Decoupage boxes, as seen on the American Baby TV Show.

By the editors of American Baby magazine

Make a beautiful, personalized decoupage keepsake box covered with images, words, buttons, ribbons, or other found items. Just click the following links to read about this inexpensive and easy-to-make project. It makes a great gift for grandparents!

What you'll need to make a personalized box

  • Unfinished wooden box (hatbox or any other available box)
  • Acrylic paint (your choice of colors) and paint brush or sponge brush
  • White fabric muslin or sportscloth
  • Scissors and pinking shears
  • Color copies of photos and keepsake objects (bonnet, hospital tags, certificates, etc.)
  • "Plaid Picture This" transfer medium for white fabric (available at craft stores)
  • Sponge brush, wax paper, and paper towels
  • Water, bowl, and sponge
  • "Plaid Mod Podge" decoupage medium (matte or gloss finish) and brush
  • "Crafter's Pick The Ultimate" glue (or any water-based, clear-drying glue that adheres to wood and fabric)
  • Various ribbons, fabric swatches, trims, cording, buttons, and notions
  • Magazine clippings or wrapping paper
  • Stencils, rubber stamps, and ink pad
  • Metallic or permanent pens
  • Tassel
  • Small picture frame with a baby photo


1. Select an unfinished wooden box or hatbox. Paint the box inside and out with acrylic paint and let it dry.

2. Make color copies of photos and keepsakes (fit as many as you can on one copy to save paper).

3. Cut out the images, giving some straight edges and others jagged edges (using pinking shears), or wavy edges.

4. On a piece of wax paper and using a sponge brush, coat the face side of one of the color-copy images with a thick coat (about the thickness of a dime) of "Plaid Picture This" transfer medium.

5. Place the image facedown onto a piece of white fabric. Cover it with a paper towel and roll over it with a rolling pin, soup can, or paint bottle. Press down around all the edges and wipe up any excess transfer medium. Set it aside. Repeat the above on remaining images you want to transfer to fabric and let dry for 24 to 48 hours.

6. Using a bowl of water and a sponge, saturate the paper backing of the paper image and let it set for two minutes. Wet the paper backing again and scrub in a circular motion with the sponge. The paper fibers will pill up and peel off the fabric, leaving the photo image on the fabric. Note that the image is reversed once transferred. If you're using letters or words, make a reverse copy first.

7. Set aside for 30 minutes and then repeat the circular scrubbing. This makes the image clearer and removes any remaining paper fibers. Once the image is dry, you may need to repeat this a third time.

8. Let the transfer dry completely, and cut it out of the fabric.

9. Now it's time to decorate the box! But before you glue anything, experiment with different arrangements of images you transferred to fabric, color copies, and fabric swatches.

10. Next, paint any stencils that you want to lie under any transfers or copies, and adhere your fabric swatches to the box.

11. Then, coat the back of each color-copy image with decoupage medium, place them carefully on the box, and liberally coat the entire tops and edges of the images with another layer of decoupage medium. Smooth out wrinkles or bubbles, and let it dry.

12. Now you can add some three-dimensional items. Glue down any buttons, trims, cording, or beads around the box and hold them until they dry.

13. Experiment with more rubber stamping using your stamps and ink pad.

14. Now, using a sharp object, pierce a hole in the top of the box to insert and attach a ribbon. Pull the ribbon strings through and glue them to inside of box

15. Glue the frame with baby photo into the underside of the top lid of the box.

16. On the front lid panel of the box, pierce a hole to insert the tassel cording and glue it to the inside of the box.

17. Use a metallic or permanent pen to personalize and date the bottom or sides of the box.

18. Coat the entire box and transfers with decoupage medium one final time, and let dry.

19. You're done! Now you can fill it with keepsakes and treasure it for years!

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

American Baby


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