Hands-On Learning for Hands-On Kids: Make Your Own Treasure Chest

There are a few things I have never, ever tried with my kids.

One is skateboarding, because the last thing we need around here is me in a body cast.

Another is any X-box video game. I can handle the computer, but figuring out the buttons on an x-box remote makes me feel sad and alone.

And up until this week, I had never done a decoupage project with my kids.

Perhaps it’s the term – decoupage. It sounds so french and fancy. Perhaps it’s because I have always associated it with frills and with two boys, frills are so not a thing.

Whatever the reason, I have steered clear… until now.

When we finished up our coin project last week, my son said he wanted to create his own treasure chest for all of his treasures. I thought it was a great idea and imagined us heading to Michael’s, buying one that is easy to paint, and moving on.

But then he said he wanted it to be decorated with bugs and plants. He wanted a golden exterior and all the things his big dreams could handle.

A little nervous, I went to the internet to determine our options.

Thus, decoupage.


If you don’t know what decoupage is, don’t feel bad. I wasn’t sure either. Apparently, the definition is simplethe art of decorating surfaces by applying cutouts (as of paper) and then coating with usually several layers of finish (such as lacquer or varnish or glue).

“Paper and glue?” I thought as I read the definition. “I have plenty!

Starting to feel more confident, I set out to help my boy create the special treasure box of his dreams.


Friday Fun-days: 52 weeks of Easy For Mom Activities

What You’ll Need For This Project

A cigar box or wooden box (I think a shoe box would work as well, but my boy wanted an attached lid)

Modge Podge or even Clear Elmers Glue

Paint Brushes

Printed Pictures of Favorite Things

Gold Paint

Hands-On Learning for Hands-On Kids: Make Your Own Treasure Chest

Step 1: We already had an old cigar box in my son’s closet, so we decided to pull it out and give it a fresh start. He painted the box using a sponge tip brush with gold paint. (He wanted it to be golden, but not a solid gold box.)

Step 2: Then, he cut out pictures of bugs and plants. (Incidentally, he wanted bugs that were much scarier than the ones I printed out, so we are re-doing the project this weekend with snake pictures instead. Because boys.)

Step 3: Once the paint was dry, he glued on the various cut-outs.

Step 4: Once the glue was mostly dry, he painted on the Mod Podge to seal his artwork.

Step 5: Let it dry and store some treasures!

Here’s the thing… this was super easy…like, easier than almost any other Friday-Fun Day activity so far. Turns out, decoupage is not only not scary, it’s totally our jam!

Looking for more hands-on learning?

Adding Hands-On Learning To Your Week Without Losing Your Mind

My Ultimate Guide To Hands-On Learning


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