Crafty and Crap Sort Part 3: The Cards

For the next phase of this weeks sorting and organizing project I get to introduce you to another one of my weird obsessions. Though, this one is, at least, practical.

Once or twice a year I buy one of these lovely boxes of greeting cards from Costco (Did I mention that I LOVE Costco? I DO! But I should save that for a later post). There are about 10 boxes here so that means I’ve been buying these for, give or take, 7 years?

Card box

A card for every occasion

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These boxes come with an assortment of different kinds of cards for every occasion. As much as I love that I get a little of everything in each box; digging through 10 boxes to find just the perfect birthday or wedding card is a time-consuming pain….

My solution was to sort the cards by occasion or rather: one box for each occasion. I did that and it sped up the process, but nothing is ever really sorted and organized until it has a label! (Even my label maker has label!) However, I LOVE these boxes and hope to repurpose them someday, so putting a label on them that could, potentially, harm their rather lovely exteriors was out of the question … until now.

After my project with the baskets for the bathroom, I found a new love for Polycrylic or water based acrylic finish. It goes on clear and stays that way (no yellowing the way polyurethane does). It is great for sealing, protecting, and strengthening anything “woodish”, i.e. wood, wicker, cardboard, AND PAPER!

Note: Polycrylic will SOAK anything you apply it to. Make sure whatever you put it on is strong enough to hold its shape through the wetting AND drying process. 

After giving it some thought, I decided to test it out. Could these boxes hold up to a coat or two of Polycrylic? I picked my least favorite box (that was hard), emptied all the cards out and went at it with a nice wide craft brush and the Polycrylic.

Use polycrylic to strengthen and protect fragile boxes

The first coat went on nice and smooth, no puckering of the paper, and dried to a smooth finish! Win one for Susie Homemaker!

I gave it a few hours to fully dry and then did a second coat because after just one coat it looked a bit streaky when held up in the light. The second coat cleared up the streaks and made a smooth protective finish. Then I did it nine more times. I cleaned each box, inside and out, set up several staging areas and spent all of yesterday painting these silly little boxes with clear Polycrylic coating (“little boxes on the hill side, little boxes made of ticky tacky…” Sorry, just had to get that out of my system.  I’m better now). I went ahead and also did the inside of each box. Just in case they need to be protected from some future contents. I also coated all of the outsides, including the bottom.

Doing two coats on each one and only being able to do most of the sides at a time (couldn’t coat the top and bottom on the same pass…), means I made four passes over each box and, in some cases, their lids.  At one point yesterday, I think Hubby thought I’d lost my mind with all these little boxes and lids sitting on little pieces of cardboard all over the floor of our ManWocave (What we call our Man/Woman cave because we share it ;) ) I wish I’d taken a picture of it, kind of looked like a little garden of little boxes :D

After letting them dry all night, I flipped them again first thing this morning, (just to be safe) and by noon today I was ready to put all the cards back in and add those labels I needed!

Cheap and quick chalkboard labels

I’m a more recent convert to the chalkboard label fad and still not a big fan (my handwriting is not great, chalkboard markers are expensive and temperamental, and the labels don’t stick to everything I’d like them too. Not to mention, I have an amazing ability to smudge the letters before they dry…), but they are slowly growing on me. So I pulled out my roll of repositionable self adhering chalk board vinyly stuff (it is cheaper to buy it by the roll and I can customize the size and shape of each label) and some stencils and FINALLY made these boxes what I’d been dreaming they could be!

Organized card boxes

Before

Labeled Card boxes

After

 I would like to point out that there is still no guarantee that these labels won’t somehow still hurt my lovely boxes, but I think the finish will give them a smoother surface to peel off of than the paper would have so I am willing to risk it.

So happy with my new boxes!

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