Shoe boxes lend themselves to many great uses. They can be recycled to meet a wide variety of home storage needs. They're also good for school projects like dioramas and family activities like bug collecting. While they're great for a wide variety of projects, they're not always the most attractive to look at. Luckily, there are many ways to customize and decorate shoe boxes to help them match your decor or reflect your personality.
Decorate your shoe box to match your decor by covering it in bits of leftover wallpaper from the room you'll be using it in. The paste on the back of your wallpaper may not stand up to the flexible nature of thin cardboard, especially after repeated uses, so be sure to use your favorite craft glue to reinforce the hold.
Try a decoupage technique on your shoebox. Collect your favorite images from magazines and catalogs or use photographs to decorate your shoebox. Use a glue stick to apply them to the surface of your shoebox, then use a paintbrush to apply a thin coat of decoupage medium, such as ModPodge, over the entire surface of your shoe box. When the first layer dries, add a second, and repeat until you have six to eight layers and your images are completely sealed.
Paint your box. This is one of the more simple options for decorating a shoe box. Apply an even coating of spray paint to quickly give your box a color face lift and to hide any brand information. You can also use craft paints and stencils to paint decorative designs on top of your base coat.
Apply decorative craft elements to your box, like ribbons, feathers, buttons or cutouts. Use hot glue to attach the craft items to your box. These can be added at any stage and with any type of decorating, both as the primary decoration or as embellishments to other decorations.
Cover your box with stickers. Use large stickers like bumper stickers to cover large areas or to make a single statement, or use a large assortment of stickers to create a collage look. Use a few sporadically spaced stickers to match your decor.
Cover your shoe box with paper using craft glue, then use markers to draw on our box. Use stencils if you like, to create designs. You can also write your favorite quotes or poems on the box.
Cover your box in tissue paper to achieve a stained glass look. Use a thin glue to attach just the edges of the tissue paper to the box, arranging different colors into different patterns. When you’ve completed your paper arrangement, use a black marker, black puff paint or black ribbon to create the characteristic stained glass seams between the pieces of tissue paper.
Cover your box in items that represent your hobbies. Use the decoupage techniques described above to cover the shoe box in old sheet music, pages of poetry, cold comic book pages or sports cards.
A Jill-of-all-trades, Lillian Downey is a certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, certified clinical phlebotomist and a certified non-profit administrator. She's also written extensively on gardening and cooking. She also authors blogs on nail art blog and women's self esteem.