Monday, November 21, 2011

holiday gift crafting: night-light boxes

The kids are home for the week and a bit sickly. Low energy and colds made for moderate crankiness - for the three of us - followed by bursts of house-bound craziness. After dragging them to a teacher conference this morning, watching a movie, a bit of de-cluttering, and some general mess-making and puttering around the house, I got us rolling on the gifts we plan to give to our company this Christmas.

We like to make sure everyone who joins us for Christmas dinner or brunch receives at least one handmade gift from "us". It's a collaborative effort between the kids and me - and my husband when the project requires carpentry skills. Once we've decided upon a project or two I let them make as many of the design decisions as possible while I bite my tongue and mostly go with their choices.

This year we've opted for night-light boxes featuring a variety of papercut silhouettes, plus plenty of ribbon and miscellaneous adornment.

Our supply list looks something like this:
Cradled wood panels - each with hole cut out of back for tea light placement (my husband made ours using plywood and other wood scraps).
Tea lights
Light colored paper, light weight paper on which to adhere silhouette designs. We're using a delicate white hand-made, highly textured paper
Card stock in dark color for silhouettes
Paper cutting blade to cut out silhouettes
Translucent vellum paper to layer on top of other paper w/silhouette (a protective layer)
Print-outs of clip art silhouette images, or make your own
Tape (to hold down paper as you cut out silhouettes)
Double-sided tape (an easy, fast way to adhere ribbon and paper is you don't have the proper glue on hand.
Tissue paper, or other decorative paper (old maps work well), to cover wooden box
Modge Podge & paintbrush

Our boxes (wooden panels) are 6" square with 3/4" sides, thus 4.5" of open space to serve as the lighted viewing window.

I prefer velvets, velour, gross grain, lace and other textured ribbon options.

I've never done paper cuts before, but this basic blade seemed to work fairly well.

Picked up an 8-pack of tea lights and brought out my photo/scrap-booking blue and double-sided tape .

We were pleased with the result of our tester box so the girls each designed their own. They Modge Podge'd tissue paper over their boxes first. I tried to dissuade my youngest from the hot pink ribbon she fell in love with, as I had really wanted to experience a hot pink free project. My plea was ignored. So here's what we've got so far...

This is the test box. I covered this box with some old aqua and metallic bird cage paper I had on hand.

No problem changing out the tea light if needed. Packaging indicates we
should get 100 hours out of each light.

Illuminated on the dresser. This is the effect we were hoping for.

A centaur-ess for my 8-yr-old. Powerful and magical suits her well.

She used a couple shades of blue tissue paper to mostly cover her
box. And the vellum paper is pale blue.

I anticipated either a cat or horse theme for my youngest. It
really does look just like one of our kitties. While the extras on
this one may be a little much for me, when it comes to my girl
there ain't no such thing.

Magenta, pink & lavender velvety ribbon on top of her beloved
hot pink/magenta ribbon. Pale blue vellum paper on this one
as well.

Haven't yet tried theirs out in the dark, as I did some final glueing
after they went to bed. Construction of the remaining 7 or 8 boxes
may be a couple of weeks out. Expect an update.

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