By Noreen Doll.
We wanted to use some boxes under our coffee table to hold miscellaneous items, but the cardboard boxes didn’t look very pretty.
So we decided to cover the boxes with paper and Mod Podge.
It isn’t hard to do, it just takes some time as you have to allow the Mod Podge drying time between coats.
The finished box feels like wood instead of cardboard.
Here’s how we did it.
Scrap Book Paper with a Wood Grain, enough to cover your boxes.
White Elmers Glue
Ruler or Yard Stick
Plastic Bag and Wax Paper to Protect Surfaces
Disposable Cup to Hold Mod Podge While in Use
Small Ziplock Bag to Keep Brush from Drying Out Between Coats of Mod Podge
2 or 3 Foam Brushes
Piece of aluminum foil to cover cup in between uses.
Open ziplock bag to place brush in while Mod Podge coat is drying.
1 damp paper towel to wipe sticky fingers while working.
1 dry paper towel to dry fingers or wipe up messes.
How to Make Easy Faux Wood Crates from Cardboard Boxes
1. Cut all the top flaps off the box.
2. Glue the box to make it sturdier and stay together well.
After the glue has dried, remove any tape from the areas you will be adding paper to.
3. Carefully measure and cut paper to fit each side of the box.
Mark the box sides as 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Number the paper on the back to match the number on the side it fits.
Not all sides of the box will be the same, and this will ensure the paper gets on the side of the box you cut it to fit.
4. Prepare everything you will need to use while Mod Podging, as once you start you need to work quickly to finish with the brush before the Mod Podge becomes tacky.
5. Work quickly with the Mod Podge. Apply a liberal coat of Mod Podge all over side 1 of the box. Not too thick, but enough so it doesn’t dry out before you can adhere the paper.
Align side 1 paper on the Mod Podge, making sure the top edge and 1 side edge of the paper are even with the box top and side edge.
Smooth the paper on the cardboard rubbing firmly from the center to the edges.
Support the under side of the cardboard with your free hand while you work.
Run your finger around the edges to be sure the paper is completely adhered to the box.
6. If any of the paper extends beyond the edges of the box, use scissors to trim the excess paper off.
7. Apply a coat of Mod Podge over the paper, making sure the edges are completely covered and sealed.
Work quickly but thoroughly to finish before the Mod Podge becomes tacky.
8. Use the brush lightly to make long strokes across the box, either horizontally or vertically to finish.
Allow the Mod Podge to dry completely.
We use a hair dryer to speed drying, by moving it back and forth (don’t stop in one place) over the box.
You can then start the next side as soon as the previous side is dry to the touch.
Continue with sides 2, 3 and 4 until the sides of the box are completely covered with paper.
9. After the first coat has dried, apply a second coat of Mod Podge, this time ending with brush strokes going in the opposite direction as the previous application.
We applied 3 coats of Mod Podge to the boxes because they will get a lot of handling.
The final coat of Mod Podge should be going in the same direction as the wood grain to give it a more authentic look.
10. One box had a lid, so I adhered paper around the sides of the lid and then found a wallpaper print I like to attach to the top of the box.
And because I also love this map wallpaper, I adhered it to the inside of the box lid – though it wasn’t really necessary.
Use the same process to apply this paper as you do for the box.
11. Two of the boxes didn’t have lids. I could have made some lids for them, but to allow easier access to the contents, we just cut a piece of cardboard to size and lay it on top of the contents for privacy.
We used this paper to cover the other lid.
Be sure to wipe off scissors blades after cutting paper with Mod Podge on it, or set the scissors blade down in a cup of water to soak while you work.
The inside and bottom of the box don’t need to be covered with paper, but you can if you wish.
I used the same pieces of wax paper over and over, allowing any glue or Mod Podge on them to dry before reuse.
Gail @Purple Hues and Me says
What a great recycle/storage project! Looks beautiful! You are so creative and talented, Noreen!
Thanks, Gail. A paper crafter just can’t use a plain cardboard box, can she! lol
Marie@The Interior Frugalista says
These are fabulous Noreen!!!
Most likely took longer to type all that out and take photos than it did to cover boxes. Great post Noreen, no sense wasting perfectly good cardboard boxes if they can be made to look better in a room. Perfect place to keep “stuff” you need readily.
Usually before I go buy a container I’ll look around to see what I can rehab for the job. We live out a ways from where I could find something appropriate but in case of no money (my usual predicament) I’ll try to make do first, I like the challenge of being able to come up with something. (also show hubs not to waste money).
This was great post and loved your solution, used scrap book paper to a good end. Also strengthen boxes besides making them look lots nicer. Think you deserve another gold star. Happy Spring and week
Thank you, JaneEllen. I try to recycle whenever I can.
Very clever idea! I have some would contact paper I think would work great. Thanks!
Mary Ellen says
What a fun useful idea. Thank you for sharing your idea.
Stella Lee@ Purfylle says
I love your extra little tips for the lids and the dust / privacy liners. What a fabulous transformation.
Angela @ Simply Beautiful By Angela says
What a great idea, I love the look! 🙂
Kim @ The Cookie Puzzle says
What a fun idea! I love this. With scrap paper coming in so many colors and patterns, the options are endless! Pinning now! We would love your you to join us at Party in Your PJs, our weekly link party.
Gentle Joy says
It is nice to make things look nice, using free or inexpensive things… not only is it cheaper, there is also a sense of satisfaction in seeing and using the fruit of your labor. 🙂
I love this !! Im actually re doing an entire desk with brown craft paper and mod podge 🙂 Hoping to have it finished before the end of the week! I wish I was smart like you and used printed paper, and not a paint brush to paint the grain. It’s been a process! Love what you did to these boxes. Thanks so much for sharing!!
Sarah Mac says
What a great idea – they look fantastic!
Your idea sounds interesting! Please send me a link when you’re done so I can see it.
Brittanie @Simplistically Living says
These look great! When I first saw them I thought they were actual wood but upon looking at this tutorial learned they are the exact same sheets of scrapbook paper I use in my photography. Great idea and love how you reuse boxes! Visiting from the Home Matters linky party.
Amy @ StowandTellU says
These look like real crates! Very nice and I like how you added the extra inner piece with the wood look, also. Pinning
Rose who's busy being creative at FineCraftGuild.com says
Very creative. Looks totally different and so much better!!! You rock! ~ Rose
I love to see projects that recycle items. We end up with so many cardboard boxes from ordering stuff that I actually have to find a place to store them. From now on, I’ll just make some cute storage boxes. Thanks for the idea.
what a great idea! I think i will have to do some for my craft room lol
Jann Olson says
Isn’t Modge Podge great? I love using it and the boxes look fabulous! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
Nina Lewis says
This is such a clever idea!! I am impressed at how wonderful the boxes look. Great job.
Thanks so much for sharing on Grandma Ideas Sharing Time link party.
All the best,
Angelique Ouellette-Tower says
This fun post is being featured on my blog today as part of Tuesdays with a Twist blog hop.
What a great idea and really kind of simple!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday!! Hope to see you again tomorrow!! Love your stuff!! Pinned!
Simple Nature Decor says
Hey friend, just wanted to tell you that Fabulous Friday will be next Friday. I just moved into my new home and its been chaotic, so i had to postponed it, I love your easy faux crates and will be featuring them at my party next Friday
Simple Nature Decor says
Welcome to Fabulous Friday you are a feature this week
Thanks for the article. I use white boxes(12x15x10) for storing grocery items in the pantry. I pull them out constantly and they are weak to handle heavy weight. so I plan to reinforce them first using glue and cardboard pieces. I was looking to make it aesthetic and came across this article. I have never used MOD PODGE. I do not have any supplies you mentioned either. How much Mod Podge would I need to cover 3 such boxes. And what is the shelf life of that glue?
Can you use regular glue to adhere scrapbook paper to the box and then use Mod Podge for overcoats?
I would say you would need at least a couple of 16 ounce bottles of Mod Podge, but it would depend on how many coats of Mod Podge you use over the top of the paper. Yes you can use regular glue (do NOT dilute it) to adhere the paper to the box. But if you use the regular glue OVER the scrapbook paper, it will eventually yellow. I have items that I Mod Podged 10 years ago, and they still look good. If you use the regular Mod Podge, you don’t want to let your boxes get wet as it softens the Mod Podge. There are waterproof Mod Podge formulas, which I have not used. Good Luck with your project.