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A Handmade Christmas: Gluing Craft Box

By Lucky from Making My Own Luck

My 3-year-old son is a gluing fool.  I decided to make him a Christmas gift that would embrace this (and keep him busy through the long winter to come).

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own Gluing Craft Box:

1. A shoe box
2. Material to cover the box (I used felt I had on hand and this printable.)
3. Painter’s tape
4. Scissors
5. Glue Gun
6. Washable school glue
7. Foam sheets
8. Snack size bags
9. Odds and ends for gluing
10. A piece of ribbon for decoration


::Use the felt and a glue gun to cover the box. Use the four sides and the cover as a template, and cut out five pieces of felt. Glue each piece to the proper side. If desired, print this on a half sheet of paper, and glue it to the top of the shoe box.

::Use the painters tape to tape over the seams on the sides of the box and top of the box.

::Collect odds and ends around the house to fill up 10 snack sized bags. Be creative. You can use left-over bits of pasta or beans from your pantry, left over bits and pieces of fabric and string from craft projects, or anything else you can find. I used:

o Two types of pasta
o Two types of stickers
o Dried pinto beans and dried white beans
o Seashells and rocks
o Googly eyes
o Plastic dinosaurs and lizards from various prizes and goody bags that my son comes home with
o String, and rick rack cut into short pieces with buttons

::Place the foam sheets at the bottom the box (I got a package of 20 sheets at the dollar store). These will serve as the bases for my son’s gluing projects. You could also cut out pieces of card stock or card board.

::Add the snack bags full of odds and ends to the box.

::Close the box and use a piece of ribbon to tie the bottle of washable glue to the box.

Lucky is the mother of two young kids and a carb-intolerant kitty. Read about her adventures of balancing kids, work and life with making her own bread at Making My Own Luck.

Do you have a great idea for a handmade Christmas gift? We’d love to have you submit your tutorial for possible publication for our Handmade Christmas series.

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  • CandyFoote says:

    I love this idea! I think I’ll do something like this for my grandchildren.

  • Mrs. R. says:

    We’re gonna do this at our house, too! Thank you so much. 🙂

  • Ac says:

    Looks so fun!

  • Lisa-PanaMOM says:


  • Carrie says:

    So sweet! I need to remember that a lot of their annoying little habits — like using up all my Scotch tape — could be solved for less than the price of most manufactured toys, just by getting them their own supplies.

  • Stephanie says:

    I so love this idea. My kids always want to glue stuff but I never have it in one place. This is perfect. Thanks!!!

  • Sidetracked Sarah says:

    That’s a great idea. I may have to use that this Christmas season! Thank you!!

  • Crystal @ Coupon Out of Debt says:

    I love these ideas. I am huge on arts and craft with my son. Great bonding time.

  • Terri says:

    I love it! What a clever idea!

  • Melissa says:

    Brilliant! My kids love to glue and tape and marker too…their own supplies make this less painful for me! But I would need to include a large tarp to contain the mess too.

  • WICK says:

    Hurray for glue!!!! 🙂 Wives could probably make something similar for their husbands for Christmas – including Gorilla Glue and broken items from around the home instead….hehe. We love playing with it.

  • Bargain GAB says:

    This is absolutely ingenious! I’m already brainstorming ideas to make art boxes for my kids for Christmas, as 90% of their day is spent coloring, cutting, etc… I am adding this to their gifts, thank you so much for a frugal and fun idea!

  • Amy says:

    Wow thank you for this! My son is almost 3 and we haven’t really experimented with gluing yet, but I’ve wanted to. This will be perfect. We are in a tough position right now and this will give him something to unwrap at Christmas as well. We had already planned on a frugal Christmas and some handmade gifts as well as a few other inexpensive things…but long story short, dh’s hours at work got cut when he started school, and our rent went up at our apartments, and we just couldn’t make the bills anymore. We are staying with my mom right now, until we save enough money to pay off some debt, and get another place to live, but I was really discouraged about Christmas. I didn’t know how we were gonna shop for anyone, let alone our son, who is most important. We decided to do photo tiles for all our family (which we were going to do anyway) and for ds we are gonna do some things like this…dollar store or handmade gifts…so he has something to unwrap. I have several of the plastic shoebox tubs, so I think I’ll use one of those and make up a cute label on the computer (so the box can be reused later of course 🙂 ), and do the same thing! I am excited about this now! Thanks!

    • Emilie says:

      Christmas is nto really about what you get but I too want my children to have things that they will enjoy to open on Christmas morning.

      Another idea is an eye-spy tube. You fill a two liter bottle with rice, beans or seeds as well as small items: paper clip, toys, candies, marble, etc. Seal it and then make picture list of the items that are in the bottle and then they look for them.

      Another idea that is in expensive is make a magnetic board by spray painting a cookie sheet and then make magnets out of anything you have. You can buy a pack of business card sized magnets for not a lot of money in the office supply section at Walmart. You can do letters, animals, colors, etc too so it is a learning toy.

      Home made playdough in a bunch of different colors would be easy and inexpensive as well. Look for cookie cutters at a thrift store and make a set in one of your shoeboxes.

      My kids always loved to play in the tub and I filled a bucket with all kinds of containers (measuring cups, gladware, ladles, etc) and it stays by the bathtub.

      Just a couple of ideas! Have a wonderful Christmas!

      • Amy B says:

        Awesome idea to make your own eye-spy tube! I can’t believe they are $20 in the stores, but I never thought about making my own!

        • Amy says:

          Wow, what great ideas!!!! Gosh, you’ve inspired me!!! I love the spray painted cookie sheet. I’ve seen that on , but the idea was in the form of a message board. I never thought to make it a play area for ds! We bought him a huge set of magnetic letters and numbers at Target awhile back for $1 but he hardly ever gets to play them because he sticks them under the fridge. This would be perfect! I can get a cookie sheet at Dollar Tree and I have spray paint, and the toy magnets already! Thanks!

          Also the eye-spy bottle is a neat idea too! Thanks I think I’ll try that!!! Oh and also love the bath toys! We have a basket from Dollar Tree by the tub, and he has all the sand toys, water guns, etc…that he has been given over the past 2 years 🙂

          The playdough is such a great idea! He has a ton already, so I probably won’t do that this year, but in a year or two when his supply is dwindling, I’d love to try making it homemade!!! And we have a TON of cookie cutters too! Yay!

          • Emily says:

            Another inexpensive idea is a cheap plastic mixing bowl and mixing spoon and/or measuring cups. We got some at the Target dollar spot a while back (probably also easy to find at a dollar store or secondhand store) and my almost-3-year-old has played with it almost every day for the past year, mixing up “food” (toys, puzzle pieces, cookie cutters, magnets) for us, drumming on it, using it as a goal for his little soccer/golf ball, or sometimes using it as a hat. 🙂 I hadn’t thought of using his measuring cups as bath toys, but that’s a great dual use!

          • Amy says:

            That is a cute idea! I know our Dollar Tree has a ton of stuff like that. In fact, when I got married, my mom put together a gift basket from the Dollar Tree for us. She took a laundry basket, and filled it with dish scrubbers, dish soap, spatulas, mixing bowls, measuring cups, toilet brush, all kinds of home goodies! And decorated it with ribbon! One of my fave gifts!

  • Pamela says:

    My grandmother used to send us our very own rolls of scotch tape for Christmas. It is truly the best gift that I remember her ever mailing to us!

    I make individualized craft supply boxes for my children for Christmas. I always include several rolls of scotch tape, masking tape, a few reams of copy paper, and the big hit for the past few years has been rolls of duct tape.

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