Celebrate Your Grad’s Achievements with a Distressed Wood Memory Box

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Graduation Gift Box

My oldest child is graduating this year, and I can’t believe it! Where does the time go? We are getting ready for her graduation open house and going through old pictures and school papers. There are so many precious memories, and we had lots of laughs looking at everything. So, we decided to fill a segmented shadow box with photos and small mementos from her school years.

I started with a plain wooden box, with small compartments, that I found at a craft store. It has a hinged lid with a piece of glass in it. The lid has a latch to hold the box shut.

Painted wooden box

I painted the outside of the box and the tops of the compartment dividers with two layers of a chalky finish paint. The first layer was a light brown color. Once the top layer dried, I added a white layer and let it dry. Then, I sanded the box and edges to give it a worn look.

School years box of pictures and trinkets

Next came the fun part — filling the box. We added pictures from every school year. Some were her annual school pictures and others were from various events in her life. I printed the pictures and glued most of them to the inside bottom of the box. For two of the pictures, I used a piece of cardboard to prop them in front of the items in the compartment. We also found small trinkets to add to the box that represented events or things that she liked.

Open shadow box for grads

I used glue dots to attach the trinkets to the box. They will stay in place but can also be removed if my daughter ever wants to take anything out or rearrange things. The memory box can stand on a dresser, or you can put a small picture hanger on the back of it so that it can be hung on a wall.

Photo Credits: Tonia Larson

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