Written by: Alexandra Lotzgeselle
I love a good DIY…when it doesn’t require a degree in mechanical engineering to figure out, that is. This is a two-parter, and the second half can obviously be adjusted to any theme other than just a baby shower. I first came up with this for my sister-in-law’s baby shower last year, and have since made this my go-to! All the materials for both gifts come out to about $30, and they take less than 2 hours total to make. I got everything at Michael’s and if you do any crafting regularly, it is likely you will already have some of the materials needed. The best part though is that this is extremely easy to do, without any proficiency in crafting or DIY.
PART ONE: BOOK CRATE (also functions as the box to hold your additional gifts)
– 1 unfinished wooden crate
-1 can of white spray paint (I prefer the matte finish)
-1 large unfinished heart
-First letter of the child’s first name-large unfinished letter (you could also get smaller letters and do the child’s monogram)
**All of the above items can be found in the same aisle of Michaels (as well as the frame, letters, and shapes from the second half of the project)
-2 paint colors: 1 for the heart and one for the letter
Just cover an outdoor area with some newspaper or cardboard and start spraying. I’ve found it works best to just leave the crate right side up and spray around. This will leave the inside almost perfectly unfinished- without doing it this way, you’ll also have to spray the inside, which is not easy and hard to make it seamless without too many drips. Don’t spray too close, and get a good even coat (it’s better to go lighter and just add more coats- making it too heavy will show visible drips). You’ll let it dry for about 20 minutes, and then apply a second coat and let it dry again. A third coat should make it perfect. I don’t mind that some of the knots and imperfections from the wood can still show slightly- it adds a little charm!
In between applying coats of spray paint to the crate, apply the color to the heart and letter. You’ll want to apply the paint to both sides of the heart as you’ll still be able to see the back of the heart through the slots in the wood. Once the paint dries, apply hot glue to the back of the letter and adhere it to the heart. Make sure not to make the hot glue too thick or uneven, or the letter will stand out too far from the heart. I like to then put the heart upside down on a table and stick some heavy books on top to make sure there’s a good seal.
Once the crate is completely dry (if you let it sit outside overnight the smell of the spray paint should go away) it will be time to apply the heart. Hold the heart up to the crate dead center and with a pencil, trace the heart. This will enable you to add the hot glue correctly and still be able to adhere the heart in the center. Just apply the hot clue directly to the crate within the trace of the heart and apply the heart. Place the crate heart side down on a table so the weight of the crate applies pressure for a good seal. After a few minutes you’re good to go!
PART TWO: FRAME
-One unfinished frame
-2 paint colors: one for the frame itself and one for the letters (I normally use the same colors I’m using for the crate)
-Letters to spell the child’s name
-Shapes: Michael’s sells many sport and animal themed shapes that are fully finished and painted, but they also have unfinished wooden ones if you want to paint them yourself
Take out the glass and backing. Fold the little hinges on the back out slightly so you don’t get paint on them. You’ll want to paint the whole frame, front and back (let each side dry first), as well as the inside lip. 2 coats should suffice.
Paint the letters. When one side dries, you’ll also want to paint the back side as well. Two coats should be good for these too.
Once everything is dry it’s time to get out the glue gun! You’ll want to first put the glass and backing in and stand the frame up so that you can see how everything lines up to prevent a shape or letter from sticking down further than the frame goes. Once you have everything put on the frame where you think it looks best, just hot glue the shapes and letters and after a minute or two you’ll be all done!