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This is the gift I will be giving my children when they leave home. A student survival kit. Not only is the box painted with a universally recognizable red cross so all visitors will always locate the first aid supplies, it is also super-fun to fill up with traditional, as well as non-traditional, bits and pieces. I love the vintage first aid box feel to it.

Although I have called it a survival kit or first aid box, you can use this box for anything your heart desires and paint it in any colors you choose. Make it work for you!

This craft is suitable for all ages and skill levels and is so satisfying to display once completed!

You will need a DIY Art Kit from Three & Me (ask here).

The DIY Art Kit includes:

  • 1 empty pre-constructed wood box

  • paint in white and red

  • re-usable sponge brush

optional: - wooden cross instead of painting your own

- glue

You will need the following tools:

  • a screwdriver

  • glue, if you have the wooden cross

The sky is the limit when it comes to filling up this box. In the presentation below, you will see a quick look into the one I put together for this years' graduates.

Start off with the basic box. Sand it, if you'd like smoother edges, but it's not essential.

The box comes with pre-attached hinges and clasps.

Use your screwdriver to unscrew the hardware. You will get paint on it, if you leave it in place. If that doesn't bother you, leave the hardware on.

If you choose to remove your hardware, store all the little screws and hinges in a safe place, so that you don't lose them while you paint.

The back hinges can be unscrewed from the inside of the box.

If you are not painting the inside of the box, you can probably get away with leaving these attached!

Save the hardware pieces in a safe place.

Use a sponge brush without water, to paint the base coat over all external sides of the box.

If you want to, you can paint the inside too.

Let it dry.

Repeat if you want a deeper color.

Once the box is dry, reattach the hardware.

You can either freehand paint the red cross on the box, or paint the wood version, if you requested it. The example of the unpainted wood cross is below:

If you paint the cross freehand, use a dry sponge brush or detail brush and dip straight into the red paint, without adding water, or your cross will run.

Or do your own design! There are so many ideas!

Optional add-on:

Glue a note into the lid, explaining the contents of the box. Use your imagination.


attach a photo of you and the recipient!

These were the contents I specifically chose for my graduates. Each item was carefully thought out and selected for a reason. You are welcome to use the one below!

You can find the pdf version to print-out here:

survival kit
Download PDF • 510KB

Now you're ready to fill it up!!! It's my favorite part!

Although the box looks small, it actually holds a lot of thoughtful pieces!

Once the contents are used up, by the recipient, they can always refill their boxes with all their own first aid supplies or other meaningful things.

What will you add into yours?

You are not limited to painting the box. You can stencil, decoupage, mosaic, collage or freehand pant it, amongst other fabulous ideas!

For additional tutorials on painting wooden shapes and embellishments, see here.

For multi-use stencil techniques, see here.

For instructions on one-time use stencil techniques, see here.

To see how decoupage works see here.

Please share photos with me of your completed project! I can't wait to see how you make this box special.

Thank you for joining me!


Claire Houlding


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