Crafts: Keep all of your recipes together in style

Turn an ordinary recipe box into a creative work of art.
By Traci Smith, Associate Editor
June 2009

SUPPLIES: Gather your supplies before beginning a craft project to save time. Having everything at your fingertips also usually makes the work go smoother.
Nate Skow

Content Tools

Related Content

Crafting at Nana's Ranch

Nana finds all sorts of uses for the catnip she grows on her ranch.

From Brooder House To Chicken House

Cleaning up old buildings and saving what you can just makes a body feel good!

A Tale of Two Dishcloths

Donna Rae creates and tests two styles of handmade dishcloths.

One Day Bookshelf Project

Re-purpose old louver doors into a lovely bookshelf in just one day!

Even if you’re a beginner, making a recipe box for yourself or to give as a gift can be fun and easy. Here are some simple instructions.


Materials needed:

Wooden recipe box



Foam brushes

Acrylic paint


Paper cutter or scissors


Brown craft chalk


Mod Podge (or decoupage medium)


Black rub-on letters


Note: Choose cardstock according to your taste (or that of whomever will receive the recipe box). The cardstock needn’t be patterned; use a solid color if you prefer.

Take your chosen cardstock to the craft store and pick out a paint color that coordinates well with it.

With both the cardstock and paint in hand, head to the embellishment department and select an embellishment – those made of wood or chipboard work great. Pick one with a design that fits your personality or goes with the theme in your kitchen (or that of the person who will receive the box as a gift).



1. If the lid is attached to the box, remove the hardware to separate the two pieces. Sand the outside of the box and lid so the glue will stick better.


2. With a foam brush, paint the inside of the box and the sides and inside of the lid. Let dry completely.


3. Using a ruler, measure each side of the box and the top of the lid. With a paper cutter or scissors, cut the cardstock to the correct dimensions. Because the width and depth of my box were slightly different, I marked the back side of the cardstock so I’d know where each piece went.


4. With a makeup sponge or soft brush, streak brown chalk on the sides of the lid to give them a weathered look.

TIP: Practice chalking on scrap paper before chalking on your project.


5. Apply a thin layer of glue to one side of the recipe box with a small sponge or brush, covering it completely. Place the corresponding piece of cardstock over the glue and slide it around until it matches up on all sides. Press down firmly with your hand and fingers to smooth the paper and remove as many wrinkles as possible. Immediately wipe off any excess glue. Repeat with remaining cardstock pieces on remaining sides of the box and on the top of the lid. Let cardstock dry according to directions on the glue bottle. Do not rush things. It is important for it to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.


6. Using a foam brush, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to all sides of the box and to the top and sides of the lid. Be sure to cover all areas thoroughly, especially at the edges and corners. Set aside to dry completely.


7. Apply a thin layer of glue to the embellishment, then press it firmly into place on the front of the box. Wipe off any excess glue. Set the box aside to let the embellishment dry completely.


8. Apply the rub-on letters to the top of the lid. I used “Family Recipes,” but you can use whatever title you want.


9. With your ribbon still on the spool, practice arranging it in a heart shape (or whatever shape you want). When you get the size and shape you want, cut the ribbon off the spool. Apply a thin layer of glue to the back side of the ribbon, then form the heart (or other shape) on the lid. Press down firmly to make sure it sticks. Wipe off any excess glue.


10. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the front panel of the box, carefully covering the embellishment. Dab excess Mod Podge around the edges of the embellishment and smooth it as much as possible. Dry completely.


11. Apply Mod Podge to the top of the lid, covering the title and the ribbon. Using the foam brush, wipe off excess Mod Podge around ribbon so it’s not clumpy. Set aside to dry completely.


12. Apply another layer of Mod Podge to all surfaces of the box and lid. Let dry completely, then reattach lid to box.


Give yourself about a day to finish the project because of the time it takes to let the glue and Mod Podge dry. Have fun!

Previous | 1 | 2 | Next

Post a comment below.


Subscribe today
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $19.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $19.95 for a one year subscription!