How we made that thing from the internet - A Tutorial.
Updated: Feb 18
By Laura Bissessar
When my husband and I got married, we kept it low-key - a cutthroat guest list, an obnoxiously early ceremony, and lots of handcrafted decorations. Good thing we're both pretty handy.
Above is a photo of the card box that we made for our wedding. I saw an idea of it one day while perusing through a million wedding sites and thought, we can make that.
I should probably say that my husband is a professional carpenter, and he’s awesome. So awesome that I picked up on the skill too, but I was still more Padawan than Jedi master.
But in keeping with our low-key (read: cheap) theme, we didn’t want to make it if we had to spend any money on it. We weren’t going to buy new wood or stain or anything that wasn’t already in our woodshop; otherwise we might as well buy one on Etsy. So, we checked to see what scraps were left over from old projects, created a rough plan, and then we set out to make our card box.
It turned out that building the card box was the amalgamation of our relationship. It wasn’t the first piece that we built together, but every second of our several years had led up to us working together and creating our own template for our personal projects and for our marriage.
And we got a nice keepsake piece of art out of it.
The point to all of this is to guide you beautiful readers into how to take something you’ve seen on the internet and create it yourself. To do that, we’ve recreated our wedding card box.
Actually, in the same spirit, we recreated the box with leftover supplies at the shop, and ended up with something completely different but just as gorgeous.
Here was our process…
(If you’re not feeling inspired, scroll to the end to get a detailed description of how we made the new card box.)
I started with a rough sketch. We knew that we wanted the box to fit 5x7'' cards, so the inside of the box had to have enough room "to move around".
So, know what you want your project to hold, and base your overall dimensions on that.
Now you can gauge how much material you're going to need. Add up all of your dimensions and start scrapping! Just know, although our scrap materials were different length, they were all the same thickness, which was important to our overall build, thus emphasizing the importance of creating a plan first.
In addition to choosing our materials, we decided that we would put together our pieces using a combination of wood glue and staples. The bottom piece need to be removable, so that part would be attached with screws.
We had the supplies, so we're gonna use them.
Now that we've gathered our building materials, it was time to cut them to size. If you don't have the tools, buy the sizes you need, pre-cut. We have the luxury of this fancy-ass pro table saw.
There's not much to this part. We needed 2 sides to be wider than the individual pieces that were cut, so they were glued, and then clamped together so that they didn't budge during the drying process.
And so we wait...
...And wait. I have no pictures of the lunch we ate, but you can trust the noodle soup I had was delicious. We also finished another project that had been sitting in the shop since New Years...
We did that colored pencil thing.
This is where we made things easy on ourselves. The box is supposed to look rustic, so instead of finding clever ways to neatly attach the pieces together, we stapled them all on the outside to make it part of the look. And after waiting for glue to dry, things got fun again.
Don't be confused. Instructions are available at the end!
1. Normally, you shouldn't skip steps with your sanding, but we're not looking for furniture grade here, only rustic - a little rough texture is ideal (here we used 80grit and then 120grit with a palm sander)
2. If you don't have many tools, make sure you have a palm sander. They're affordable and worth the time you will save trying to do this manually.
The box is assembled and now its time to finish. It's really important to do a trial run of your finish materials. Grab a scrap piece of wood, and test out what you think you might like.
"When we made the first box, I initially wanted to stain it. Why my husband didn't stop me, I will never know. But luckily we were only testing on a scrap piece, and I was able to veto it immediately."
In addition to the rustic look, we wanted the box to be beachy and even a bit modern as well.
And then stained it. Trust me, this turns out pretty well.
And then we sealed it.
I mean "Final Touches"! I got carried away with the gerunds. Anyway, the card box is finished! However, it's pretty much just a mystery box without a label on it, and after all that work, a Post-It is not gonna cut it.
Here, I hand painted the word "Cards" on along with some dry brushing, so people should get the point at their wedding or baby shower or what have you. No promises though.
Now, I'm pretty good at hand lettering, so this is something that fit my strengths and I wasn't forcing a skill. I used water-based paint from a craft store and some cheap brushes that yes, this supernerd already had in her craft basket. But you can use a stencil, print out a nice label, draw on it with marker, who cares? As long as it turns out in a way that makes you happy!
The Conclusion (plus some fancy pants shots)
I'm not sure if it was a good or bad thing that this box turned out better than our original. To regret or not to regret? That is the whole point. Don't compare what you made to what someone else made. You don't really know what tools or what skill levels or what splashy set ups they have. It can all seem so easy on paper or even on video, but we WANT it to look that way!
"Just have a mindful plan, take your time, and do your best. And if you like what you made, then you've succeed."
Like the box? Here's how we made it.
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All photos and content are original by Laura Bissessar.
Please do not use without my written consent. Thank you!