper that will cover the lid, so trace your box top onto the wrapping paper and cut it out.

Paint and Ribbon

Before you attach the paper to the box, it's a good idea to paint the rim of the lid and the bottom of the box. This will give the box a punch of color as well as a cool colorblock-looking design. Pick a paint that complements your paper. You can also use satin or grosgrain ribbon around the lid edge; you just need to buy one that is the same width. If you go the ribbon route, use craft glue to adhere it to the lid.

No Waste With Paste

After you've painted your box and it's dry, paint a thin layer of decoupage glue --- a product found in most craft stores --- all over the top of the lid and all around the box, basically the places where you want to put the paper. Carefully attach the paper to the lid and smooth it out with your hand. Repeat with the large sheet of paper on the outside of the box. Once the glue has dried, paint another coat of paste all over the papered areas for a nice professional, glossy finish.

The Collage Effect

Instead of using a single sheet of paper to decorate your box, you can also customize it with a neat collage of images. Just cut out pictures of things you like from magazines or print them out from the Internet. Paint decoupage paste all over your box and adhere each little cut-out picture on separately and then paint another coat of paste over it when you're done. This is a fantastic idea for a really personalized gift for a friend's birthday, Mother's Day or a baby shower.

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