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Rubber Stamping Project by Carolyn Hasenfratz
Copyright © 2012

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  • Introduction
  • Tools and Materials
  • Prepare the Boxes
  • Add Memorabilia
  • Resources


Display a variety of memorabilia on your wall in found boxes or boxes manufactured specifically for decorating. You can even use an old drawer.

Tools and Materials

Open-fronted wooden boxes
Acrylic paint
Assortment of thin decorative papers
Metal ruler
Decorative paper-edging scissors (optional)
Yes Glue
Old credit cards
Rubber stamps
Rubber stamping ink
Utility knife
Self-healing cutting mat
Adhesive-backed cork sheets
Corrugated cardboard
Craft Glue (Elmer's, Tacky Glue, wood glue, etc.)
Small nails
Sawtooth hangers
Double-sided adhesive foam tape
Assorted archival cardstock and papers
12 x 12 UV-protective scrapbooking sheet protectors
Downloaded file "Scrapbooking Layout Ideas and Shape Templates"

Prepare the Boxes
  1. If your boxes need sanding, sand then wipe off the dust with a damp rag or large paintbrush.

  2. Shadow Boxes
  3. When you are finished decorating the boxes, the only part of them that will show is the front edge. If you don't like the color of the front edges, you can change the color now with acrylic paint. After the paint dries, you may want to sand the edges to let the wood color show through for a more rustic, aged look.

  4. Shadow Boxes
  5. Take a variety of papers that you like and tear them into pieces of various sizes. You can use scrapbooking papers, found papers from magazines, use some free printables (if you have an inkjet printer, get color copies made so the ink doesn't run) or print some using rubber stamps (use waterproof ink). A metal ruler makes a good straightedge to help you tear straight lines. You might decide that some pieces look better cut with a decorative paper-edging scissors such as I used for the postage stamp images.

  6. Shadow Boxes
  7. Glue the paper pieces with Yes Glue randomly to the inside and outside of the frame, working your way from the edges to the middle. Apply the glue with an old credit card and run a clean one over the top to glue each piece of paper down flat. You don't have to cover the surface where the memorabilia will go - that will be covered with cork later on.

  8. After the paper has been glued down, if you want a slightly distressed or aged look, mix up a thin wash of off-white acrylic paint with water and brush over sides and front edge of box. You can test on some scraps to make sure it's the right consistency to give the look you want.

  9. Enhance the sides of the box with rubbers stamps that fit the look of your chosen paper pieces. Make sure to use ink that stamps well on a non-porous surface such as StazOn. Let the ink dry.

  10. Now it's time to apply cork to the display area of the box. Cut a piece to size and test it to make sure if it fits. If you have the thick cork tiles that are used on walls, go ahead and glue or stick that in. If your cork is the thin kind that comes in a roll, cut a matching piece of corrugated cardboard and glue that in behind with craft glue so that when you stick nails or tacks in the cork it will be deep enough. Let glue dry.

  11. Nail a sawtooth hanger on the back.

Add Memorabilia
Here are various ways to add memorabilia to your boxes:
    Shadow Boxes
  • If the item has a hanging hole, you can hang it on a small nail. Add a jump ring if needed.

  • If you don't mind tape on the back of the item, use double-sided adhesive foam tape.

  • For items that are valuable or collectible or you don't want damaged with tape, here is a suggestion. In the example at the right, I have mounted the postcard to a piece of archival cardstock with homemade photo corners that are made from archval paper. You can get templates for three sized of photo corners from this PDF file - "Scrapbooking Layout Ideas and Shape Templates". I then wrapped the assembly in a piece that I cut from a sheet of UV-protective scrapbooking sheet protector and taped it securely from the back. Memorabilia is likely to fade without UV protecgtion. Double-sided foam adhesive tape was used to attach the now-protected postcard to the cork background.

  • Shadow Boxes
  • Both the motel soap and coaster at right are collectible, so I wrapped those in UV-protectant film before taping them down to the backing. You can construct custom made holders for unusually shaped items of archival papers before wrapping like I did with the coaster.

  • Shadow Boxes
  • Would you like to label the items in the shadow box? Tiny label stickers with a vintage look are available from dealers who sell scrapbooking supplies. You can also make your own by stamping out rubber stamps designed to look like tags and labels. Here are samples from the stamp set Memory Craft Helpers.

  • Once the shadow boxes are hung, they double as shelving for small three dimensional objects! For example you can fill small bottles with interesting small objects and include them in your display.


Rubber stamps used in this sample project:

Sources of vintage images to use as embellishments:

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Carolyn Hasenfratz, Author


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Carolyn Hasenfratz, Author