When my son was a baby, his toys were usually scattered across the floor, “toddler chic,” I suppose you’d call it. I found it charming, but my husband—who would inevitably step on one of the hard plastic playthings with his bare foot—found it dangerous. We bought a toy box and did our best to clean up after playtime. Years went by, toys disappeared and my husband enjoyed an era of safe travel through our home. That is, until my dog Eloise moved in. If he wasn’t tripping over her as she ran between his legs, he was being stabbed by half-chewed pieces of rawhide or sent flying by an unattended ball rolling underfoot. My son’s toy box was long gone and the plastic bucket we used to corral Eloise’s toys was an eyesore. It was time to get busy crafting.
Each of us has our own decorating style, and even a dog’s toy box can reflect your home’s character. The box shown here has a vintage look; however, by selecting images that suit your personal taste, you can tailor it to your preferred style. The same techniques apply.
•Wooden crate, old or new
•Copyright-free photocopied images or your own photographs (all of the images must be copied onto the same weight paper)
•Water-based polyurethane varnish
1. Arrange your images in a pleasing design on one side of the crate (use Blu-Tack or a similar product to hold the pieces in place while you are designing).
2. Using decoupage glue and a foam brush, cover the backs of the images and stick them in place. When finished, cover the front of the images with a smooth coat of the same glue. (Some of the colors may run a little, but in this case, it added to the vintage look.) Repeat this process on the remaining three sides and let dry.
3. Using the varnish and a foam brush, cover all of the decoupaged surfaces with a smooth coat. Let dry and repeat. Two coats should be enough to complete the project.