One Man’s Trash…

It is true, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In this case though, it took a bit of work to turn actual trash into a little treasure.

I hosted a baby shower last month and the very last hour before guests arrived, I had a brilliant idea to quickly make a guest book. Needless to say, such a last-minute project was a little unrealistic. Firstly, I had never made a book before and secondly, well, there are always those last-minute details to attend to before guests arrive and creating a book from scratch doesn’t fit into the plan. I had to scrap the idea, but only temporarily. You can bet this was a project placed at the very top of my to-do list.

A few days after the hubbub of Thanksgiving and baby showers I came down with a cold that was bad enough to keep me homebound for a few days. What better way to spend a sick day than browsing the internet, and especially Pinterest? I hadn’t completely given up on my book making dreams, but the cold was causing me to lose my motivation. However, I had to make something for a silent art auction, so being obsessed with altered books lately, and still contemplating how to make a proper book,  I decided to spend my sick day doing a little research on the topic.

There are, of course, tons of tutorials on how to make books of various sizes, shapes and styles to be found on the internet.  I spent several hours “oohing and aahing” over gorgeous hand-made books and then I came across this very easy to follow mini soap box book tutorial by Avital from her blog “Creativity Prompt”.  I love the tag line “seduce your creativity and it will soar…” I couldn’t agree more and this soap box book idea did indeed seduce my creativity.

I started with this:


The idea of this project was to use those small scraps of paper left over from past projects that are too good to throw away, yet somehow never the right size to use in other projects. I was happy get started on my mini book and use some of the scraps I’ve stashed a way over the years (yes, YEARS).

Because I have a thing for boxes, I also wanted to make a box to hold the book. A business card box was  an almost perfect fit, but I wanted a lid that would lift off rather than this flap style. A little altering and it would be even more perfect:

box project

1. and 2.  I cut the box in half* to make a top and bottom.

3. I then cut the bottom part of the box in half, (and also the top) so the halves could be slid together for a better fit around the soap box.

4. Completed box, trimmed to size and the top flap taped closed to create a lift-off lid.

(* as you can see in the photos, when I say “half” I don’t actually mean an exact half – I just eyeball and envision how parts  will fit together, the two pieces, regardless of what they measure are “halves”. Sorry, it’s just how my brain works…)

Below, You can see how the little book will fit perfectly into the altered box. ( a word on that later…)


I then began to work on the box, below you can see the first layer of paint.

painted box

I continued to embellish the box top and bottom. I was excited to start on the book, but after completely assembling the box, I discovered all those layers of paint and paper (A few millimeters maybe?) caused the bottom to fit too tightly to the top. So tightly in fact, I had to make a completely new box! Uggggghhhhhh. So, what you see here is not the original box, but the prototype. It was back to the drawing board, but essentially, the same steps were followed with a different box. Just keep in mind, even a thin layer of paper will need to be accounted for when trying to create a perfect fit.

After making a whole new box, I started on the book. For details on how to make the book, head over to Avital’s awesome tutorial. Don’t forget, you can make any size book, any style using the same principles in Avital’s tutorial.

Anyway, here is my mini book and box. Of course, it would never work as a guest book, but with a little imagination and a bigger box, the possibilities are endless.

completed boxbook

I can’t wait to make more, more, MORE! of these tiny trashy treasures. 🙂 The trick is going to be controlling my urge to save every empty box that comes my way. I can see how this may turn into a problem…

And before I forget, HAP-HAP-HAPPY Holidays to you all! And may the New Year bring you adventure, excitement, good health and prosperity!


Wow, that is a lot of exclamation points….. but what do you expect from someone who not only starts a sentence with “and” but an entire paragraph?


Published by Marie Friddle

Please feel free to connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram. I'm always interested in meeting others who share a passion for art and creativity.

17 thoughts on “One Man’s Trash…

  1. Are you feeling better? Hope so! Did you do the painting on it? or, Are these stickers? either way the idea is great and the end result even better!


  2. just lovely. ever since i started my doll collection / dollhouse i save every box i get its getting crazy up there in the doll room. i cant believe how beautiful this turned out. you are so talented!


    1. Thank you so much Sherry – I take that as a real compliment from someone who is also so very talented. Yes, I have always saved boxes and little containers, I do have to purge every so often though to keep things under control. 🙂


  3. How clever are these and what beautiful artwork – good luck in your quest not to save every box – can I suggest a sacrificial box a day that you dispose of – it helps in these cases 😉

    Wishing you and yours a vert Happy Christmas and a Peaceful and Prosperous new year X>


    1. Thank you so much Nicola – always so nice to hear from you. Yes, I am pretty good at purging, good thing. i usually reevaluate my stash every couple of months and “let go” of those things that are easily replaceable, 🙂

      And a VERY Merry Christmas to you and yours… best wishes for a bountiful New Year full of adventure and good health!
      Cheers, M


  4. wow! This is beautiful! I love it! I like to put my handmade earrings in gift boxes and it can take me almost as long to make a beautiful box as the earrings themselves. This is great! xx


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