This article was originally published for  The Purple Fig a Canadian Blogazine which contributes to both The Huffington Post and Parent Dish.  Check it out!


This is an easy way to personalize a crate or box to fill with things that your dad may enjoy!


Gift Crate: Supplies

  • Wooden crate or cardboard box
  • Image of a photograph printed on paper (we had success with an ink jet, but depending on your surface you might find a photocopy or laser image easier, we recommend trying a smaller test image in the inside of the crate, prior to your final choice)
  • Gloss gel medium (We used Liquitex, purchased at an Art Store)
  • Paintbrush
  • sandpaper (optional)
  • Damp rag


  • For this activity get a crate (we re-used an old apple box which you can pick up at garage sales, antique stores etc.) or cardboard box to put in a present for your dad.  Not only does it serve as a gift holder for items, but it can be kept as a keepsake.  We wanted ours to have a vintage or aged feeling.
  • If you want a smooth finish, sand the area where you would like to put your image.
  • Paint the side of the crate where you would like to put on the image with a generous coat of the gel medium.

Gift Crate: Apply Gel Medium

  • Put the image that you printed onto the gel medium (make sure that it is not upside down) so that the white/ blank side is facing you.  Be sure to rub  out any wrinkles/ bubbles.  Cover with another coat of the gel medium.  Let dry overnight.

Gift Crate: Apply image upside down and another layer of gel medium

  • Gently, with your damp rag, rub off the paper.  If you want it to look aged, rub more vigorously in some areas or sand it when it has dried.
  • Once it has completely dried, paint it with a thin coat of the gel.

Gift Crate: Final


Gift Crate: Final 2


  • Understanding that an image can be transferred.

Safety Notes

  • Follow the directions on the product chosen.  Discard rag after use.
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