Stencil a Gift Box

In our house we have a ton of leftover boxes from personal electronics purchases. Let’s face it, companies like Apple and Samsung have really upped their game when it comes to packaging. The boxes are so nice you don’t want to throw them away. So here’s an idea to upcycle them.

personal electronics packaging upcycled to gift boxes
personal electronics packaging upcycled to gift boxes

What you’ll need

You’ll need to collect your unused boxes and packaging from around the house, and in addition, you’ll need

  • card stock
  • exacto knife
  • latex gloves
  • spray paint
  • cloth and surface
stenciling materials
materials for stenciling

Cut and paint

You can design and cut your stencil freehand all in one go by cutting a simple heart shape straight into your card stock. Or you can be as detailed and as intricate as you want to be, cutting a multi-layer stencil using this tutorial.

But however you do it, you’ll end up with a mask or masks through which you’ll spray paint onto the surfaces of the boxes. Watch how we do next in the video below.

Tips and tricks

Plan for different box sizes. Hearts and bees and bows may be more suited to smaller, adult gift boxes while trains and teddy bears may look better as big patterns on larger gift boxes for kids.

Sometimes your stencil has gaps in it that go over the side of the gift box. Don’t worry: if you spray perpendicular to the stencil onto the side you intend to cover, very little of the paint will fall on the exposed side of the gift box. If you’re worried about overspray, you can always mask the sides of the box with tape as you go.

Let the boxes dry a day before you present them to somebody. Spray paint is dry enough not to smear after just a few minutes, but it remains tacky to the touch for as long as a day. After a day, the finish is satin-y smooth.

Raise the box up somehow, so that you can paint around the sides in one go. We found that an egg carton (shown in the video) works well to make it so that paint finds all four sides of the box. That leaves just the bottom of the box to paint once the sides are dry. (And sometimes you don’t even need to paint the bottom of the box.)