How to Create the Ultimate Lunch Box for Kids

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This ultimate lunch box has it all: on the outside is a picture frame and a personalized name panel. On the inside lid, there's even a message center with a chalkboard, notepad and mini storage bin. With a lunch box like this, kids may not necessarily ace all their tests – but they'll definitely ace lunch.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Things You'll Need

  • Metal lunch box
  • Decorative paper
  • 2 magnetic sheets
  • Candy/mint tin
  • Sticky notepad
  • Black contact paper
  • Glue stick
  • Craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive letters
  • Hobby knife
  • Ruler
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 1: Measure the Lunch Box

Metal lunch boxes typically have a groove along the edges, and the elements for this lunch box will stay within these grooves. Measure the space with a ruler. For the lunch box pictured, the dimensions were 7 1/2 inches by 5 3/4 inches.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 2: Magnetic Frame: Cut the Paper and Magnetic Sheet

To make a magnetic frame that will adhere to the side of the metal lunch box, we will use magnetic sheets that can be found at craft stores. Magnetic sheets are 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches, with one white side that you can draw on and one black side that's magnetic. Cut a decorative piece of paper (I used scrapbook paper) to about the same size as the magnetic sheet and glue the two pieces together with a glue stick.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Using a hobby knife and ruler, trim the paper-covered magnetic sheet to the dimensions you measured earlier.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 3: Magnetic Frame: Cut the Opening

Turn the magnetic sheet over so the black side is on top and draw a smaller rectangle in the center. This will be the opening for the picture frame. You can make it any size. I decided on a 3 1/2-inch by 5-inch opening to accommodate a standard 4-inch by 6-inch picture. Notice I drew on the black side because no one will see that side.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Use the hobby knife and ruler to cut out the opening for the frame.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 4: Magnetic Frame: Position It on the Lunch Box

Place the magnetic frame, paper side up, on the lunch box. It should fit nicely within the grooves. To insert a photo in the frame, just lift up a section of the frame and slide the photo in.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 5: Personalized Panel: Cut the Paper and Magnetic Sheet

On the other side of the lunch box, we'll create a panel that displays your child's name. Choose a paper that coordinates with the one you used for the frame. As we did for the magnetic frame, glue the paper onto a magnetic sheet and trim it to size. Of course, this panel does not have to be on a magnetic sheet. You can also glue the paper directly on the lunch box. However, I like how the magnetic sheet makes it removable, so you can constantly change out the design.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Next, cut a thin strip of paper, repeating the same design as the one used for the frame, and glue across the middle.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 6: Personalized Panel: Position the Letters

To personalize the lunch box with a name, use adhesive letters, which are available in the scrapbooking aisle and come in different fonts and sizes. The trick to centering the letters is to line them up on a ruler first, position the name where you want and then press down on the letters so they stick to the paper.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 7: Chalkboard: Cut the Contact Paper

The message center on the inside of the lid starts with a chalkboard surface. Although stores now sell adhesive chalkboard stickers, they can be expensive. A more affordable option is black contact paper. It works just as well. Using a hobby knife and ruler, trim a piece of contact paper to the same size as the magnetic panels on the outside.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 8: Chalkboard: Position the Contact Paper

Peel the backing from the contact paper on one edge. Line up this exposed edge of contact paper to the edge of the lunch box and use your fingers to remove any air bubbles. Slowly peel the remainder of the backing, and as you proceed, continuing flattening the paper with your fingers so there are no air bubbles.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 9: Mini Storage Cubby: Cover the Lid With Paper

A candy or mint tin makes an ideal storage cubby to hide secret notes, small school supplies or even bandages. Cut a piece of paper that is the same size as the tin and round off the corners, if you wish. Then glue it to the lid of the tin with a glue stick.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 10: Mini Storage Cubby: Glue on the Magnet

Cut a piece of the magnetic sheet so it's smaller than the candy tin. Glue the magnet to the bottom of the tin. Be sure the black, magnetic side is facing out.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 11: Note Pad: Glue the Magnet on Back

A notepad is always handy to have at school. Cut another piece of the magnetic sheet so it's smaller than a square notepad and glue it to the back of the pad. Again, make sure that the black, magnetic side is facing out.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 12: Position the Cubby and Notepad on the Chalkboard

The cubby and notepad are modular elements, and thanks to the magnets on the back, they can be moved around or removed. Experiment with where you'd like them to go. Just be sure to leave some room on the chalkboard for a message.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

With a lunch box this fun and functional, every lunch is a power lunch!

(Image: Jonathan Fong)

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