Whenever I encounter paper lace, glitter, rosy patterned paper, and all the trappings of a classic handmade valentine, I am immediately transported back to my elementary school days. I would sit at the kitchen table with my mother, armed with a bottle of glue and a pair of scissors, and methodically and democratically (and sometimes against my will) make valentines for every kid in my class. Each little missive would be deposited in our custom crafted shoebox mailboxes at school the next day, surrounded by a group sugar buzz.
We had such a great time at Craft Night last night gluing and snipping that I decided to invite Rachel Johnson from Swap-bot back to share all her tips and tricks for constructing matchbox valentines for How-Tuesday this week. When Rachel shared her project idea with me, I knew I had met my crafting match! Read on for all the knowledge that you need to make a tiny gift that will surely help you ignite a Valentine’s Day romance.
Altered matchboxes are small favors or gift boxes that can be decorated in any style or theme — including Valentine’s Day! Some crafters decorate real, empty matchboxes, but if you don’t have any of those handy you can create the little boxes from scratch using one of the free PDF Matchbox Templates available below. The small paper boxes can be decorated with patterned papers, ribbon, and other small embellishments, and filled with a Valentine’s Day message or a small gift. Matchboxes are a popular item to swap on Swap-bot.com. If you are interested in trying out a matchbox swap, come join the February Love Matchbox Swap.
- Matchbox template (Download the traditional or envelope-style template below.)
- Thick card stock and/or light cardboard, like a cereal box
- Scissors and/or craft knife
- Bone folder or other scoring instrument
- Decorative papers and other embellishments for decorating your Valentine box
- Optional: printed matchbox enclosures cards template to create cards and booklets to go inside your matchbox
1. Print out the Matchbox Enclosure Cards sheet at 100% (not “fit to paper size”). You may want to print it on scratch paper first to try out the booklet fold or to trace the enclosure card shapes onto patterned paper. Or, you can print directly on a light card stock that matches the theme of your matchboxes. The folded and accordion cards are self-explanatory: simply cut along the black lines and score and fold at the gray lines. Do the same for the booklet template. Notice the cut line through part of the center of the booklet.
4. Fold the cover and back page around the other pages to create the booklet.
6. Decorate your pages or write a little zine. Then, place your booklet inside you matchbox and give it to someone you love!