Make Your Own Joy Box

This past Christmas I received a gift of a Joy Box from a dear friend.  It’s a box filled with quotes, pictures and small items that will bring you joy, anytime you need it.  This is a thoughtful gift that can be customized to anyone’s personality or situation. It makes an amazing present for someone who is facing a new challenge in their life such as cancer, a new parent or a divorce.  They are easy to make and while you can be as creative as you’d like, I wanted to create one to show you step by step how it can be done.

DIY Joy Box


Box – This one is by Darice and I bought it on Amazon.

Empty box

Empty box

It’s actually a cigar box. However, I loved the wide opening to it and the fact that it was extremely lightweight.

open unfinished box

Open unfinished box


Stain & Sand Paper – I had these on hand.  Any stain will work and the sandpaper should be fine grit. You’ll also need something to apply the stain with.  You can use an old sock, a foam paint brush or a traditional paint brush.

Stain, sandpaper and foam brush

Wood Burner and Alphabet Accessory – Mine came from Darby Smart.  Find the burner here and the alphabet here.  They also have numbers!


Wood burner and accessories

Wood Burner and Accessories

Printer and paper



I started the process by giving the box a light sand.  Once I did this I wiped away the dust this created with a cloth.  Then, I applied a light coat of stain to the top and all of the sides.  I let it dry and then did the bottom.

Stained box

Stained Box

I opted to stain the inside of the box as well. When you do this, make sure to allow the stain to dry completely before you close the box.  Otherwise the stain will dry and seal the box shut.

stained box open

Stained box

While the box was drying I turned my attention to the pieces of joy that go inside the box.  You can use any quote, photo or item that you think will bring happiness to your recipient.  However, to make it easy on you, I’ve created two sets of pritables for you.  One set includes quotes and the other set are mini images with inspirational quotes on them.  Both sets are FREE and available on our site here.


Quote Printable

I used card stock to print on.  You could use colored paper, or even just plain printer paper…whatever works for you!

inspirational printable

Inspirational Printable

I used a craft cutter to cut the quotes out.  I then trimmed the edges with scissors.  If you don’t have a craft cutter, you can use scissors to cut the images out and the quote strips apart.

cutting quotes

The pile of quote strips was bigger than I thought!  I loved reading them as I was cutting them out.

quote strips

It’s a good idea to make sure your quotes and images fit inside the box.

quotes in box

While I don’t have any photos of this process (because it’s HOT), the next step is wood burning your choice or work onto the box.  You could use JOY as I have here, or you can use the recipient’s name.  This step can take a little while.

It’s a good idea to lay out the letters on the box and then mark their location with a pencil.  This way, you know exactly where to burn.  Attach the first letter attachment to the wood burner and plug it in.  I have a glass top table that I work on, just to be safe.  This step may vary a little bit depending on the wood burner you have.

Once you’ve burned your first letter, unplug the burner and let it cool completely.  Remove the letter, attach your second letter, plug the burner back in and burn again.  Repeat these steps until you are done with the work you are using.


Here’s a shot of the finished product.  I can’t wait to gift this!

completed joy box

Completed Joy Box

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