School starts tomorrow at the Garibaldi house! Sad to be saying goodbye to summer (I’ll have more on that later this week!)…but also excited for the promise of a new school year.
For us, the start of school means a new opportunity to be a blessing to a special teacher. Having been a teacher myself, I know how much it means to get the school year off on the right foot with each family. I know how the smallest gesture of appreciation can bring the greatest encouragement!
So, as I mentioned last week in my “Sneak Peek” HERE, we’ve begun a tradition of ending the summer with some fun days of crafting. Making small, inexpensive gifts for the teachers is FUN, helps us all transition into the mode of school, and models for the kids an important level of respect and service to their new teachers.
This year, we made PRAYER BOXES!
Prayer boxes are typically small containers that can be personalized with the names of people or situations that need prayer. To help motivate and direct your prayers, you simply pull a slip of paper out of the prayer box and pray over that person or need. Our prayer boxes were super easy, super fun, and super cheap (ahem! inexpensive) to make! Here is the step-by-step:
1. First, the materials: small brown craft boxes (got mine for $2.99 at Michael’s minus 40% off with a coupon!), Mod Podge glue, foam brush, cute scrapbooking paper, and some coordinating washi tape. I would also recommend you use wax paper on your work surface (the glue won’t stick to it and makes for easy clean-up) and have some wet wipes nearby to catch drips or wipe excess glue.
2. Prepare your paper. Since we were making these for teachers, the kids and I found some adorable, vintage school paper with alphabets and primer reader illustrations.
We chose to do a little tear-art (one of my favorite techniques – especially with young kids who have a hard time cutting smooth lines around objects). We carefully tore around each of the letters and made a pile of those so we could pick and choose as we layered.
Measure each side of your craft box and cut scrapbooking paper to fit all 4 sides and the top of the lid. We chose to leave the bottom of the box plain – which made a nice place for the kids to sign and date the box. It also made it easier to hold and allow the box to dry without having used glue on every side.
4. Get painting! Using the foam brush, soak both the back side of the paper and one side of the box with mod podge. I love using mod podge! If you haven’t used it before, BEWARE! It is a little addictive! Mod Podge is very forgiving, which is one of the reasons I love to work with it. You can slather it on, your project looks like a mess, but in a matter of minutes, the glue dries clear and your project is sealed and looks so professional!
Place your paper where you want it. The mod podge will be slippery which allows you to reposition it until you get it right into place. Once the paper is in place, generously paint more mod podge on top of the paper. Use your finger and the brush to smooth and press as you go. You want to make sure you don’t leave any air pockets under the paper and that every edge is well-sealed with the glue.
We went ahead and did all 4 sides of the boxes and the lids at once and then let them dry a little before doing the second layer with the ABC paper. However, one of the nice things about mod podge is that you can easily do several layers at once, as long as you soak each layer with glue, top and bottom. What gives the glue such a nice seal is that it soaks into the paper. This also makes the paper very flexible and able to wrap around curves. We hadn’t quite decided how we wanted to so the second layer, so we figured it out while they dried.
We glued the second layer just like we had done the first, with the added touch of folding the torn pieces of paper around the corners. Isn’t cool how that works! I tell, you, MAGIC! My 8-year-old pretty much did this layer all by himself. I just went over it when he was done to check that all the edges were sealed, and he had done a great job! To help my 5-year-old be successful, I let her glue the backside of the piece and lay it in place where she wanted it. I could adjust it a bit, if necessary, and then brushed the glue over the top to seal it.
5. Personalize it! The majority of the project is now complete, with just a few final details.
I typed up a title for the box to personalize it with each teacher’s name and cut those out. Since the rest of the box has the “tear-art” look, we decided to help the title stand out with clean lines. A little more mod podge fun on the lid…
We added one more letter on the lid to match the teacher’s last name.
To finish the edges of the lid, we used a sweet black and white polka dot washi tape (you know I’m partial to polka dots…gotta have at least a touch of dots! 🙂 ) The 15 mm. washi tape fit perfectly!
The final touch to personalize the boxes is to type up and print a list of student names. I chopped them up super quickly on my paper cutter and put one set of student names in each box.
6. Almost there! One last, important step: Package! The kids and I kept it simple – just a piece of black and white baker’s twine.
How sweet is that?? Seriously! So fun and so simple. It didn’t take much to make it look professional, but yet it still has that very sweet, handmade look that the teachers will love! By the way, I wasn’t kidding when I said inexpensive. I spent about $20 in supplies, some of which I can reuse like the foam brushes, the mod podge (only used about 1/3 the jar), and washi tape (barely made a dent in the roll!). We made 3 boxes, so considering the re-usable stuff, in my estimation, that puts the cost at right around $5/box!
The best part? Hopefully the prayer box is a good guarantee that my kids’ will be the recipients of some faithful prayers! 🙂 Even better – pair it with a personalized set of Throne of Grace’s “How to Pray for Your Students”!
Even if your children don’t attend school outside the home, or if they are in a public school setting with non-Christian teachers, there are certainly many others in your life who would love a handmade prayer box. Want a special way to bless a new Sunday School teacher or coach? Grandparents Day is coming up…Perhaps you know a grandparent who would love a prayer box filled with the names of his or her kids and grandkids!
Who would you like to bless with a DIY Prayer Box? Any experienced mod podgers out there? I’m always looking for fresh and fun ways to use my mod podge magic! I’d love to hear YOUR ideas!