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Ages 13-15: Make a Memory Box

Melissa Blough
May 24, 2011

Have you ever watched a movie in which a painting moves to reveal a secret safe or a book slides out from a shelf and causes the wall to move?  In the spirit of secret compartments, here's a fun and functional craft project for your teen: recycle an old book into a memory box!  It looks like a book on the outside, but opens to reveal a cool space for collecting photos, trinkets, and other mementos.  While simple to do, this craft does take more than one sitting to complete.

What You Need:

  • Thick book that you no longer want
  • White glue
  • Water
  • Medium-sized paint brush
  • Heavy object such as a phone book
  • X-acto knife or razor blade
  • Small bowl
  • Wax paper
  • Magazine clippings, old photos, or colored paper (optional)

What You Do:

1.  Have your child lay the book face up and lift open the front cover.

2.  Put the white glue in a small bowl and mix in small amounts of water until it's at a spreadable consistency.

3.  Have him paint a coat of glue on the outside edges of the book (the edges of the pages and the back cover).  Make sure not to get glue on the front cover.  Reapply several times and let dry between coats.

4.  After he applies the final coat of glue, lay a sheet of wax paper on top of the book with the cover still open.  Ask him to stack the heavy object on top of the wax paper in order to pack down the pages.  Leave this overnight to dry so the pages dry together firmly.

5.  The next day, remove the heavy object and wax paper and check to see that the pages and back cover are solidly glued together.  If so, move on to the next step, if not, add more coats of glue and let dry thoroughly.

6.  Have him turn the book to face him and open the front cover.  Ask him to draw a rectangle on the first page, leaving a border of about 1.5 inches from the edge of the page.  This rectangle will be the guide for the secret compartment.

7.  Now it's time to cut out the inside of the book.  Help him carefully cut out the pages along the rectangle he drew with the X-acto knife.  Have him continue cutting until he reaches the back cover of the book.  Take breaks if needed.

8.  Once he's done cutting, his secret compartment should be cleared out with clean edges.  Dust off any scraps of paper that remain and seal the inside edges of the compartment with another coat of glue.  You may need to mix up another batch of glue if the first batch dried out.  Let the book dry.

9.  Now it's time to decorate! Invite him to personalize the front and back covers of his memory box with a collage of magazine clippings, old photos, and colored paper.  Encourage him to have fun with it and make it his own!

Once his memory box is cut out and decorated, the real fun begins. Help him fill his box with special school mementos, photographs, concert tickets, and other odds and ends.


Read more from Education.com in this age group.

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