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DIY personalized shipping box


There was one project I didn’t get a chance to do before the big sunroom reveal.

Does this shelf look a little bare to you?

Well, it did to me.

I was scrambling to find some sort of storage box to fill the left side (where the seashell balls are) in the days before the sunroom completion—alas, it never happened.

So I decided to make my own.

After measuring the space, I went to HD to get some wood cut.

Before I go too far… let me preface this by acknowledging that there are better (read: more professional) ways to do this. Any legit woodworker would probably laugh at my method, but it was all I could do with my limited tools.

Anyway, I had my pieces cut to size. This in itself was not very simple because the measurements need to be exact, as they fit together like a puzzle. It would be simpler if 1×6 and 1×8 boards were actually 1×6 by 1×8… but unfortunately this isn’t the case. You have to adjust for the width of the wood, which for the 6″ wide pieces ended up being 5.5625″. Could they have chosen a more random number? So I had to tell the poor HD cutting operator to try and cut to exactly that number. He did his best, but things weren’t perfect.

After I sanded back the rough cut edges, I applied some stain to all sides (Minwax’s Ebony)

Once dry, I dry test fit everyting together:

It worked……… mostly. There were some gaps where the cuts weren’t exact, but I’ll get to that later.

Next I grabbed my nail gun and began to connect the peices. (There were actually staples loaded so I just used those, they worked the same). I used wood glue for reinforcement.

After connecting four or the sides, I realized one board was a bit off, so I had to remove it and start over…

Those things were a blast to pry out and sand down. [/sarcasm]

Finally, after my four sides were secure and level at the bottom, I flipped it over and applied some wood glue for the base.

Once the base was secure, I flipped it back over and tried to do something about all the uneven edges. Since I don’ t have the right tools (a planer or dremel would have come in handy here), I grabbed my electric sander with some 60 grit and slowly whittled away at the wood.

It actually worked better than I had thought. I got everything as even as I could…

And then it was time for the lid.

I picked up a couple decorative hinges to use for around $3.50/ea:

After lining up the lid and screwing these babies in, we had a fully operating box:

The final step was going back and touching up the areas that had been sanded down with stain. Once I was happy with the look, the box was ready for its shipping crate transformation.

And now comes the fun part.

I knew I wanted something rustic/shabby looking, and I thought an old shipping crate would fit the bill. But how do I get the image onto the wood?

I’m always looking for new/easy ways to do this. A few months ago I tried the wet paper trick on a kitchen sign, but this time I found something new.

I stumbled across this wood box on Pinterest:

I followed the link to a tutorial using freezer paper.

So I gave it a try…

I glued a sheet of 13×19 paper to the backside of freeze
r paper using spray adhesive and trimmed the freezer paper to size.

I created my shipping label in Illustrator and printed it as a mirror image on the waxy side:

The ink was wet and splotchy (I don’t think wax paper is made for printers), so I had to be very careful when I went to line up and place the paper on the box.

I have no pictures of this step because both of my hands were occupied, but I just used a spoon to firmly and thoroughly burnish the image onto the (dampened) wood.

It worked!

There it is, our personalized shipping box. Quick back story… Gold Rock Beach is our favorite beach in the world on Grand Bahama Island. It’s straight out of a movie. We went there on our honeymoon, and 052309 is our anniversary (3 years coming up in 8 days!)

The ink was more saturated than expected, so if I had to do this again, I would have used thinner fonts and lighter colors.

After letting the image dry for a day, I came back yesterday to sand everything down so the ink looked more faded. I also took my hammer to the box to rough it up and give it some character.

And here it is in its new home…

Cost Breakdown:

Wood: $19 (I used Poplar wood because I could purchase it by the foot, unlike the cheaper stuff where you had to buy a whole piece, but it was still more expensive than I thought)
Hinges: $7
Freezer paper: $4
Total: $30

What do you think? Does this inspire you to make your own? If not the box making part, I’m sure you can find some lonely piece of wood to try the wax paper trick.

Check this thing out….

Brad’s sister sent us this for his birthday. It’s a vintage mailbox lock from the University of Southern Mississippi, where Brad graduated years ago. The mailbox #427 is Brad’s birth date. Pretty cool, huh? I’ll have to find a way to use it somehow.

Before I sign off, I have to share this.

We’ve been in a massive drought (worst on record for over 100 years), and our backyard lake was pretty much reduced to a puddle. I don’t have any before shots (unfortunately), but here’s the closest  I could find:

This was a few months ago when the deck was being built… so imagine the level like 3 feet below this. There were birds walking in the middle of the lake, people.

Anyway, yesterday around 4:30pm it started to rain.

At 5:30 we walked outside and thought we had been transported to another land.

I was ready to start building an ark. Everything was flooded.

I have never seen so much rain in my life! And it continued to rain throughout the night. Entire drought solved in one hour.

Florida, you are crazy.

Be back next week with adventures in landscaping!


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19 thoughts on “DIY personalized shipping box

  1. I love that box! Very neat, especially incorporating the personal details.
    I live in Jax also and it POURED last night. We got 4 inches at our house. That's what I love about Florida summers…..the afternoon rain storms. Our friends moved out to Cali and miss them.

  2. That box is fab and I definitely want to try and make my own. Unfortunately, I have about 100 unfinished projects here, but I'd like to bump this up in priority. Great idea to associate the shipping label to a life event. How do you find time to do all of these projects? A blog post on that would be greatly appreciated. Do you ever sleep or watch TV? : )

  3. Jenna Sue – I love the box, especially the graphics. And what a neat gift (vintage mailbox lock). Can't wait to see what you do with that!

  4. This one was relatively quick… I'd say no more than 3 hours max including taking the photos. But yes, I work from home and it's the slow season so fortunately (or unfortunately) I have my fair share of extra time 🙂

  5. That box is lovely! I think you did an excellent job with it! Yes, the Florida rain/weather is crazy. My parents still live in Jacksonville and I have heard all about how badly rain was needed, so yea!

  6. I love the box, how creative and meaningful! Being a recent transplant to Florida I am also amazed by the rain here. It is crazy!

  7. I love the graphics on the box. The deep colors are neat too, but it does look more rustic sanded down. Can't wait to try this one. So you spray stick the non wax side of the freezer paper to a sheet of regular paper? I think I got it, but I will try.

  8. Three hours isn't bad at all, but you put my projects to shame so it will probably take me longer! Sorry it's the slow season. Hopefully you are really enjoying the extra time. Love your blog!

  9. I, too, love the box and am thinking about recreating something similar. But I have a more pressing question — where did you get the lantern-style lights along the edge of your lakeshore? We have similar ones along our front walk but they are starting to rust and need replacement. I need something taller like that because of the foliage we have lining the walkway. Thanks!

  10. Wow, that was a lot of rain! We used to have a similar little deck over the marsh in our backyard when we lived in Wilmington, NC. We named it The Lido Deck.

  11. I just love the little gate hinges on that box. So creative!
    I've linked you up on my blog with a game to learn a little bit more about folks. If you'd like to play along, stop by.

  12. Any idea how your sister in law got the vintage mail box for Southern Miss? My mother went there years and years ago, and I know she'd love that as a keepsake as well. I'm imagining most are long gone by now, but never hurts to ask right 😉

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